Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Ambassador Satyendra Prasad joined UN leaders in calling for the generous support to the new Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR).
The Fund, a first of its kind was launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly on 16th September to mobilise financial support. The GFCR is a financial instrument that brings together Government and private finance for implementing programs that seek to build the resilience of coral reefs.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) are the leading UN organisations to administer and drive the scaling up of programs and projects that are financed through the GFCR across the world.
Addressing the launch event, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Prasad said that the GFCR was a “far reaching innovation bringing blue finance on scale to the task of protecting and conserving coral reefs in Fiji, the Pacific Islands and beyond”.
Ambassador Prasad told the UN and development community audience that the GFCR provides an important source of funding to “bring scientists, coastal communities, oceans stakeholders together to address the challenges of degradation of our reefs; protection of marine biodiversity and in accessing larger funds for on-shore activities such as waste management, reducing fertiliser and pesticide use on land”.
The larger funds needed for these “on shore activities that impact on ocean and reef health are often beyond the means of many small island developing states”.
The Global Fund for Coral Reefs “can be catalytic in helping countries like Fiji access large private sector funds that are needed for waste management, water systems”.
The Global Fund for Coral Reefs has been financially supported by Prince Albert 11 of Monaco through his family foundation and other philanthropists and donors.
At the launch of the Fund, His Royal Highness Prince Albert 11 of Monaco informed the global audience that “20-50 percent of the World’s coral reefs face a high level of vulnerability because of greenhouse gases and warming oceans”.
Ambassador Prasad thanked His Royal Highness Prince Albert 11 of Monaco who through his family foundation has provided support for establishing the Fund. HRH Prince Albert is a long time champion of ocean health and marine conservation.
He said in his remarks, that small developing states “host some 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs and they often face the most difficult challenges in accessing resources and the knowhow for this”. Simon Dent, the Director of the Sustainable Oceans Fund Althelia also welcomed the launch and expressed the support of Althelia Funds for coral reef resilience in Fiji and across the World through the Fund. The Fund is supporting the design of new investment programs for Fiji that will be “focused on working with communities to protect turtles; improve fisheries management in coastal communities, developing more sustainable farming practices that reduce the need for pesticides and weedicides”. Ambassador Prasad said that Fiji has recently announced its plans to “develop Savusavu as a Blue Town – a concept where forestry conservation, mangrove protection, reef management and coastal infrastructures which will be brought together in a unique approach to sustainable development.” He reminded the global audience that the “Great Sea Reef is one of the largest tropical reef systems in the world; highly vulnerable to climate change and vulnerable because of human activities both on land and in the sea”. UK’s Minister for Pacific Islands Lord Zac Goldsmith said the UK Government will provide long term support to the fund and gave a commitment to expanding the Marine Protected Areas in the UK’s overseas maritime territories. UN’s Special Envoy on Oceans, Peter Thompson also joined the call to the international community to extend its support to the Fund and said it was the first dedicated financing instrument available to countries like Fiji that can be used specifically for building resilience of coral reef systems.