The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) has announced that the UK has joined the Fund’s coalition with a commitment of GBP £5 million. This new commitment is from the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, launched at the 2021 G7 Leader’s Summit to support developing countries in protecting the marine environment and reducing poverty.
“The UK is a global leader in marine protection and will continue to advocate for ambitious climate and ocean action at COP26 this year,” said Environment Secretary, George Eustice. “Our shared ocean is a vital resource and provides habitat to precious marine life, as well as supporting the livelihoods of one in every ten people worldwide.” – George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom
Coral reefs are valued at up to USD $10 trillion annually and are relied upon by an estimated 1 billion people. Although coral reefs harbour the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem globally, they are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. It is estimated that more than half the world’s coral reefs have been lost due to climate change, over-fishing and increasing local pressures. Coral reef decline, however, can be reversed by acting with urgency to implement proven projects at scale.
The GFCR was launched nearly one year ago, alongside the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, by a coalition of private foundations, Member States, UN agencies and private sector impact investors with the ambition to mobilise USD $625 million for coral reef conservation over the next 10 years. The GFCR is the first UN fund dedicated to SDG 14, ‘Life Below Water’ and the only global blended finance instrument dedicated to coral reefs.
The Fund’s blended finance approach leverages grants to unlock private sector investment in the blue economy, incubate investable projects and scale up coral reef conservation. Under a guiding Theory of Change and Investment Plan, the GFCR’s Grant and Investment Window jointly sequence and layer ecosystem-based solutions addressing indirect and direct drivers of degradation (e.g., overfishing, unsustainable coastal development, destructive fishing, pollution, boat anchoring, etc.). Programming has already launched in Fiji and, by early 2022, is expected to begin in the Philippines, Kenya, Tanzania, Solomon Islands, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, The Bahamas, Indonesia, and the Maldives.