A GBP 24 million commitment from the UK government to coral reef action was made today during the Our Ocean conference in Panama, along with a USD 5 million investment from the Minderoo Foundation and private equity funding, respectively, in the Global Fund for Coral Reef Grants. Despite being the foundation of ocean health and community resilience, the world lost 14 per cent of its coral cover between 2009 and 2018, and 90 per cent of the world’s remaining coral reefs are threatened and could disappear entirely by 2050.
Without immediate global action to protect coral reefs, we will experience the first climate extinction of an entire ecosystem in our lifetime. But still, there is hope. The Global Fund for Coral Reefs provides a mix of public and private financing for scaled solutions designed to enhance the protection of the world’s most climate-resilient coral reefs and the ambitions of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Secretary of State for Environment, the Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “I am proud that the UK took the first step to fund the Global Fund for Coral Reefs – in 2021, supporting global efforts from Kenya and Tanzania to Fiji and Indonesia. I’m delighted that through the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, the UK is investing an additional £24m, building on the £9m already committed, and we will go further. Also, as co-chairs.”
The UK’s Blue Planet Fund announced at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in 2021, has been created to help developing countries conserve and manage their marine resources sustainably. GFCR continues to be a vital Component of the UK Blue Planet Fund portfolio, and this new contribution marks the most significant single commitment to GFCR’s grant funding to date.
As a champion of coral reef action and supporter of the Global Fund for Coral Reef Coalition, UN Environment Program (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador Ellie Golding said: “Coral reefs worldwide are facing increasing pressure from climate change, pollution and other threats. The time window for saving these ecosystems is fast. Closing. I saw that late last year when I visited the Red Sea in Sharm el-Sheikh with UNEP and the Fund’s support. The reef and helping developing countries in their climate-resilience efforts. I want other countries, philanthropists and investors to see a future for this important ecosystem. Calling to join the Global Fund for Coral Reefs to help protect them.”
CEO Craig Kogut, the founder of impact investing firm and Pegasus Capital Advisors, which manages the GFCR private equity fund, said, “We are thrilled with the interest of our new investor and partner Mindaru, and the proactiveness and interest of The Blue Planet Fund. We focus on coastal ecosystems as an imperative for the blue economy.” And investing to benefit communities, coral reefs as a measure of success, is a sure bet for achieving climate goals, the planet’s overall health, and for growing the economic bottom line.”
Mindaru Flourishing Ocean Initiative Director, Dr Tony Warby, said the capital investment in the GFCR is essential to unlocking another $25 million from the Green Climate Fund. Dr Orbi said that we could help establish and grow ocean-positive businesses through impact investing. Mindaru challenges the world’s most significant issue of protecting its coral reefs without eroding them. “This investment instrument is an innovative tool for government, business and community action to address the urgent and unprecedented need to restore oceans to a prosperous state.”
“Proud to be a founding partner and hosting organization of Global Fund
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) for coral reefs by leveraging international public and philanthropic funding to generate private investment in coral reefs, the GFCR is accelerating. With the ambitions of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, Resilience and recovery measures are in line,” said UNCDF Deputy Executive Secretary Javier Michon. “In the face of an intensifying climate crisis, new investments from the UK Blue Planet Fund and the Mindaru Foundation will support nature-positive economic change and increase climate resilience of coral reefs and vulnerable coastal communities in developing countries.”
With GFCR’s public and private investments in sustainable conservation, community-driven blue economy solutions are being developed and scaled to address local coral reef losses. Waste treatment, Supported solutions include sustainable fisheries and coral reef insurance, sustainable aquaculture, recycling facilities and agriculture, ecotourism enterprises, blue carbon credits and sustainable financeable marine protected areas.
Antha Williams, head of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Climate and Environment Program, said: “We must protect coral reefs from climate change and other threats.”
The Global Fund for Coral Reefs is already making a difference by providing philanthropy with a vehicle to leverage public and private sectors around proven solutions for ocean conservation. Bloomberg Philanthropies is pleased to join this coalition that brings together partners and funders to protect the reef, fight climate change, and provide better, longer lives for people worldwide.”
GFCR has announced two new executive board co-chairs to oversee its Catalyst Grant Program for 2023 through 2024. The UK Government was represented by Briony Coulson, Managing Director, International Sustainable Blue Finance, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and UNEP by Leticia Carvalho, Deputy Regional Director.
Brian Coulson, Co-Chair of the GFCR Executive Board, said, “I am very proud that the UK is scaling up its support for the GFCR through the UK’s Blue Planet Fund. In addition to the £24m, I am very excited to be taking on this role alongside UNEP and Co-Chair. Coral reefs are vital to the health of our oceans and the communities that depend on them, yet they are under significant threat from climate change, pollution and overfishing.
I look forward to working with Leticia and the growing GFCR Coalition to achieve our shared goals of safeguarding these vulnerable ecosystems.
GFCR Executive Board Co-Chair Leticia Carvalho said, “UNEP, in collaboration with the UK Government and the Blue Planet Fund, is keen to increase our role in this important Fund. Coral reefs and associated marine ecosystems are the most vulnerable habitats to climate change, and local pressures drive them. We must ensure that global Awareness needs are raised and create funds to enable solutions through blended financing, and that is what the Global Fund for Coral Reefs is all about.”
The new announcements during the plenary session of our Ocean Conference in Panama and the Future of Reefs side-event hosted by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs and partners, including the UN Decade of Ocean Science and the International Coral Reef Initiative. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Race to Resilience, and UNEP. The session showcased bankable climate-adaptation solutions already underway and substantive discussions on private and public mobilization efforts to take place in the lead-up to UNFCCC COP28 in November.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Global Fund for Coral Reefs
In 2008, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs launched, making it the first global blended finance vehicle dedicated to coral reef conservation. Hosting both a grant fund and an investment fund, the GFCR is designed to finance solutions and scale blue economic transformations that strengthen the resilience of coral reefs and the communities that depend on them. GFCR focuses on incubating and scaling up financial interventions and initiatives that address local drivers of coral reef degradation, unlock conservation funding streams and build adaptive community capacity.
It is a public-private partnership between member states, UN agencies, financial institutions, philanthropists, influential investors, and organizations. The GFCR Coalition consists of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation; the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; The Mindaru Foundation; the governments of Germany, France, Canada, the US and the UK; The Green Climate Fund; Pegasus Capital Adviser; The vision of the creators; Bloomberg philanthropies International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) the United Nations Environment Program; the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and Development Accelerator Platform (CorDap) and the Coral Research.
About UK Blue Planet Funding
Launched at the 2021 G7 leaders’ summit to help developing countries protect marine environments and reduce poverty, the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund is integral to the UK’s global leadership on maritime issues. It helps developing countries to reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources, and address human-caused threats across four related themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution and sustainable seafood, for more info.
About Minderoo Foundation
The Mindaru Foundation is a modern philanthropic organization that tackles persistent issues and challenges with the potential to drive massive change.
Minderoo’s Flourishing Oceans initiative aims to restore the world’s oceans to a thriving state by stopping the dumping of plastic, overfishing, heat and carbon dioxide into our oceans, supporting sustainable use of ocean resources, conserving critical habitats and facilitating world-class research. Minderoo is one of Australasia’s largest philanthropies.
About United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
UNEP is the lead environmental authority in the UN system. The UNEP works to strengthen environmental standards and practices to meet national, global, and regional environmental obligations.