Dignitaries and leading Saudi entities come together to support Saudi Arabia’s global leading role in the fight to save corals
28 August, Riyadh – Dignitaries and leading Saudi entities joined host G20 Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s leading role in saving corals globally, with the official launch of the Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform Foundation (CORDAP Foundation) established by Royal Order 55643 signed by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 15/08/1444 H (07/03/2023).
In attendance at the event, contributing to a panel titled The Rise of Saudi Leadership in the Environment: The Fight to Save Corals was H.R.H. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States.
H.E. Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Toonsi, Secretary-General of the Saudi Secretariat for the G20 and Advisor at the Royal Court, provided welcoming remarks reflecting on the trajectory from the idea being proposed by Saudi Government to this being embraced by G20 leaders under the historic Saudi Presidency of the G20 in 2020, leading to the establishment of CORDAP. This was followed by welcome remarks from Dr. Osama Faqeeha, G20 CORDAP Initiative Governing Committee Chair, Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform Foundation Chair, and Deputy Minister of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia.
Comments from Dr. Tony Chan, President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology followed, emphasizing KAUST’s support for CORDAP and Saudi Arabia’s leadership for coral conservation and research.
Showing their support for Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the fight to save corals, these leading Saudi entities then signed letters of intent or memorandums of understanding (MOU) to support the Global Platform Foundation.
- Letter of Intent with Red Sea Authority represented by Mr. Mohammed Al Asiri, acting CEO.
- MOU with Environment Fund, represented by Khaled AlHabardi, Executive VP of Strategy
- MOU with National Center for Wildlife, represented by Dr. Mohammed Qurban, CEO
- MOU with AEON Collective represented by H.R.H. Princess Noura bint Turki Al-Saud and H.H. Princess Mashael Saud Al Shalan, founding partners of AEON Collective
CORDAP was adopted by the leaders of the G20 states during the summit held under the Saudi Presidency of the G20 in Riyadh (November 2020) to fast-track research and development solutions to save the world’s corals. CORDAP headquarters is at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, but can operate internationally. The Chair of CORDAP, unanimously appointed by G20 nations, and Deputy Minister of Environment is Dr. Osama Faqeeha.
In March 2023, Royal Order 55643 signed by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 15/08/1444 H (07/03/2023) approved the creation of the Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform Foundation (CORDAP Foundation), a non-profit organization that will serve as the financial arm of CORDAP. CORDAP is the first Foundation incorporated in KSA that can operate internationally, opening the way for future foundations to reach global goals in support to Saudi leadership in addressing global challenges.
“The Royal Court’s approval of the Global Platform Foundation marks a major milestone toward implementing this distinguished global initiative,’” said Dr Osama Faqeeha. “The non-profit organization will facilitate the receipt of financial contributions to CORDAP from G20 and non-G20 countries, the private sector, and other contributors according to CORDAP’s charter endorsed by G20 environmental ministers.”
“The future of our oceans depends on us taking action now,” said Professor Carlos M. Duarte, Executive Director of CORDAP and Distinguished Professor at KAUST. “70-90% of the remaining coral reefs could disappear in the next 10-15 years, a projection that is exemplified by the catastrophic coral losses on-going in the Caribbean affected by an unprecedented marine heat wave. An ocean without healthy corals is unthinkable. Accelerating the next generation of science and technology to help conserve and restore corals, while no efforts are spared to mitigate the pressures on them, must be a priority.”
The CORDAP Foundation will enable CORDAP to significantly expand its global outreach to support research and development solutions for coral reefs worldwide.
In accordance with the guidelines and processes established by the CORDAP Foundation’s Governance Committee, the organization will provide financial resources to aid CORDAP’s objectives to engage the brightest minds globally into delivering the next science and technology required to secure a future for corals.
Resources include facilitating the receipt of conferment, donations, subsidies, grants, bequests, endowments or any other contributions from inside and outside Saudi Arabia; providing financial support and disbursement of funds for research and projects announced by the Initiative’s Scientific and Advisory Committee; and establishing branches or offices inside or outside Saudi Arabia as deemed necessary, among other responsibilities.
The successful G20 Presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia identified coral reefs as key components of the ocean ecosystem at risk, and launched a collaborative Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), established by G20 nations in 2021, to drive a global effort to deliver the science and technology required to save tropical and cold-water corals.
- Committed to scalability. CORDAP-funded projects will deliver efficient coral restoration solutions suitable for large-scale intervention.
- Focused on R&D only. CORDAP is the only international organization fully dedicated to funding coral conservation and restoration R&D.
- CORDAP integrates the abilities of the world’s best scientific minds collaborating in international teams advancing projects to develop effective and scalable solutions for coral conservation practitioners.
- Accessible to everyone. Our open-source platform will allow any organization to advance and use its freely-available technologies. CORDAP is also open to the participation of non-G20 nations and organizations committed to coral conservation and restoration.
CORDAP promotes participation of middle and low-income countries. We invest in capacity building and develop inclusive programs that involve scientists from middle and low-income countries, those most impacted by coral loss, across all of our programs.
On request of Saudi government, KAUST hosts the CORDAP platform and its Foundation and supports all administrative efforts required to deliver the program as its own cost. Established in 2009, KAUST is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the world, as well as Saudi Arabia, in the areas of food and health, water, energy, environment and the digital domain.
KAUST brings together the best minds from around the world to advance research. More than 120 different nationalities live, work and study on campus. KAUST is also a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity, with research resulting in novel patents and products, enterprising startups, regional and global initiatives, and collaboration with other academic institutions, industries and government agencies.
For additional information, visit www.kaust.edu.sa.