Global societal priorities

Photo credit: Wojtek Meczynski

In the United Nations (UN) Environment Assembly resolution 2/12 on coral reefs, UN member states recognised the importance of the GCRMN, and called on the UN Environment to“support further development of coral reef indicators, regional coral reef assessments and preparation of a global report through GCRMN”.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) membership adopted a resolution at the 31st ICRI General Meeting, requesting the ICRI Secretariat and UN Environment to“develop and initiate implementation of a roadmap for strengthening GCRMN”. The importance of GCRMN was also recognised at the Ocean Conference, New York, 5th-9th June 2017.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): under SDG 14, to “conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources“. Key targets include: 14.2 – to sustainably manage and protect ecosystems and strengthen resilience; 14.3 – to minimize and address impacts of ocean acidification; and 14.5 – to place 10% of coral reefs under effective management regimes. Monitoring coral reefs is also of relevance to other linked SD goals.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): the focus of Aichi Target 10 on coral reefs as flagship ecosystems for climate vulnerability and the CBD Conference of Parties (CoP) decision XII/23(adopted in Pyeongchang, Democratic Republic of Korea, in October 2014) provides a policy linkage from attributing reef decline to the relevant stressors to action reducing drivers of decline.

GCRMN relevance to global goals and targets

GCRMN data and reporting is particularly relevant in relation to SDG 14. “conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources”. Targets: 14.2 – sustainably manage and protect ecosystems and strengthen resilience; 14.3 – minimize and address impacts of ocean acidification, and 14.a – increase scientific knowledge and capacity.

It is also of relevance to:

  • SDG 1, especially target 1.5 – building resilience and reducing exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events, environmental shocks and disasters;
  • SDG 2, especially target 2.4 – sustainable food production systems;
  • SDG 8 especially targets 8.4 – resource efficiency in consumption and production and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation; and 8.9 – sustainable tourism;
  • SDG 12, especially targets 12.2 – sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources;
  • SDG 13, especially targets 13.1 – strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters and 13.2 – integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Coral reefs provide an indicator system for climate change as well as ocean acidification impacts, and progress in addressing climate change. GCRMN reporting is thus of relevance in the context of adaptation and mitigation planning at multiple levels and can guide management that builds resilience.