Global Platform Initiates Plan to Save Coral Reefs

Coral in the Red Sea. Coral reefs support more species than any other marine environment and rival rainforests in their biodiversity. Countless numbers of creatures rely on coral reefs for their survival. Yet these important habitats are threatened by a range of human activities. Many of the world's reefs have already been destroyed or severely damaged by an increasing array of threats, including pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and global climate change. However, we can still protect and preserve our remaining reefs if we act now. NOAA is leading U.S. efforts to study and conserve these precious resources for future generations. Image credit: Tobias Friedrich

Even if you live far from coral reefs, explore how you can help with coral reef health and conservation.

The governing body of the Global Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform held its first meeting last month. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was elected as the inaugural chair of the Initiative Governing Committee and the United States, represented by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, was elected as vice chair.

G20 leaders announced the creation of the platform during the last summit to improve coral conservation and restoration outcomes around the world with a suite of superior science and technology approaches.

Coral reef ecosystems are essential for marine species and coastal communities. They support a quarter of all marine life, including many recreational and commercial species. Corals support billions of dollars in tourism, and provide protection from flooding and waves. However, both shallow and deep water coral reefs are facing multiple challenges from climate impacts, fishing pressures, land-based sources of pollution, and more.

“The United States was pleased to see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia elevate the critical need for greater resources and more innovative technologies for global coral conservation during its presidency of the last G20”, said Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program and vice chair of the Global Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform. “The Platform offers a unique opportunity to gather the world's scientific and coral management experts to complement other existing coral research and conservation efforts during this time when we are determining the future of our coral reefs, the very foundation of myriad ecosystem services we cannot afford to lose”.

The Global Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform, founded by 11 nations, will advance the science and technology needed to maintain thriving coral reef ecosystems by engaging a gender-balanced and interdisciplinary global community of scientists, coastal managers, technologists, and innovators. Specifically, the platform will connect existing national, regional, and international research & development programs and engage the private sector in supporting these efforts; provide advanced research & development training to scientists; and facilitate access to scientific information as well as research and testing facilities around the globe. New technologies and science generated will be made available to support on-the-ground efforts to conserve and restore coral reefs.

The platform is one more avenue for nations to come together with the shared goal of preserving and restoring coral reef ecosystems.

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