The Commonwealth covers more than one-third (36%) of the global ocean under national jurisdiction. The Commonwealth’s Heads of Governments came together two years ago to endorse the Commonwealth Blue Charter, marking their shared commitment to work together to tackle urgent ocean challenges. The Blue Charter has been agreed by all 54 Commonwealth countries, 47 of which have a marine coastline. To date, 13 Champion countries have stepped forward to lead on ten different topic areas (Action Groups) relevant to sustainable ocean development and conservation. Blue Charter Champions work with members to translate their high-level commitments to on-the-water actions – addressing the implementation gap.
A total of 37 out of the 54 Commonwealth member countries have coral reefs, accounting for 45% of the global whole by area. Australia, Belize and Mauritius are co-championing an Action Group to protect and restore coral reefs, together with like-minded members that include Bahamas, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom.
In July 2019, members of the Blue Charter Action Group on Coral Reef Protection and Restoration met in Townsville, Australia to discuss ways to improve government policies, build awareness, and empower communities, while also tackling barriers such as governance constraints, capacity limitations and funding. They highlighted the need for the Action Group to monitor progress, share information and work with the right partners, including a strategy to engage scientific institutions, governments, private sector and civil society to support coral reef initiatives.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is also producing a number of good and best practice case studies for the Commonwealth countries. A case study on the Master Reef Guides Programme is published and can be accessed here. Further case studies on community coral restoration projects in Belize, Indonesia and Mexico are in production and will be published over the coming months.
To find out more, please visit the Action Group on Coral Reef Protection and Restoration.