May 22, 2022

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Emergency plan to save coral reefs from extinction

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Corals covers an area of ​​more than half a million square kilometers worldwide – the equivalent of France – and has an exceptionally rich biodiversity. They play an important role in absorbing carbon emissions and protecting coastal areas from storms and erosion. In addition, they serve as a livelihood for more than a hundred tribal communities. They are also reference points about the effects of climate change affecting other rocks around the world.

However, the warning signal has been raised after the latest known scientific data. Coral bleaching occurs much faster than science initially suggested. These “bleached” corals are highly susceptible to starvation and disease and have an increasing mortality rate. This year, for the first time, there has been a massive coral reef during the traditionally cold winter known as La Nina. In the current context of greenhouse gas emissions, all reefs listed as World Heritage Sites are in danger of disappearing. At the end of this century (EN).

UNSPLASH / Alec Douglas

Overview of Witty Lew Island, the largest of the islands, which includes the South Pacific nation of Fiji and the capital of Chua.

Reduce local pressures to give more life to the rocks

Global warming due to global carbon dioxide emissions is the biggest threat to coral reefs around the world. Recent data Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Make sure States need to drastically reduce carbon emissions To fulfill the objectives of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015.

Furthermore, most coral reefs face other local hazards such as pollution, overfishing or habitat destruction. The agency is working to reduce these local pressures.

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“During the ‘Our Ocean’ Conference in Palau, I call on the international community to mobilize to prevent the extinction of coral reefs and to announce UNESCO’s major contribution (…) to the relics engraved on the World Heritage List, especially those in developing countries. , ”Said Azole, director of the agency.

It is a United Nations-led public-private partnership that will intensify investment. Climate tolerance strategies on rocks in developing countries Included in the World Heritage List. Focusing on activities Reduction of local factors contributing to its degradationStrengthening Sustainable management of marine protected areas And this Support for local communities. Of the 29 sites listed as World Heritage Sites in the developing world, 19 are projects that the Association prioritizes in the park (Costa Rica), the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), the Coyba National Park and its Special Maritime Protection Zone (Panama), or several in Mexico: protected islands and the Gulf of California, Cian Con, Revillagigedo Archipelago.

Before and after coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The Ocean Agency / WL Caitlin CV

Before and after coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Elastic rocks

This new large-scale project is based on success Flexible patches initiativeLaunched at our Ocean Summit in 2018 by the Agency and its partners. Over the past four years, they have served on four Heritage Reef pilot sites in Australia, Belize, New Caledonia (France) and Palau.

In the southern Lagoon (Palau) of the Rogas Islands, the initiative provides training to staff and local communities on the latest science and fisheries management knowledge, adaptation and regression. The design of a fishing permit system that restricts access to the reefs will enable the use of fish fish size limits that allow them to grow and multiply, and to protect habitats to guarantee the life cycle of the species. Conditions for recovery of fish stocks.

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At Ningloo Beach, Australia, solutions are being developed to facilitate coral rearing. When coral dies due to an event such as bleaching, the fragments break up and accumulate in the rocks, forming a kind of “debris” that prevents the growth of new corals. For fertilized eggs to settle on the rocks and reproduce, the surface must be clean and strong. The tested solution as part of the initiative involves placing small star-shaped structures made of steel rods on rocks that allow the fertilized eggs to settle and grow. The “stars” are built by local aborigines, while at the same time creating local employment.

The initiative will continue until 2024, raising a total of ten million dollars so far.

Fish swim in a coral reef in French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.

Ocean Image Bank / Jane Jenkins

Fish swim in a coral reef in French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean.

Rocks, important in the decade for the 2021-2030 seas

From this new strategic plan for the high resilience of World Heritage rocks to monitoring the quality of water to protect coral reefs in Tanzania, to the use of nanotechnology to make rocks in the Caribbean more resilient. The protection and recovery of the rocks is one of the important activities Partially supported by UNESCO United Nations Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.

This decade brings together scientists, marine managers, local communities and indigenous peoples, as well as public and private investors, to jointly develop solutions for the protection and revitalization of the world’s reef ecosystems.

Global Coral Fund

Global Coral Fund 2020 United Nations, Paul G. Launched by the Allen Family Foundation and Prince Albert II of the Monaco Foundation with the support of the International Coral Initiative. The goal is to raise $ 625 million by 2030.

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World Heritage Corals

* Belize Barrier Reef Reserve Network (Belize), Brazilian Atlantic Islands – Fernando de Noronha and Los Rogas Adol Reserve (Brazil), Malpelo Fona and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia), Guanacosta (Costa Rica), Costa Rica Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Duptadaha Reef Nature Park (Philippines), Komodo National Park (Indonesia), Ujung Kulon National Park (Indonesia), Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kripati), Islands and Gulf of California (California) Mexico), Revillecado Archipelago (Mexico), Coyba National Park and its Special Marine Protection Zone (Panama), East Renal (Solomon Islands), Icymangaliso Wetland Park (South Africa), Sanganep Marine National Park and Tungon Bay Bay and National Park (Sudan), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Sokotra Archipelago (Yemen).