Coral reefs & the CBD Global Biodiversity Framework

Warren Baverstock

These pages serve as the hub for the work of the ICRI ad hoc Committee coordinating input to the CBD process for a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (read more here).

World leaders and their governments have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a future for coral reefs through the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Members of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), which includes more than 45 countries that are custodians of over 75% of the world’s coral reefs, adopted a consensus recommendation urging CBD Party governments to ensure that the GBF prioritises coral reefs as one of our most vulnerable and important ecosystems; apply a strategic approach that focuses on retention; and adopt key indicators for coral reefs to incentivize action and increase accountability.

These are our Asks #ForCoral:
Prioritise the vulnerable ecosystems we depend on, particularly coral reefs

Not all ecosystems are the same. The GCRMN 2020 report demonstrated that coral reefs are in exceptional decline — projected to worsen under current climate scenarios — despite their immense value to people. 

Call to action for CBD Parties: Explicitly define and prioritise ‘vulnerable’ or ‘climate-vulnerable’ ecosystems such as coral reefs in goals and targets in order to direct implementation efforts and resources.

Retain the integrity of existing coral reef ecosystems and restore around them

Applying the conservation hierarchy at different scales, with a focus on ecosystem retention and avoidance of impacts, is essential to national and global outcomes. The current rate of loss of coral reefs will never be offset by restoration efforts.

Call to action for CBD Parties: Ensure that all targets in the GBF reflect the conservation hierarchy, with a focus on avoidance of impacts.

Adopt global coral reef indicators

Monitoring coral reefs through a comprehensive, consistent set of indicators incentivizes action, allows for adaptive management of coral reefs at different scales, and increases accountability.

Call to action for CBD Parties: Adopt the ICRI-recommended indicators for coral reefs as part of the GBF monitoring framework. The indicators, which include coral cover, coral reef extent, fleshy algae cover, area of coral protected, water quality and restoration, work together to create a globally consistent, scientifically sound means to establish baselines and track coral reef health against GBF goals and targets.

This work was done with the support of Vulcan Inc and WCS.