EU joins International Coral Reef Initiative

In February 2021, the European Union joined the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a global partnership to protect the world’s coral reefs and associated ecosystems. Representing the EU at the ICRI general assembly, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Coral reefs are emblematic of rich marine life. Yet, the rapid degradation of these beautiful underwater worlds is also a very stark reminder of the pressures that human activity puts on our planet, not least our oceans. The protection of these vital marine ecosystems is of great importance to biodiversity, sustainable food supply and the global climate system.” In 2020, the EU proposed a Biodiversity Strategy for 2021-2030, which includes the aim to strengthen the protection of marine ecosystems and restore them to a “good environmental status”.

New guide for coral reef managers

A new guide has been published to help experts decide whether coral reef restoration is an effective strategy for the long-term protection of coral reefs locally, regionally and globally. Coral reefs are valuable ecosystems, supporting a rich and abundant marine biodiversity. However, they are highly sensitive and vulnerable to climate change: as many as 50% are estimated to have been lost due to ocean warming. There is thus both a greater urgency to protect reefs and mitigate against climate change, and a need to restore damaged reef systems. The report, Coral reef restoration as a strategy to improve ecosystem services, produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), offers guidance for practitioners, managers, and decision-makers on the need to carefully plan, fund and manage reef restoration to ensure long-term sustainability and success.

View the Youtube video here.