The Prince of Wales has announced a global call to action to save coral reefs.
His call to action marks the start of the International Year of the Reef campaign, a multi-government and NGO initiative led by the International Coral Reef Initiative in collaboration with the UN Environment Progamme.
Speaking at a gathering of some of the world’s leading coral reef experts and advocates in London, organized by The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit, Prince Charles said, “There can be no doubt that we are at a critical tipping point, where we will either ensure or fatally compromise our ability to safeguard the world’s coral reefs and the species that will support future generations of humans and countless other species.”
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has named coral reefs as one of the life-support systems essential for our own survival. Found around coastlines in the tropics, coral reefs provide homes for about a third of all fish species on Earth and numerous other marine organisms.
Coral reefs actually are communities of hundreds of thousands of tiny animals called coral polyps, which grow in sunlit shallows of warm, clear marine waters. The reefs are built up as new corals attach atop the skeletons of dead animals.
Reefs are physically as well as biologically important, and they also have a significant economic role in the world as well. According to the IUNC website “coral reefs, along with seagrass beds, mangrove habitats and other tropical marine environments, support the highest marine biodiversity in the world. More than 500 million people worldwide depend on them for food, storm protection, jobs, and recreation. Their resources and services are worth an estimated 375 billion dollars each year, yet they cover less than 1% of the Earth’s surface.”
Unfortunately, these complex and fragile ecosystems are deteriorating at an alarming rate worldwide.
Speaking at the campaign launch Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment said, “We are at a critical juncture for the future of the world’s coral reefs. For too long we have been taking much more from them than we have given back. Now climate change and ocean acidification also threaten their very existence. These underwater ecosystems sustain a quarter of all marine life and gift more than half a billion-people essential food and livelihoods, yet we have already allowed up to 50 percent of the world’s coral reefs to die. The International Year of the Reef is the springboard for galvanizing urgent global action to turn this coral reef crisis around.”
When speaking about the global campaign Xavier Sticker, French Ambassador for the Environment said, “2018 has been designated by ICRI as the International Year of the Reef. This is a great opportunity to draw attention to the condition of coral reefs and to step up efforts to save them. Action is our watchword for this year and beyond. We are committed to work as a team to make a difference to coral reef conservation.”
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between nations and organizations. It strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.
Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.The Initiative was founded in 1994 by eight governments: Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and USA. ICRI now counts more than 60 members.
Link to original press release: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/prince-wales-announces-global-call-action-international-year-reef
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