International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and UN Environment Grants Programme 2017

5 projects accepted and requested to submit full proposal

Collage of UN, Monaco, Sweden, France government logos


The ICRI/UN Environment Grants Programme is a joint initiative of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and UN Environment which aims to catalyze the development of innovative and replicable initiatives that enhance protection and management of coral reefs and related ecosystems. Grants under this programme are funded by UN Environment through generous contributions from France, the Principality of Monaco.

A call for concept notes closing 1 August 2017 resulted in 233 proposals submitted by a diverse group of applicants from across the globe. Projects ranged from engaging community education programs through to complex deep ocean reef research projects. In addition to the diverse and thoughtful project concepts, the submissions collectively conveyed an overwhelmingly strong sense of the passion, innovation and ingenuity that characterises the coral reef research and management community committed to improving the outlook for the world’s coral reefs.

Of the 233 projects, 80 were shortlisted for further review based on the Programme’s eligibility criteria, including the ability to progress the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 2/12 on sustainable coral reefs management and catalyzing implementation of the ICRI plan of action2016-2018.

Amongst the shortlisted projects, 5 exhibited outstanding innovation, impact and ability to deliver on these themes, with the strongest potential to enhance the resilience of coral reefs. These stand-out projects were selected for funding under the 2017 grants programme. The 5 projects accepted and requested to submit full proposals are:

  • Including coral reef resilience and vulnerability to climate change in marine spatial planning in Malaysia
    This project will work with government and civil society stakeholders to develop spatial information layers for climate change vulnerability and anthropogenic stress, and then incorporate this information into conservation planning and marine protected area design for the Sabah and Terengganu state. It is an innovative approach to ensuring that climate change and coral reef resilience dynamics are incorporated into conservation and spatial planning, with great potential benefits for the reef and the people who depend on it in the face of an uncertain future.
  • Innovative financing and legal mechanisms for reef restoration and emergency response in selected sites of the MAR Region
    This project seeks to contribute to the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef by enabling innovative financing mechanisms, and recommending suitable legal and institutional instruments to facilitate access to immediate funds for reef restoration after hurricane damage. It will work across government, civil society and private sector to develop innovative insurance schemes for coral reef natural assets, thus potentially developing a sustainable financing stream for coral reef management and conservation in the region.
  • Managing mangroves for climate change regulation and other ecosystem services in Kenya
    Building on a successful and award-winning project in Gazi Bay, Kenya (Mikoko pamoja), this project aims to tap into the climate change mitigation potential of mangrove ecosystems in order to leverage sustainable financing streams through the voluntary carbon market. The project will triple the size of existing efforts and build a project in a remote village in southern Kenya that produces certified emissions reductions and carbon credits through conservation and planting of mangroves. The credits will be ready to be sold to corporate buyers abroad, and this innovative approach will thus leverage sustainable financing for mangrove conservation with social benefits for local communities.
  • A seascape genomics approach to improve coral reefs conservation strategies against bleaching in New Caledonia
    Conservation efforts to preserve coral reefs are increasingly depending on the adaptive capacity of corals in the face of climate change, an aspect rarely addressed in the past. This project aims at promoting a conservation strategy that accounts for the adaptive potential of corals against bleaching. It will develop a Seascape Genomics methodology to assess conservation priorities and apply it to the UNESCO world heritage reef system of New Caledonia.
  • Increasing resilience of traditional Marine Protected Areas in Vanuatu
    In the face of increasing climate and anthropogenic pressures, the project aims at fostering improved coping mechanisms for coral reef management through the development of an adapted and consensual management framework based on coastal and reef zoning, and reef resources uses regulations. The project will build on traditional marine protected area practices (taboo areas) and will strengthen coral reef management in the area through public awareness and reach out, stakeholder consultations for coral reef management and demarcation of protected areas.

in addition, the 80 shortlisted projects were assessed by the Review Team and rated for Quality, Feasibility, Relevance (to ICRI/ UN Environment priorities), Impact, Innovation, Local involvement and Replicability/scalability. Thirty-two high- quality projects were chosen to represent the diverse opportunities available for tackling the range of issues driving coral reef decline. The proposals selected have been included in a compendium. The development of this compendium was made possible due to the generous support of the Government of Sweden.

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