South Asia

Countries & territories included

Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Chagos Archipelago.


Ms. Rokeya Khaton
Director General
South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)

Regional Context

Importance of coral reefs

The South Asia region is one of the smaller GCRMN regions in terms of area of coral reefs, accounting for only 4.2 % (10,949 km2) of global area of coral reefs.

Despite its relatively small area, South Asia contains a wide variety of coral reef habitats that vary significantly in reef structure, biodiversity, proximity to continents, and anthropogenic impacts. Coastal communities throughout the region are directly dependent on reef resources. 


The South Asia Coral Reef Task Force (SACRTF) was launched in July 2007. The establishment of SACRTF was endorsed at the 10th Meeting of the Governing Council of SACEP held in 2007 and the progress was reported at the 4IMM-SASP held on 22 May 2008 in Jaipur, India. The aim of the SACRTF was to facilitate and coordinate management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems at a national level, and to promote collaborative action at the regional level, encouraging synergies for trans-boundary responses to shared environmental challenges and raising the political and public profile of coral reef related issues in the SAS region.

SACEP and International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) negotiating a collaboration to revitalise the SACRTF by linking to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN).

Keys numbers


Total area of coral reefs (km2)


Proportion of the world’s coral reefs


Countries with coral reefs


Marine Ecoregions of the World (MEOW) (i)

(i) Marine Ecoregions of the World (MEOW) is a biogeographic classification of the world’s coasts and shelves (Spalding et al., 2007).

Key figures from the 2020 report

Hard coral cover

Algae cover


  • 2020: SACEP/SASP participated and presented the South Asia Coral Reef analysis information to ICRI/GCRMN at the Regional Workshop for SAS Region on Regional Data Analysis of Coral Reef Monitoring during 28-29 January 2020 held in Malé, Maldives and also discussed on the reactivation of the SACRTF.
  • 2020: The Ecosystems Integration Branch of UNEP invited SACEP/SASP to the Project Steering Committee Meeting of the Global Coral Reef Partnership held on 18 November 2020. The aim of the meeting was to breathe new life into the Partnership to help secure a future with coral reefs for people and planet. SACEP/SASP presented an analysis on the status of corals in the SAS region and shared the major Gaps, Challenges and Constraints.
  • 2022: In the GCRMN Steering Committee Meeting held on March 22nd 2022, a discussion was held to consider the renewal of Terms of Reference, Work plan, Communications Strategy and Collaboration with the GCRMN and ICRI. The meeting also recommended to reach out to individual Regional Seas for more, in-depth conversations on collaboration based on the work plan. Under the proposed work plan, the SACRTF will be activated and also will revitalize the Global Coral Partnership that will bring the opportunity to engage with multi-lateral partners.
Fabrice Dudenhofer | Ocean Image Bank
Fabrice Dudenhofer | Ocean Image Bank


Regional reports and guidelines from South Asia.