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Global Fund for Coral Reefs announces inaugural funding for coral reef conservation and restoration


The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) is pleased to announce that Germany, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation have made commitments to the fund totaling more than USD$10 million. These contributions, announced during the first GFCR Executive Board meeting this week, mark the launch of a fundraising campaign that will culminate at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. 

Coral reefs, which support an estimated one billion people worldwide, are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. It is estimated that more than half the world’s coral reefs have been lost due to climate change, over-fishing and growing local pressures. Coral reef decline, however, can be reversed by acting with urgency to implement proven projects at scale.  

"Coral reefs are one of the habitats most threatened by climate change. They make an important contribution to the biodiversity of our planet and to coastal protection,” said Dr. Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. “The Global Fund for Coral Reefs is an important step towards protecting these ecosystems.”  

The GFCR is a blended finance mechanism that will use public and philanthropic funding to catalyze private investments in coral reef conservation and restoration. These initial contributions will be used to operationalize the fund, develop a pipeline of investable projects, and implement promising early projects.  

The GFCR Executive Board reviewed and provided initial direction on programming priorities during its inaugural meeting that concluded January 28.  

Conceptualized at a workshop in 2018 hosted by the Principality of Monaco and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the GFCR has since grown into a global partnership that includes Member States (Germany), philanthropy (Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation); UN Agencies (UNDP, UNEP and UNCDF) and financial institutions (BNP Paribas and Mirova). 

“We are pleased to be joining this world-class, public-private partnership to change the trajectory of the coral reef crisis,” said Paul Keating, head of philanthropy, Vulcan Inc., on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “This smart blended finance approach allows governments, philanthropy and private investors to work together to achieve a common objective: sustainable coral reef conservation.” 

Administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, the GFCR is the first United Nations trust fund specifically focused on Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“Life Below Water”) and the first global blended finance instrument dedicated to coral reefs. The fund responds to the “coral reef funding gap” and fragmentation of funding for coral reef conservation and restoration projects. 

“Home to 25% of marine life and essential to a billion people worldwide, protecting coral reefs is critical to the survival of the planet,” said Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. “These ecosystems face unprecedent threats and significant loss. Without urgent action and rapid mobilization of financial resources, coral reefs will experience even greater collapse.”  

The GFCR is expected to mobilize US$125 million through grants and US$375 million of financing assets, that together will unlock more than two billion dollars in coral reef investments. The fund will demonstrate how a blended finance approach can mobilize resources to support coral reef-dependent communities.   

“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,” stated Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

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