Launch of the coral reef life declaration by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
St Julian, Malta 5 October, 2017. On the opening day of the Our Ocean conference today, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was joined by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, and by the Heads of State and Government, Ministers and High Level representatives of 12 countries signatory to the CORAL REEF LIFE DECLARATION,[i] a joint statement facilitated by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
The meeting was held to celebrate the importance of coral reef ecosystems as key indicators of ocean and planetary health. The countries that have signed the declaration on the invitation of Monaco have all in common a significant coral reef cover in waters within their national jurisdiction, and they recognize their environmental, economic, social and cultural values.
In the non-binding Coral Reef Life Declaration, they agree to:
- Submit, as part of their Paris Agreement commitments, nationally determined contributions that promote the ambitious climate action required to avoid damaging coral reefs any further and to help, through protection and conservation, reef-dependent people to adapt and increase ecological resilience to climate change.
- Accordingly, they encourage the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to highlight the role and fate of coral reef ecosystems and to explore and promote solutions.
- They also pledge to promote high-level multidisciplinary research and to support local and regional adaptation and management strategies, and aim to develop environmentally sustainable business models that promote the health of coral reefs and reduce coral-related investment risks, as well as identify and promote the financial benefits of investing in coral reefs as assets of a sustainable blue economy.
The health of coral reefs maintains some of the richest biodiversity on our planet, and thus sustains the irreplaceable culture and livelihoods of coral reef peoples. They host in less than 0.2% of the total surface of the ocean no less than 30% of the species of marine life known to date, and can generate 5 to 15 tons of fish per square kilometre each year. As such, coral reefs represent a trillion dollar asset at the very least, with benefits for hundreds of millions of vulnerable coastal people all over the world. Healthy coral reef ecosystems reduce 97% of wave energy and act as barriers to storms, prevent catastrophic erosion, flooding and destruction. Globally they generate annual revenues of USD36 billion in coral reef-related tourism.
But coral reefs and the peoples whose livelihoods depend on them are increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts and ocean acidification, temperature-related coral bleaching and mortality events, rising sea level, flooding and storms of unparalleled destructive strength and frequency, increasing reef erosion, overfishing, eutrophication, sedimentation and pollution.
[i] The Coral Reef Life Declaration was signed by the following countries (alphabetic order): Australia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Grenada, Indonesia, Mexico, Monaco, Niue, Palau, Seychelles.