16 Nov 2018 - UN NEWS - Sounding the alarm about the urgent need to protect coral reefs from extinction within decades, a new coalition of organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was launched on Wednesday in Egypt during the UN Biodiversity Conference, to galvanize global leadership before it is too late.
“It’s clear to anyone who puts their head below the waves that the fate of the world’s coral reefs is hanging in the balance,” said UNEP chief Erik Solheim. “At the moment these undersea explosions of colour and life face an extremely bleak future.”
Coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people around the world, support more than a quarter of all marine life, and protect communities and coastlines from natural disasters — and if urgent action is not taken, they could be lost forever.
Eight international organisations have joined forces to advocate for decisive action to protect these natural wonders: UNEP, the International Coral Reef Initiative, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Vulcan Inc., the Ocean Agency, and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
“The expectations for this coalition could not be higher. Coral reef protection must become a global priority. Coral reefs need a better deal,” said Mr. Solheim, who unveiled the new partnership in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Dozens of ministers whose countries are party to the CBD are gathering there, together with experts and representatives of civil society organisations, to start a two-year process to adopt a global framework for protecting biodiversity, including coral reefs, around the world.
The conference, which opened on Tuesday and will continue until 29 November 2018, is a platform for decision-makers from more than 190 countries to make commitments and step up efforts to halt the biodiversity loss and protect the ecosystems that support health, and food and water security for billions of people worldwide.
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