Global Fund for Coral Reefs Executive Board

Haoliang Xu delivers remarks at the High-Level Opening Session of the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) Inaugural Executive Board Virtual Meeting.

January 26, 2021

Respected Executive Board Members, Participants, Colleagues and Friends,

Global climate change and localized anthropogenic stressors are driving rapid declines in coral health. The loss of coral reef ecosystems not only puts at risk one of the richest sources of biodiversity on our planet, but also the security and livelihoods of the at least one billion people that rely on them.

Our CBD colleagues recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook Five, which confirms that coral reefs “show the most rapid increase in extinction risk of all assessed groups” due to human pressures, including climate change.

In the face of this urgent coral reef crisis, it is time to act. It is not too late. But resources for coral reef conservation fall far short of what is needed.

To address the “Coral Reef Funding Gap”, an innovative global coalition of partners— comprising private foundations, UN organizations, global private financial actors, and member states—has launched a blended finance instrument known as The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) to catalyze private sector investment in coral reef conservation and the blue economy.

The Fund provides a new paradigm for protection of a global ecosystem on the brink of extinction. It will enhance the resilience of impacted countries and communities and contribute to greater global security by delivering crucial and coordinate public and private sector finance for coral reef conservation.

Innovative finance for conservation is a central pillar of UNDP’s strategy. Without nature, at least half of the SDG targets cannot be achieved and half of the global GDP is dependent on nature. As the world’s first UN multi-partner trust fund for SDG14, the Global Fund for Coral Reefs will unleash the power of private sector financing for conservation while helping countries to rebuild and enhance resilience to COVID-19 and other shocks.

The Fund will play a vital role in unlocking major private sector investment towards coral reef conservation and restoration in developing countries.  It will drive the transformation of economies and livelihoods to reduce important drivers of coral reef degradation. It will help to address climate change, reduce biodiversity and habitat loss, reduce pollution and improve waste management, and create blue jobs and livelihoods. The Fund will save coral reefs ecosystems and uplift reef-dependent communities from poverty and economic downturn.

UNDP is extremely proud to be working closely with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the German Government, UNEP, UNCDF, BNP Paribas and Mirova/Natixis Investment Managers to develop and build this Fund. We thank the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office for their work to host the Fund as UN Trustee.

With on-the-ground presence that enables us to deliver direct support the 101 coral reef countries of the world, UNDP will leverage its capacity to implement activities, build innovative partnerships between states and sectors, and provide technical assistance through our global policy network. We will ensure effective engagement with local and national governments, civil society and the private sector for integrated solutions that save coral reefs on the edge of survival.

We look forward to working closely with our Board colleagues and Fund partners to make a major success of the Global Fund for Coral Reefs.

Thank you !