New Wave Media

July 9, 2024

GFCR Greenlights $25M to Scale Up Coral Reef Resilience Efforts

© ScubaDiver / Adobe Stock

© ScubaDiver / Adobe Stock

Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) has announced over $25 million in grant funding to boost resilience efforts across coral nations in the face of increasing threats to coral ecosystems.

Announcements include a new blended finance programme for Egypt’s Red Sea, the Phillippines, Indonesia, the Mesoamerican Reef, Zanzibar and Tanzania.

The new GFCR programme, Egyptian Red Sea Initiative, aims to increase the protection of one of the longest living and most resilient reef ecosystems in the world. Supported by a major funding commitment from USAID, this initiative, in partnership with the Government of Egypt and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will establish a landmark Egyptian Fund for Coral Reefs to leverage up to $50 million in private and public funding, for sustainable blue economic transition and conservation efforts.

Additional market-based solutions to be supported by a coral reef business incubator, include organic waste recycling for coastal farming, aquaculture to support ecosystem restoration, and mooring systems to avoid boat-related reef damage. 

In the Philippines, hosting the third-largest coral reef area in the world, the GFCR-supported programme led by Blue Alliance Marine Protected Areas has already unlocked catalytic donor and impact investor funding to operationalise a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Impact Loan Facility. A new influx of GFCR support will scale implementation to cover more than 100 MPAs hosting 80,000 hectares of significant coral refugia coverage and increase the resilience of more than 2 million coastal community members.

In Indonesia, located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the additional support from the GFCR will help ensure sustainable long-term funding for effective MPA management and financing access for reef-positive enterprises. With an emphasis on supporting local women, the increased GFCR funding seeks to enable the growth of at least 10 additional reef-positive businesses, including community-led seaweed hatcheries and handling facilities, ecotourism ventures, and sustainable aquaculture.

In the MAR, home to the largest reef barrier in the Western Hemisphere, the GFCR is funding the MAR+Invest program to address local drivers of ecosystem degradation and contribute to reef and community resilience through blended finance.

Now in its second phase, the MAR+Invest partners are scaling a regional portfolio of market-based solutions spanning Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize, instrumental to achieving the programme’s 2030 targets: 60,000 hectares of coral reefs under improved management; 3 million community members with increased resilience; and $60 million leveraged in public and private finance.

New funding support was also announced for the Blue Alliance-led initiative in Pemba Island, Zanzibar - home to 50% of Tanzania’s coral reefs and a wealth of vulnerable marine species.

The blended finance programme on the North Pemba Channel Conservation Area leverages locally-led enterprises to protect coral reefs and promote inclusive prosperity. The initiative will enable the growth of 7 reef-positive business solutions contributing to the sustainable finance and management of 27,000 MPA hectares. The programme’s 2030 objectives include regeneration of approximately 4,200 hectares of coral reefs, support for at least 15,000 fisher and coastal community member livelihoods, and a minimum of $15 million funding from impact commercial investors through its blended finance impact facility.

As the leading global coral finance instrument, the GFCR aims to increase the protection and resilience of at least 3 million hectares of coral reefs globally by 2030 - representing 25% of the Coral Reef Breakthrough target and approximately 12% of reefs remaining on Earth.

With full capitalisation, the GFCR Coalition will aim to leverage up to $3 billion in public and private finance for the benefit of marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and economies.

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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