Reefs at Risk was the first global, quantitative assessment of threats to coral reefs ever conducted. Released in 1998, Reefs at Risk confirmed that coral reefs are seriously threatened in most parts of the world, and called for global action.
Reefs at Risk used an innovative approach to locate and map coral reefs at highest risk, to help guide conservation efforts, and clearly establish the link between human activities and coral reef condition. As such, it had an instant and global impact in the media.
The year 2008, the International Year of the Reef, will mark a decade since the original Reefs at Risk analysis was released. The past ten years have been a time of dramatic change for the world’s coral reefs, and in that time, despite promising research, conservation and policy efforts, we have witnessed an unprecedented decline in these fragile ecosystems.
Climate change and its effects are now high on political agendas. Natural disasters have called attention to the critical link between marine ecosystems and the safety of our shorelines and coastal populations. Countries have begun to link ecosystem health with poverty and are looking at their coral reef assets as a source of wealth and long-term prosperity.
More information is needed to guide action, and given the mass appeal and impact of the Reefs at Risk approach, the time is right to revisit the global analysis and provide the information needed to help organise a global response. ICRAN has joined forces with the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and other partners to update the global Reefs at Risk – Reefs at Risk +10.
Work has begun to revisit the global Reefs at Risk analysis and provide the information needed to help organise a global response to the plight of coral reefs. ICRAN has joined forces with the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and other partners to update the global Reefs at Risk – Reefs at Risk +10. This is building on previous work while incorporating such elements as climate change and its effects which are now high on political agendas. The analysis will also consider natural disasters, calling the attention to the critical link between marine ecosystems and the safety of our shorelines and coastal populations; and will examine the linkages between ecosystem health and poverty.
Call for Case Studies
One of the activities under the Reefs at Risk Revisited project is to develop some interesting stories of both healthy and threatened reefs that highlight impacts and successes from around the world.
The threatened reef stories will help to bring home points and provide memorable examples – examples where coastal development has caused problems; examples where runoff from agriculture has damaged the reef; examples where over fishing resulted in significant change in coral cover, locations of blast fishing, etc.
The healthy reef stories will serve to highlight those that are showing natural resilience, and others that showcase successful management interventions that have served to reverse the decline in coral reef ecosystems. The signs of promise are important to show all is not lost, and to provide some examples which give us hope.
Does your organisation have stories that you would like to share? Are you able to identify a location that you are familiar with, or suggest individuals who may be able to provide a case study that would fulfill the above objectives? If so, please contact Terri Young on firstname.lastname@example.org.