Why are corals key to meeting global biodiversity targets?
“The targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved if we lose corals and reefs, which is a real and urgent risk.” Professor Carlos M. Duarte, Executive Director, CORDAP.
Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate. One million species currently face the threat of extinction and half the world’s coral has disappeared since the 1950’s. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) sets out the need to protect and restore all of our ecosystems, and to rebuild their functional connectivity.
We know protecting and restoring coral will actively support GBF goals. Perhaps more importantly, not doing so will make any target connected to marine health and biodiversity effectively impossible to meet.
Why does the GBF matter?
Like the Paris Climate Agreement before it, the creation of the GBF marked a crucial moment for the future of our planet. The mission of the Framework is to provide the means of implementation that will allow us to put nature on a path to recovery, for the benefit of people and the planet.
Through the Framework, world leaders have committed to halting our current slide towards a mass extinction of some of the world’s most important species and ecosystems. They will do this by taking urgent action in the period up to 2030, to enable us to achieve the 2050 vision of halting and reversing biodiversity loss.
But there is less than a decade left to meet our 2030 targets and the world has historically failed to deliver on the nature based targets it has set itself. So how are leaders going to implement the necessary actions set out in the Framework, to conserve and restore nature as a whole and marine biodiversity in particular, without rapid action now to save corals worldwide?
Restoring corals will require more speed and support
Experts working in ocean conservation are united and the science is clear: a healthy planet needs healthy oceans and healthy oceans require corals.
Given the challenge of rebuilding tropical coral reefs, the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), an advisory member of CORDAP, sponsored a report in 2021 identifying three critical pillars for improving coral restoration:
- Reduce climate change threats
- Improve local conditions to build resilience
- Invest in active restoration to enhance recovery
This year, the Coral breakthrough launched at the International Coral Reef Initiative’s General Meeting, estimated that securing the future of at least 125,000 km2 of shallow-water tropical coral reefs would require an investment of at least US$12 billion.
CORDAP can help turn ambition into action
As a G20 initiative and the only international organization fully dedicated to funding global R&D for tropical and cold-water coral restoration and conservation worldwide, CORDAP is uniquely placed to help meet many of the GBF targets. Our founding principles and overarching mission are closely aligned to the commitments made in the framework.
We’re supporting goals….
Our work directly contributes to two of the four GBF goals for 2050, Goal A and Goal D.
These goals highlight the need for ecosystems to be connected and for greater genetic diversity, and the need for increased capacity building and funding and for solutions to be made available to all nations.
…and delivering targets
We can help to deliver on 7 of the 23 targets set for 2030
We are helping to meet these targets for corals by:
- Identifying priority areas for research & development (R&D) in coral conservation and restoration (CCR).
- Funding, developing and sharing new tools and research that conserve and enhance coral ecosystems
- Building R&D capacity and advancing cost-effective, scalable technologies
- Making all CORDAP-funded technologies open source and our data freely available to everyone.
- Enhancing cooperation among the G20 members and non-member countries while mobilising and partnering with the private R&D sector.
- Providing advanced R&D training and access to cutting-edge research facilities and infrastructure, in a gender balanced way, to scientists from low- and middle-income countries.
We’ve recently announced winners of our 2022 call for funding and opened a new call for awards for 2023. The projects we support are chosen specifically because they are helping to maintain, enhance and restore the integrity, connectivity and resilience of our oceanic ecosystems. We are also committed to making our financial, technical, capacity-building and scientific resources open-source and accessible to all.
With the continued support of member countries, partners, and donors, CORDAP will continue to drive innovation and deliver the best science and technology available to save the world’s corals.
Learn more about the work we’re supporting already.
Support our work and support the GBF.
Photo credits. Banner: Jiří Mikoláš / Article: Gregory Piper