They are also the foundation of many cultures and contribute to the wellbeing of societies.
However, coral reefs face grave threats from pollution stemming from human activities － with illegal and destructive marine practices often driven by interrelated socio-economic challenges － as well as climate change. We could lose up to 90% of coral reefs by the end of the century if global temperature increases by 1.5°C, and almost all of them at 2°C or above. This would bring devastating impacts to not only nature, but also people.
The good news is that not all corals are as exposed to climate change. Some areas may not be warming as quickly as the average. A global analysis has revealed that some reefs are less vulnerable to climate change impacts. Almost 70% of these climate-resilient coral reefs are found in just seven countries: Cuba, Fiji, Indonesia, Madagascar, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania. Linked by ocean currents, these reefs are also important as a source of coral larvae and fish. Taken together, as a kind of portfolio, these reefs would have a high probability of surviving climate change while also being able to seed other reefs.
To help efforts to safeguard these globally significant coral reefs, WWF is leading the Coral Reef Rescue Initiative (CRRI), a global consortium of conservation and development organisations − including Blue Ventures, CARE International, Rare, University of Queensland, World Conservation Society and Vulcan, Inc. − who are working with governments and communities to:
- Improve the conservation and effective management of selected seascapes across Cuba, Fiji, Indonesia, Madagascar, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Tanzania through inclusive and equitable approaches
- Strengthen community resilience through diversified skills and livelihood opportunities to help build economic capacity in the face of climate change and other threats
- Create a global knowledge alliance that promotes access to information, as well as the sharing and use of knowledge to inform action.
- Advocate for investment in nature-based solutions and commitment on climate action