Landmark Egyptian Fund for Coral Reefs to leverage up to $50 m for sustainable blue economic transition

Landmark Egyptian Fund for Coral Reefs to leverage up to $50 m for sustainable blue economic transition
11 / 07 / 2024
By Marwa Nassar - -

A new Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) program, Egyptian Red Sea Initiative, aims to increase the protection of one of the longest-living and most resilient reef ecosystems in the world.

Supported by a major funding commitment from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), this initiative, in partnership with the Government of Egypt and the UN Development Program (UNDP), will establish a landmark Egyptian Fund for Coral Reefs to leverage up to $50 million in private and public funding for sustainable blue economic transition and conservation efforts.

Additional market-based solutions to be supported by a coral reef business incubator, include organic waste recycling for coastal farming, aquaculture to support ecosystem restoration, and mooring systems to avoid boat-related reef damage.

“The Egyptian Red Sea Initiative is a ground-breaking collaboration in blended finance to conserve Egypt’s coral reefs. USAID, in partnership with the Government of Egypt, international and local organisations, and private and non-profit donors and investors, is committed to safeguarding the Red Sea’s vital ecosystem and the communities it supports, while promoting economic growth and sustainable development for the Egyptian people,” said Sean Jones, Mission Director, USAID Egypt.

“Leveraging $25 million to scale up resilience efforts across coral nations is an incredible lift, and particularly for the newly launched program in Egypt’s Red Sea. I visited the Red Sea and the Ras Mohammed National Park in October 2022 with UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassador Ellie Goulding in the lead up to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The experience of seeing such a healthy reef was a defining and poignant moment for all of us, knowing it will almost certainly disappear, if we fail to invest in the resilience of this and other ecosystems like it,” said Leticia Carvalho, Head of Marine and Freshwater Branch of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and GFCR Executive Board Co-Chair.

The Egyptian Red Sea Initiative was part of GFCR announcements which included declaring over $25 million in additional grant funding to scale-up resilience efforts across coral nations.

“Without collective action at pace and scale, scientists estimate that 90% of remaining coral reefs may be lost by 2050, with dire consequences for the communities and economies they support. To face this crisis, the GFCR Coalition has established a robust portfolio of innovative, market-based solutions spanning 23 nations to protect critical coral reef refugia – Earth’s most resilient reef ecosystems,” said Peter Bryant, Builders Initiative’s Program Director for Oceans, and GFCR Executive Board Member.

“The new GFCR announcements, representing an increase of more than $25 million for resilience-based efforts, will aid the sustainable blue transition of local economies and unlock greater conservation funding flows for generations to come.”

As the leading global coral finance instrument, the GFCR aims to increase the protection and resilience of at least three million hectares of coral reefs globally by 2030 – representing 25 percent of the Coral Reef Breakthrough target and approximately 12% of reefs remaining on Earth. With full capitalization, the GFCR Coalition will aim to leverage up to $3 billion in public and private finance for the benefit of marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and economies.

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