NEWS AND STORIES



First-of-Its-Kind Fund Launched to Protect Coral Reefs

Jan 28 2021
Photo courtesy Matt Curnock / Coral Reef Image Bank

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the German government, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation announced Thursday that they are committing $10 million to help protect the last of the world’s coral reefs. 

The new money will go toward the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, a first-of-its-kind fund launched with a coalition of partners to mobilize resources to make coral reefs more resilient.  

Coral reefs are found in the waters of over 100 countries and territories, and provide an estimated one billion people worldwide with jobs and food while protecting coastlines from storms and flood. But over the last 50 years, half the world’s corals have been lost due to climate change, overfishing and growing local pressures. If global temperatures continue to rise, experts suggest that 90% of the remaining coral reefs could disappear. Despite their immense importance and vulnerability, the resources needed to protect coral reefs fall far short.  

"Coral reefs are one of the habitats most threatened by climate change. They make an important contribution to the biodiversity of our planet and to coastal protection,” said Dr. Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. “The Global Fund for Coral Reefs is an important step towards protecting these ecosystems.” 

Protect, Transform, Restore, and Recover

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs is built around this four-part framework
Protect
Protection of priority coral reef sites and climate change-affected refuges. Photo of the Great Barrier Reef courtesy Jayne Jenkins with the Coral Reef Image Bank.
Transform
Transformation of the livelihoods of coral reef-dependent communities. Children swim off the coast of Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Photo courtesy Fabrice Dudenhofer with the Coral Reef Image Bank.
Restore
Restoration of coral reefs through new technologies and adaptive approaches. Coral restoration in the Seychelles courtesy The Ocean Agency.
Recover
Recovery of coral reef-dependent communities in the face of emergencies. Photo courtesy Hannes Klostermann with the Coral Reef Image Bank.

The way the Global Fund for Coral Reefs works is unique. Using public and philanthropic funding, the fund is an investment vehicle that aims to catalyze private investments in coral reef conservation and restoration. Over the next 10 years, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs seeks to raise and invest $500 million that will improve the health and sustainability of reefs and associated ecosystems while empowering local communities and enterprises.  

The fund has also brought together allies from across the globe. Initiated by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs has grown into a global partnership uniting countries (Germany), various UN agencies (UNDP, UNEP, UNCDF), philanthropy, and financial institutions (BNP Paribas and Mirova) all driven to establish a new paradigm for coral reef conservation.  

“We are pleased to be joining this world-class, public-private partnership to change the trajectory of the coral reef crisis,” said Paul Keating, head of philanthropy, Vulcan Inc., on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “This smart blended finance approach allows governments, philanthropy and private investors to work together to achieve a common objective: sustainable coral reef conservation.”  

Support for the Global Fund for Coral Reefs builds on previous efforts from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to change the trajectory of coral reef decline. Since 2013, the Foundation has been investing in innovative research focused on increasing the resiliency and restoration of global coral populations. This work is paying off. Early results show that, with help, coral reefs can recover.  

“Home to 25% of marine life and essential to a billion people worldwide, protecting coral reefs is critical to the survival of the planet,” said Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. “These ecosystems face unprecedent threats and significant loss. Without urgent action and rapid mobilization of financial resources, coral reefs will experience even greater collapse.” 

These initial contributions to the Global Fund for Coral Reefs will be used to operationalize the fund, develop a pipeline of investable projects, and implement promising early projects. They also mark the launch of a fundraising campaign that will culminate at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November.   

Home to 25% of marine life and essential to a billion people worldwide, protecting coral reefs is critical to the survival of the planet.

— Oliver Wenden