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Resilient Reefs presents novel climate approach at G20 Working Group

Wednesday, 5 August 2020
access_time 2 min read
Brain and tube corals of the Great Blue Hole, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System © Jean-Marc Kuffer | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Resilient Reefs introduced its bold, inclusive approach to climate adaptation at the first G20 International Working Group on Coral Reef Conservation in July 2020. Reef Resilience is a new approach to marine conservation being piloted across five UNESCO-listed World Heritage sites, and backed by a global private-public consortium.

The working group, held by videoconference and hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia G20 Presidency, brought together prominent scientists, delegates and decision makers in an effort to define global priorities for the sustainable management of coral reefs in the lead up to the G20 Leader Summit that will be hosted by the Kingdom in the second half of 2020.

The futures of the world’s ecological and human systems are now deeply interconnected. Protecting nature means protecting people. The challenges are huge, but we can chart a path to a more equitable and sustainable human future by working in synergy with natural systems.

Resilient Reefs is a new direction in marine conservation that addresses the long-term interconnected needs of people, wildlife and planet, equipping them to thrive through challenging times where the future is uncertain. The four-year initiative is being piloted at five UNESCO World Heritage coral reefs in Palau, Australia, Belize and France, and aims to create deep structural change in the way communities plan for and adapt to the new realities brought on by climate change.

Through the strategic hiring of local Chief Resilient Officers, the project identifies risks and threats to people, livelihoods and the marine ecosystem, then develops an agreed vision for a sustainable and achievable future, and makes a plan for how to get there. The project funds help to deliver ambitious systemic change, scaling up and accelerating the implementation of adaptation solutions.

By taking a macro, holistic view of the reefs’ specific ecosystem and community who depend on it, Resilient Reefs draws on existing expertise, social, economic and cultural concerns to convene, negotiate and navigate a future for all. Through its day-to-day, bottom-up approach, it provides local people hope and agency over their future, and the ability to adapt to the inevitable changes that lay ahead.

Reef Resilience is a collaboration between the BHP and Great Barrier Reef Foundations, The Nature Conservancy, Columbia University’s Centre for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, Resilient Cities Catalyst, the consultancy firm AECOM and UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme.

The Group of Twenty, or G20, is a premier forum for international cooperation. It brings together the leaders of both developed and developing nations to engage in high-level discussions on global financial, socio-economic and development issues. The Group collectively represents about 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of global population and three-quarters of international trade. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia assumes the 2020 G20 Presidency.