The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is proud to announce that it is a supporting partner of the Great Blue Wall Challenge, launched by UpLink Ocean in 2023. The challenge is calling for solutions to protect and restore marine biodiversity in the Western Indian Ocean.
UpLink and the Friends of Ocean Action, both platforms of the World Economic Forum, are collaborating with OceanHub Africa and IUCN to launch the Great Blue Wall Challenge. This challenge calls for ocean-positive startups and social enterprises which contribute to the sustainability and resilience of the Western Indian Ocean, aligning with the Great Blue Wall Initiative and delivering benefits to people and nature.
The Great Blue Wall initiative aims to establish a first-of-its-kind connected network of seascapes to benefit people and nature. The initiative will help: protect 30% of the ocean by 2030; achieve net gain of critical blue ecosystems by 2030 (e.g. mangroves, corals, seagrasses); develop a regenerative blue economy and create millions of jobs by supporting local communities through funding, training and technical assistance.
Seascapes will be connected by the “great blue wall”: composed of conserved and restored ecosystems that shelter communities from the impacts of climate change, and help biodiversity recover. Participating in the initiative will help countries meet commitments made under three international frameworks: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Africa’s Great Blue Wall Initiative, led by Western Indian Ocean (WIO) countries, with support from IUCN and a coalition of partners, is a bold vision to conserve, protect and restore 2 million hectares of ocean and coastal ecosystems by 2030 while unlocking the development of a regenerative blue economy for the people and the planet. Innovations are required to enable the regeneration of the WIO while creating economic opportunity for the 70 million people dependent on these ecosystems.
The Great Blue Wall Challenge is calling on startups who will have a unique opportunity to make a difference through innovative ideas and solutions. Startups can range from working on new technologies and innovative business models, to creative approaches to conservation. The Great Blue Wall Challenge, which is supported by CitiGroup, The Loudhailer, Mercator Ocean International, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) offers startups targeted support, international networking opportunities, mentorship to scale their solutions and more.
The best submissions are recognised as “Top Innovators” and invited to join the UpLink Innovation Network Programme, facilitated by Friends of Ocean Action & World Economic Forum and partners to help scale and advance their impact. It will offer:
- Visibility through the World Economic Forum and IUCNs media and social media platforms
- Access to Friends of Ocean Action, World Economic Forum, IUCN and Partners events
- Connection to networks, organisations, companies, and funding opportunities in particular those related to the Great Blue Wall
- Capacity and community building sessions, the programme objective is to help the Top
Innovators also gain visibility, attract partners and funding to scale their solution, and ultimately to accelerate their impact.
If you are interested in joining the Challenge, you are encouraged to find out more and submit your solution on Uplink using the link below.
Applications close on 23 April 2023.
Together, we can make a difference and protect the rich biodiversity of the Western Indian Ocean.