Reefscapers Declaration at COP28:
Coral Reefs for Climate Action
In the crucial fight against climate change, the upcoming COP28 summit offers a unique chance for global leaders to act decisively in safeguarding our oceans and their vital ecosystems. The COP28 presidency rightly underscores the centrality of nature in negotiations, recognizing the oceans’ pivotal role in combating climate change. As the world nears 1.5°C, coral reefs, essential to our oceans’ health, face imminent danger and with it hundreds of millions of people in coastal communities that depend on them for their livelihoods are threatened.
In our capacity as a leading coral restoration pioneer, Reefscapers has played an integral role in climate action by restoring over 500,000 corals in the Maldives. Through our work, we have borne witness to the profound impact of climate change on one of the ocean’s most vulnerable yet pivotal life forms: the coral reefs.
Reefscapers Maldives strongly urges world leaders to prioritize the following initiatives during COP28:
1. Integrate Coral Reefs into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs):
We call upon leaders to enhance the capacity of island nations and developing countries to incorporate methodologies accounting for the essential role of coral reefs in NDCs. Recognizing the significance of coral reefs in climate stabilization and adaptation plans is imperative.
2. Scale Up Finance for the Blue Economy in Coral Restoration:
We implore nations to significantly increase financial commitments for the blue economy, with a specific focus on coral restoration. It is crucial for businesses to recognize the urgency of decarbonization and investment in sustainable practices. The current investment in SDG 14 is disproportionately low, considering the ocean’s substantial role in addressing climate change. The blue economy should serve as a platform to amplify successful climate action efforts, particularly in coral restoration.
3. Accelerate Scientific Research, Develop Capacity, and Technology in Island Nations for Coral Resilience:
We call on the UN commitment established during the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to ensure ocean science supports countries in creating improved conditions for the sustainable development of the ocean. Urgent scientific research and technology development programs are needed to enhance the resilience of coral reefs. This effort should be a collaborative endeavor, with a special emphasis on leadership from locals in islands and coastal communities. Developing capacity among island nations, such as the Maldives, is a key component to achieving sustainability and effective use of scientific efforts for sustainable development and climate action.
The fate of our oceans is intricately linked to the health of coral ecosystems, and it is our shared responsibility to act decisively to tackle climate change and ensure their preservation for current and future generations.