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Resilient Reefs presents novel climate approach at UNFCCC

Thursday, 3 December 2020
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UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue

Resilient Reefs introduced its bold, inclusive approach to climate adaptation at the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue in December 2020. The Resilient Reefs Initiative 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 Dialogue, held by videoconference, brought together over 500 participants from UNFCCC Parties and non-Party stakeholder groups to discuss how to strengthen climate adaptation and mitigation action through ocean conservation. The meeting drew upon the knowledge and scientific findings from IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. 

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. The first climate adaptation strategies are expected in 2021.

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.

The Dialogue was convened by the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the UNFCCC. SBSTA provides timely information and advice on scientific and technological matters as they relate to the UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The Resilient Reefs Initiative is implemented through a global, private-public consortium of partners that is led by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy's Reef Resilience Network, Columbia University's Centre for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, Resilient Cities Catalyst, UNESCO and the global consultancy AECOM.