Coral Reef Breakthrough: An initiative to safeguard world's coral reefs

Coral Reef Breakthrough: An initiative to safeguard world's coral reefs

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The newly launched Coral Reef Breakthrough is an ambitious global initiative fighting to rescue coral reefs from extinction, protecting marine life and the livelihoods of millions.

Photo shows a coral reef with a background of the sun's rays shining into the waters
The Coral Reef Breakthrough seeks to protect at least 125,000 square kilometres of shallow-water tropical coral reefs.

Coral reefs are essential for marine biodiversity and climate resilience, supporting at least a quarter of marine species and offering ecosystem services worth up to US$9.9 trillion annually. More than a billion people, including vulnerable coastal communities, depend on them for their livelihoods.

Today, these vital ecosystems are under threat due to the climate crisis and human activities, and time is running out to protect them.

Enter the Coral Reef Breakthrough. This initiative aims to secure the future of at least 125,000 sq km of shallow-water tropical coral reefs with investments of at least US$12 billion by 2030. It has been launched by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), in partnership with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) and the High-Level Climate Champions (HLCC).

The Coral Reef Breakthrough focuses on the following:

  1. Stopping drivers of loss: Mitigating local factors contributing to loss, including land-based sources of pollution, destructive coastal development and overfishing.
  2. Doubling areas of protected coral reefs: Bolstering resilience-based coral reef conservation efforts by aligning with and transcending global coastal protection targets.
  3. Accelerating restoration: Implementing innovative, climate-smart designs to aid coral adaptation and restore 30 percent of degraded reefs by 2030.
  4. Securing investments: Mobilising at least US$12 billion by 2030 from public and private sources for the conservation and restoration of coral reef ecosystems.

The Coral Reef Breakthrough is based on science-based, measurable goals, developed with input from a dedicated working group of over 30 leading coral reef experts.

Designed to prevent the functional extinction of coral reef systems globally, it seeks to catalyse public and private financial support to activate proven solutions and align actions with global targets like the Sharm-El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

“Meeting the targets of the Coral Breakthrough will be vital to the safeguarding of coral. Thus, at this testing time for our place on Planet Earth, we are calling on public and private sector leaders to take action to achieve the Coral Breakthrough’s targets and secure the longevity of coral reefs,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.

“Coral reefs are more than just beautiful; they are our lifelines.”

— H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28

Pierre Bardoux, Director of the GFCR, United Nations Global Team added, “To help deliver on Breakthrough targets, GFCR will scale capital support and private investment for reef-positive solutions, including sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, ecotourism, marine plastic recycling, mooring systems, wastewater treatment, natural fertilisers, and coral reef restoration. Efforts such as these represent innovative finance pathways unlocking greater resources to meet the goals of the Coral Reef Breakthrough.”

International Coral Reef Initiative

Press releases from Divers Alert Network (DAN)