This grants programme is a joint initiative of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and UN Environment, to catalyze implementation of the ICRI Plan of Action 2016-2018 and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 2/12 on sustainable coral reefs management.
Under this programme, grants of up to USD 60,000 were awarded to projects aimed at contributing to the implementation of the ICRI plan of action and at protecting and preserving coral reefs and/or related ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on building climate resilience and facilitating coral recovery.
The ICRI/UN Environment Grants Programme was designed to encourage projects that demonstrate and catalyze enhanced protection and management of coral reefs and related ecosystems, in particular by promoting resilience of ecosystems, dependent people and economic sectors. Innovative and replicable projects will be favourably considered.
A call for concept notes in 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.
Certification of Peer Trainers in Effective Management of Coral Reefs, Seagrass Beds, Mangroves, & Beaches in Marine Protected Areas of the Western Indian Ocean
The objective is to support sustainable science-based, adaptive management of MPAs in the Western Indian Ocean by certifying key MPA Managers and Stakeholders as trainers in marine & beach monitoring, data management/analysis, and science-based adaptive management principles.
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.
Grants under this programme are funded by UN Environment through contributions from France and the Principality of Monaco. The development of this compendium and the videos were made possible due to the generous support of the Government of Sweden.
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership among governments, international organisations and non-government organisations. It strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world by implementing Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, which was adopted by the international community at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and calls for the protection and rational use of oceans, seas and coastal areas. The initiative contributes to raising awareness on the importance of and threats to coral reefs and related ecosystems, recognising that they are facing serious degradation mainly due to anthropogenic stresses. The French government is hosting ICRI for the 2016-18 biennium.
About UN Environment
UN Environment is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. The coral reef work of UN Environment is implemented through a Global Coral Reef Partnership, coordinated by the Coral Reef Unit, which also represents UN Environment in ICRI.