Member Type Global Intergovernmental Organization or Multilateral Environmental Agreement

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)



Ms Fanny Douvere
UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme

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UNESCO is a long-standing ICRI member, The World Heritage Centre’s Marine Programme is the designated focal point for UNESCO’s ICRI membership. The UNESCO World Heritage List currently includes 50 marine sites – distributed across 37 countries – recognized for their unique marine biodiversity, singular ecosystem, unique geological processes or incomparable beauty. Of these, 29 contain coral reefs, either as part of their Outstanding Universal Value or as part of the wider ecosystem and seascape.

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UNESCO - World Heritage Marine Programme
Background Information

Established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) serves as the focal point in the UN System for ocean observations, science, services and data exchange, and is recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the competent international organization for marine science.

In view of the Western Pacific region among the richest and most productive in the world as a home to some 70% of the world’s coral species, efforts have been made since 2009 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at regional level, through its Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), to develop research collaboration, improve the understanding, and enhance research capacity on the biogeochemistry and ecological nature of coral reefs with differing physical and environmental settings.

To this end, key activities of IOC related to coral reef have been conducted in the form of scientific workshop, and trainings. With identified critical regional issues affecting the health of coral reefs, two training-through-research have been organized, respectively on “sedimentary impact on Coral Reef” in Koh Samui, Thailand, June 2010 and “water quality and coral reef” in Sanya, China, June 2011.

Meanwhile, in view of the region-wide mass bleaching and mortality of corals in 2010, how to repair these damaged coral reefs becomes an urgent task for all competent governmental agencies in the region. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, through its Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), has been planning two regional workshops with objectives to summarize all coral restoration methods available within the Western Pacific region and outside the region, identify the best practices in the application of these techniques among WESTPAC member countries, and increase public knowledge and awareness on coral reef restoration and conservation among youth and local people in WESTPAC member countries.

Last Updated: 20 June 2024