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Shaping the future of climate adaptation
through Resilient Reefs

Climate change is today the biggest threat to coral reefs. Under a business-as-usual scenario, nearly 90% of the 29 World Heritage-listed coral reefs are expected to severely bleach twice-per-decade by 2040.

Resilient Reefs Initiative

Building resilience and adaptation

is an essential component of the long-term response to climate change. It requires looking at ecosystems and communities holistically and securing the active and sustained engagement of stakeholders across the private and public sectors.

With the help of an international consortium of partners, four World-Heritage listed coral reefs and their local communities have embarked on a leading-edge approach to develop new solutions for adapting to the effects of climate change and local threats.

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What is Reef Resilience?

The capacity of reef ecosystems and the individuals, businesses and communities that depend upon them to survive, adapt and recover from the stresses and shocks that they experience. By building resilience, we are strengthening the ability of reef communities to prepare for and recover quickly from disturbances, adapt to changing circumstances and plan for an uncertain future.

Resilient Reefs Factsheet

Resilient Reefs Highlights

Tribal leaders sign turtle management agreement in New Caledonia

The Journée de la Tortue event on 8 July 2021 resulted in the historic signing of co-management agreements by eight tribes within the Isle of Pines region of New Caledonia. These agreements are a first for New Caledonia and will go a long way towards reconciling the importance of maintaining traditional customs with the critical need to protect and preserve the green turtle population.

Resilient Reefs launches in Belize to strengthen climate adaptation

Following in the footsteps of the CROs at the Ningaloo Coast (Australia) and the Lagoons of New Caledonia (France), Ms. Kalene Eck, the newly appointed CRO in Belize, will be tasked with the development of a stakeholder-led climate resilience strategy. The Strategy, once implemented, will allow both nature and people to thrive and help secure the preservation of the site’s Outstanding Universal Value.

Resilient Reefs launches first economic valuation at Ningaloo Coast

The World Heritage-Listed Ningaloo Coast generates more than 1000 jobs for its local community and contributes over AU$100 million to the economy of Western Australia. The economic valuation is the first major milestone toward the design of a climate change adaptation strategy at World Heritage-Listed coral reefs as part of the global Resilient Reefs Initiative.

Resilient Reefs presents novel climate approach at UNFCCC

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.

Key pathways
to concrete solutions

Focus on impact

The iniitative provides financial support, capacity building and technical expertise to assist the selected coral reefs to change the way they understand climate risks and vulnerability and design adaptation strategies. Impact is delivered through innovation and by amplifying work already done on the ground.

Resilience solutions

Implementation is at the heart of the initiative. Once the resilience strategy is in place, funding and expertise is focused on implementing solutions critical to strengthen the resilience of communities and ecosystems.

Building local leadership

The initiative supports the hiring of a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) to strengthen local management teams at each site. The CRO galvanizes support across private entites, public sectors and local communities to collectively build a resilience strategy that works for both people and nature.

Global influence

Through a series of exchanges and sharing of best practices, the initative builds expertise at other coral reefs across the globa toward a holistic approach to resilience and adaptation in which both people and nature thrive.

With thanks to our partners

Initiated by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Resilient Reefs initiative is a six-year AUD$14 million (approximately USD$10.5 million at the time of writing) collaboration between the Nature Conservancy's Reef Resilience Network, the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes at Columbia University, the Resilient Cities Catalyst, UNESCO and AECOM. The program is supported by the BHP Foundation.

Photos: © Joel Johnsson/DBCA, © La Zona/Shutterstock.com, Palau: © Brian Sullivan, New Caledonia: © Martial Dosdane - province sud,
Belize: © David Doubilet/National Geographic Stock, Australia: © Sean Steininger/Shutterstock.com, © Joel Johnsson/DBCA