Hosting a global initiative to save corals

UN Global Fund for Coral Reefs Executive Board Chair Chuck Cooper (left) and CORDAP Executive Director Dr. Carlos Duarte (right) exchange congratulations after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CORDAP and the UN Global Fund for Coral Reefs at CORDAP’s “Champions for Corals” event at the 2022 UN Oceans Conference, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: KAUST

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is playing a central role in supporting a major international G20 Initiative, the Coral Research and Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), which aims to protect and restore corals around the globe. This comes at a critical time for corals, which are facing widespread destruction due to the impacts of human-induced climate change along with direct human pressures. The Government of Saudi Arabia and KAUST are deploying, along with the G20 partners, their resources and capacity to help corals, both tropical and deep water, survive and thrive in an increasingly warming world.

As part of these efforts, on August 28 and 29, 2022, CORDAP co-organized a G20 workshop with the United Nations Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR)in partnership with the Indonesia Coral Reef Garden (ICRG), hosted by the Indonesian government as part of Ocean20, an event tract of the G20 Presidency of Indonesia summit that will take place November 15-16, 2022 in Bali — the seventeenth meeting of the Group of Twenty. The event will include, for the first time, an Oceans Day on 14 November, 2022. The G20 is a strategic multilateral platform connecting the world's major developed and emerging economies, and the protection of marine ecosystems and deployment of ocean-based climate solutions is part of its agenda.

The two-day workshop, No Coral Reef Left Behind and Blue Natural Capital, held on August 28 and 29, 2022, served to deliver actionable policy recommendations on coral conservation cooperation toG20 Environment Deputy Ministers, and appraise leadership about CORDAP–GFCR activities to date. Scientific experts, practitioners and policymakers convened to raise awareness about coral community experiences in Indonesia and other G20 countries, and discuss affordable, scalable and transferable solutions for coral reefs worldwide. Yabanex Batista, Deputy Head of Fund Secretariat of the UN Global Fund for Coral Reefs, highlighted the partnership with CORDAP and described their efforts to conserve resilient reefs and restore damaged ones across the ocean.

The CORDAP-GFCR alliance stems from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the organizations in June 2022 at the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The partnership seeks to advance and scale-up coral reef research, development and restoration across the world.

Professor Carlos Duarte and KAUST Associate Professor Raquel Peixoto are also on CORDAP's 19-member Scientific and Advisory Committee, which comprises of renowned international coral scientists, managers and engineers. 

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