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COP27 Action for Coral Reefs

With growing recognition that climate change and biodiversity loss are closely interrelated, particularly in the case of coral reefs, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh offered a crucial opportunity for world leaders to take action for the resilience of coral reefs and coastal communities. 

In the lead up to and throughout COP27, Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) Coalition members focused on scaling-up political, technical and financial action for integrated climate-nature solutions.

During COP27, and in the lead up to the Ocean 20 (O20) as part of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency and the second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), the global alliance of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the GFCR and the G20 CORDAP (Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform) issued a critical call to action recognising this decade is the last chance for a turning point in favour of coral reef survival. The Open Letter Calling for Urgent Coral Reef Action Addressed to Leaders and Policy-Makers at COP27, Ocean20 and COP15 reached over 10,000 individuals within days of publication and was further covered by media outlets including The Guardian.

At COP27’s Leaders in Action #ForCoral event, GFCR and partners announced new action for coral reefs, including:

⦿ Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States has joined the GFCR Coalition and committed up to $15 million USD to be invested in the Egyptian Red Sea.

⦿ GFCR announced grants for programme development in Egypt and Jordan. This regional approach, with development led by UNDP, will aim to unlock a minimum of $50 million USD in blended finance.

⦿ GFCR announced the launch of the Colombia Seaflower Biosphere programme. Through blended finance, the GFCR-supported programme led by Fondo Acción aims to increase the resilience of the coral reefs and communities of the Colombian Archipelago. 

⦿ To further expand impact, the GFCR announced the initiation of programme development and grants for Micronesia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, as well as a second programme for Indonesia. The supported blended finance initiatives will aim to drive sustainable revenue streams to improve the climate resilience of both coral ecosystems and coastal communities. Combined, these four initiatives will aim to unlock a minimum of $100 million USD in blended finance investment.

Read more about announcements, as well as the new endorsement from the UN-backed Race to Resilience Campaign, through GFCR’s press release. The new US Commitment and work of GFCR was further featured several times by Euronews, including through a dedicated article – COP27 delivers €15 million to protect Egypt’s coral reefs – how will it help?.

Throughout COP27, GFCR was presented at various events as a key mechanism for private, public and philanthropic entities to accelerate resilience-based blue economic growth, benefiting coral reefs and the communities that need them. Key event features and expert-led interventions are listed below and pictures of selected engagements can be found here.

As COP27’s premier coral event, this session focused on global, regional, and national organisations and entities engaged in reef-based adaptation action for ecosystems and communities. Demonstrative financing instruments, innovative technology, conservation solutions and partnerships scaling up and relaying hope for coral reef longevity were presented.  High-level remarks, solution ‘deep dives’, and a dynamic expert panel showcased integrated climate-smart solutions and increased commitment toward cross-sector collaboration at the nexus of adaptation planning and implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Co-hosted by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean; GFCR, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Coral Reef Rescue Initiative (CRRI), and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), speakers included His Excellency Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere, President of the Republic of Fiji; Ambassador Ken O’Flaherty. UK Regional Ambassador for Asia-Pacific and South Asia; Henry Gonzalez, Deputy Executive Director, Green Climate Fund; and several others.

Livestream Link

With over 1 billion people worldwide dependent on coral reefs for their livelihoods and sustenance, action to save reefs has come to the forefront of the global agenda. The Leaders in Action #ForCoral session at the UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (UNFCCC COP 27) on 8 November will featured global leaders who are unified in their efforts to scale critical climate-smart solutions. Co-hosted in the Nature Pavilion by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the event served to accelerate science-based solutions and launch high-level global commitments to scale action to save the ecosystems on the frontlines of climate change.  Remarks were relayed by Egyptian Minister of Environment Dr. Yasmine Fouad, the Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy for the COP 27; Gillian Caldwell, USAID’s Chief Climate Officer;Dr. Jürgen Zattler, Director-General for International Development Policy, 2030 Agenda and Climate German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); and other high-level representatives for this action-focused session. The event served to issue various new announcements; including the United Nations joining the GFCR Coalition and committing $15 million USD for the Egyptian Red Sea. Read the full press release here.

Healthy coastal and marine ecosystems have a vital role to play in climate mitigation and adaptation, particularly in vulnerable regions across Africa and SIDS. When used in conjunction with other resilience solutions, sustainable restoration and management of marine and ocean ecosystems will allow them to contribute to resilience objectives, and also generate significant social, ecological and economic co-benefits. This event examined the factors hindering the ability of ecosystems to fully play their role in climate adaptation and mitigation. Organized by the UN Decade of Ocean Science, The Research Council of Norway, and UNEP, this event will also explore the role of multi-partner initiatives and frameworks to address these gaps at different scales. Through this session, GFCR was featured by coalition representative Sylvie Goyet, Advisor to the CEO and Vice President, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and GFCR Executive Board Member, as a multi-partner financial and implementation mechanism designed drive adaptation solutions and address funding gaps.

Hosted by the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance) and the GFCR, this virtual event focused on innovative climate-smart finance to improve ocean health and address increasing impacts. GFCR was featured as a demonstration model for driving public, philanthropic and private finance to scale resilience-based solutions by Leticia Carvalho, Head of the Marine and Freshwater Branch, UN Environment Programme. A GFCR-supported regional programme in Kenya and Tanzania, Miamba Yetu: Sustainable Reef Investments, was also presented by Dr. Fahd Al-Guthmy, Programme Director (Conservation Finance), Wildlife Conservation Society. Watch the full session here:

The 3d edition of the Ocean Innovators Platform, organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to promote the sustainable blue economy, took place on COP27’s Finance Day. This edition was presented and opened by Ms Rawya Mansour, Founder of Ramsco and President of the Ramsco Foundation. After the opening remarks by Mr Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and Ms Razan Al Mubarak, President of IUCN, an exchange took place with Dr Andrew Forrest, President and Founder of the Minderoo Foundation, on the theme of the necessary transition towards a sustainable blue economy. Craig Cogut, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Pegasus Advisors participated in a panel discussion alongside Antonia Sariyska, Sustainable & Impact Investing Strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management, Christian Lim, CEO of SWEN Blue Ocean, and Markus Mueller, Chief Investment Officer ESG & Global Head Chief Investment Officer Private Bank at Deutsche Bank. The Global Fund for Coral Reefs was presented and discussed as a leading blended finance solution to mobilise action and resources to protect coral reef ecosystems and coastal communities. More information and pictures of the event can be found here.

The Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Governments of Saint Lucia, Namibia and Zambia will be hosted the COP27 event, ‘Unlocking Private Sector Finance to Accelerate Climate Action in Small and other Vulnerable Countries’ on Thursday 10 November. This event focused on showcasing existing and new financing facilities offering concrete pathways to scaling-up private sector investment to climate action. It also provided an opportunity for sharing experiences on private sector engagement in climate action by member countries, financing institutions, and other multilateral organizations. Through this session, the GFCR-supported Fiji programme was showcased as a demonstrative blended finance initiative, scaling resilience finance and implementation for coral ecosystems and adjacent communities.

Hosted by Rocky Sanchez Tirona, Managing Director of Fish Forever at Rare, the event brought together voices from the civil society, governmental, entrepreneurial and non-governmental sectors, to discuss how partnerships can contribute to greater action in support of critical ocean ecosystems. The newly announced GFCR partnership with the US Government and programme plan for Egypt’s reefs was highlighted by USAID representatives.

Coral “climate refugia” corals provide hope for the future of coral reefs, but only if we urgently commit, fund and act to implement the Paris agreement. As a co-host of this event with UNEP and The Ocean Agency, GFCR joined forces with globally known UN Global Environmental Ambassador, Ellie Goulding, and the UN Environment Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, to call for accelerated climate action and conservation funding for protection of coral reefs.

Livestream link.

The stability of our earth system relies on 16 unique places in the world. These span the five continents and include ice, oceans and coral reefs, forests and peatlands. Can we protect and repair them before we pass climatic tipping points and invoke irreversible climate collapse? In this session, Earth Commissioners will share the latest insights, before we explore some of the solutions and enablers. Youth voices will bring this intergenerational challenge into sharp relief. 

Hosted by Global Choices Arctic Angels, Global Commons Alliance, Global Fund for Coral Reefs, Green Africa Youth Organisation, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, SilverLining NGO, and UNDP this event will focus on critical actions to ignite repair. The GFCR programme in Fiji was featured by Vineil Narayan, Programme Manager for the Investing in Coral Reefs and Blue Economy Progamme. Catch up on the full session here:

About the Global Fund for Coral Reefs   

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) is the largest global blended finance vehicle dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water. The GFCR is designed to scale financial solutions and blue economic growth that bolsters the resilience of coral reefs and the communities that depend on them. GFCR blended finance programmes incubate and scale interventions that address local drivers of coral reef degradation, unlock conservation funding flows, and increase communities’ adaptive capacities. Supported solutions include waste treatment and recycling facilities, coral reef insurance, sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, ecotourism enterprises, blue carbon credits, and sustainably financed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).   

The GFCR Coalition partnership is driven by Member States, UN Agencies, financial institutions, philanthropies, impact investors and organizations. The GFCR Coalition includes the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation; the Governments of Germany, France, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom; the Green Climate Fund; Pegasus Capital Advisors; Builders Vision; Bloomberg Philanthropies; the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and the Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP).  
Dive deeper at and join our coral reef action communities onInstagram, Twitter,LinkedIn and YouTube.  

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