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Press Release: Global Fund for Coral Reefs Receives Major Contribution from United Kingdom and Anchor Investment from the Green Climate Fund

New UNESCO partnership and three grants to finance  the development of coral protection and reef-positive blue economy initiatives in Seychelles, Brazil and Colombia also announced at seventh Our Ocean Conference in Koror, Palau

Koror, April 13, 2022 – The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) announced a GBP £3 million contribution from the United Kingdom through the country’s Blue Planet Fund to support financial solutions and scale innovative business models that increase the resilience of coral reefs and coastal communities. 

Launched at the 2021 G7 Leader’s Summit, the Blue Planet Fund helps developing countries reduce poverty; protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and deal with human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution, and sustainable seafood. The GFCR continues to be a vital component of the UK’s Blue Planet Fund portfolio and this new contribution makes it GFCR’s largest donor. 

International Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Coral reefs are among the world’s most valuable ecosystems but they are also extremely vulnerable to climate change and unsustainable human activity. So, I’m proud that we are increasing our support for the Global Fund for Coral Reefs through our Blue Planet Fund. Today’s investment will contribute to protecting and enhancing these crucial habitats and help to boost the resilience of coastal communities as we work towards protecting at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030.”


GFCR Partners with UNESCO on building resilience at World Heritage-Listed Reefs

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage coral reef ecosystems cover over half a million km2 worldwide – the equivalent of the size of France – exhibiting exceptional biodiversity. They protect coastlines from storms and erosion and support sustenance for over a hundred indigenous communities. But the scientific data concerning these coral reefs is now very alarming. Reefs are bleaching far more rapidly than the initial science suggested. Bleached corals are highly vulnerable to starvation and disease and have an increasingly high mortality rate. 

“On the occasion of the Our Ocean Conference in Palau, I call for an international mobilization to prevent coral reef extinction and announce a strong contribution from UNESCO: an emergency plan to boost the resilience of World Heritage-listed reefs, in particular those in developing countries. UNESCO is partnering with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs to help finance this commitment,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

The new partnership between UNESCO and the GFCR will explore joint opportunities for prioritization of climate resilience support to World Heritage-listed reefs located in developing countries. The actions will focus on reducing local drivers of degradation, strengthening the sustainable management of marine protected areas and supporting local communities.


Green Climate Fund signs funded activity agreement with investment manager Pegasus Capital Advisors to become the anchor investor of the GFCR’s Investment Window

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) as an anchor investor has now signed the funded activity agreement, activating the Equity Fund of GFCR to scale-up investments that strengthen reef resilience. GCF’s commitment will be up to USD 125 million and is intended to harness private sector capital at the fund level.   

“Our first-loss equity investment will help to tackle critical financing and private investment barriers and catalyse much larger financial flows and investment. The project aims to establish a successful commercial track record for investments protecting coral reefs and the livelihoods of millions of people in some of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries,” said Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund.


New Programme Development Announcements for Seychelles, Brazil, and Colombia 

In addition, GFCR also announced the approval of grants to support the design and development of proposals for three anticipated programmes aiming to apply reef-positive blended finance strategies incorporating innovative business models and financial solutions. GFCR announced that new grants will be awarded to:

  • Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) for a Seychelles country programme development;
  • Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) for a Brazil country programme development; and 
  • Colombia’s Fondo Acción for development of the Colombia country programme.  

These programmes aim to: 

  1. Directly protect, restore or strengthen conservation of approximately 150,000 hectares of coral reefs; 
  2. Support the development and growth of more than 20 reef-positive businesses and local financial solutions; 
  3. Support the livelihoods, food security and resilience for more than 300,000 coastal community beneficiaries; and 
  4. Unlock nearly $30 million USD in grant capital and over $90 million USD in private finance for reef-positive solution. 

In Koror, GFCR also shared development of a second blended, reef-positive finance programme for Indonesia and a regional programme for Micronesia, with Palau as a central recipient, are underway.

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For media enquiries, please contact Nicole Trudeau, Strategic Engagement & Communication Specialist, United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (UNMPTFO) at nicole.trudeau@undp.org

About the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR)

The GFCR is the first and only blended finance initiative dedicated to coral reefs globally. The public-private partnership is driven by foundations, Member States, UN agencies, organizations, and the private sector. The GFCR Coalition includes the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation; the governments of Germany, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom; the Green Climate Fund; Pegasus Capital Advisors; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The GFCR coalition aims to bridge the coral reef funding gap by facilitating an innovative ‘Reef-Positive Investment Ecosystem’ with an array of financial tools designed to incubate, de-risk and unlock public and private market-based investment aligned to coral reef climate refugia conservation. The GFCR provides an implementation tool for national marine biodiversity conservation and blue economic transition ambitions. Emphasis is placed on geographies that are crucial for preventing reef extinction, supporting high levels of biodiversity, and providing critical ecosystem services. 

Discover more at globalfundcoralreefs.org and join our coral reef preservation communities on TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube

About the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund 

Launched at the 2021 G7 Leader’s Summit to support developing countries in protecting the marine environment and reducing poverty, the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund is an important part of the UK’s global leadership on marine issues. It helps developing countries reduce poverty; protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and deal with human-generated threats across four connected themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution and sustainable seafood.  For more information, click here.  

About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO is the UN agency’s leading agency for ocean sciences. It coordinates global programs such as ocean mapping, tsunami risk prevention, biosphere marine reserves, protection of marine World Heritage sites, as well as numerous scientific research projects and ocean literacy. UNESCO leads the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, from 2021 to 2030. This year, the Decade is reflected in the organization of major international summits, including Our Ocean Conference (Palau, 13-14 April).

About the Green Climate Fund’s anchor investment in GFCR Investment Window

As GCF’s first at-scale private sector programme in the blue economy, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs Investment Window, implemented with Pegasus Capital Advisors LP, will create a private equity fund to encourage investments in the blue economy, strengthening the resilience of coral reefs. Targeting 17 countries in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, it aims to address critical financing and private investment barriers centred around the blue economy, encouraging further investment.

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