News

November 15, 2018

Coral Reef Coalition Launches at 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

14 November 2018: Eight international organizations have launched a partnership to save coral reefs at the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference. The coalition aims to mobilize global leadership on coral reefs to save coral reef ecosystems from near-extinction by mid-century.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Vulcan Inc, the Ocean Agency and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have joined the coalition.

The fate of the world’s coral reefs is hanging in the balance.

Launching the partnership, UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim explained that the fate of the world’s coral reefs “is hanging in the balance.” He said coral reef protection “must become a global priority,” and stressed that expectations for this coalition “could not be higher.” Prince Albert II of Monaco welcomed increased awareness on the threats posed to coral reefs, and called for sharpened focus on strategies for effective coral reef conservation. As part of these efforts, he said he will host the ICRI General Meeting in Monaco in December 2018, and expressed hope that the meeting would adopt a “practical, effective, ambitious and realistic programme of action.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15), 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs will be lost by 2050, even if the world collectively manages to stabilize global surface temperatures to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. The report further warns that continued failure to take action on climate change will result in increased losses of coral reefs. In addition to the threats posted by climate change, overfishing, coastal development and pollution have contributed to loss of coral reefs over the past 20 years.

The UN Biodiversity Conference is focusing on the theme, ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet.’ The event is convening from 14-29 November in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt.