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Programmatic Approach

The GFCR maximizes impact and facilitates transformative change.


Due to the multiple drivers of degradation, layered interventions are required. This can range from global (e.g. climate change, ocean acidification, increasing human populations) to local (e.g. overfishing, unsustainable coastal development, destructive fishing, pollution, boat anchoring, etc.), and include drivers that directly and indirectly cause adverse harm to coral reefs and surrounding ecosystems.

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs supports efforts to incubate and accelerate revenue-generating interventions that can sustainably finance the mitigation and elimination of unsustainable direct and indirect local drivers of coral reef degradation.

Outcome 1

Protection of priority coral reef sites and climate change-affected ‘refugia’

Outcome 2

Transformation of the livelihoods of coral reef-dependent communities

Outcome 3

Restoration of coral reefs through new technologies and adaptive approaches

Outcome 4

Recovery and resilience of coral reef-dependent communities in the face of major shocks (such as natural disasters, economic downturn and health crises)


Targeting climate-resilient reefs around the world

The GFCR operates in coral reef countries around the world, with a focus on interventions where coral reefs have been identified as more resilient to climate change. The analysis of coral reef resiliency is guided by coral reef scientists, local experts and studies that include: 50 Reefs, UNEP Coral Futures, Super Reefs, WWF Reef Rescue and others.

The Fund advances the progress of important projects and initiatives already underway in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), while delivering proven models to new focal areas. The GFCR takes a holistic approach by applying several revenue-generating models to a single focal area. In doing so, the fund enacts solutions that protect and increase the resilience of both biodiversity and people, while transforming communities’ relationships with nature. The map highlights the coral reef countries of the world.


Beyond SDG 14, coral reef conservation efforts can offer opportunities to make headway on 13 other SDGs by conserving and reinforcing ecosystem services. Participation in coral reef conservation and restoration can fortify the commitments made by Member States, financial institutions, and philanthropic partners to mobilise resources for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Human Health and Wellbeing

70% of the protein in diets of Pacific Islanders come from reef-associated fisheries. Women’s livelihoods are disproportionately affected when reefs are damaged. Protecting coral reefs translates directly to health and wellbeing benefits.


Shoreline Protection

Reef conservation is critical to shoreline protection, as a healthy coral reef can reduce coastal wave energy by up to 97%. Across the globe, coral reefs safeguard communities from natural disasters and protect some $6 billion of built capital from flooding.


Food Security

Coral fisheries provide an average annual seafood yield of 1.42 million tonnes, serving as a vital source of protein for a billion people around the world.



Coral reef tourism contributes $36 billion to the global tourism industry annually, providing much-needed support to many local economies.



Coral reefs support approximately 4000 species of fish and 800 types of coral. Reefs are believed to be the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth; occupying only 0.1% of the ocean, these environments are home to more than 25% of marine life.



Preserving coral reefs can safeguard valuable opportunities for medical advancement. Today, more than half of all new cancer drug research focuses on marine organisms.