The United Nations Foundation and International Coral Reef Action Network announced today the launch of the Coral Reef Fund to help protect and manage the more than 110,000 square miles of coral reef that are damaged or threatened around the world.
“Coral reefs are vital to our planet’s health. They are home to more than a million species of plants and animals, and help sustain millions of communities by providing food, employment and protection from coastal erosion and ocean storms,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation. “Unfortunately, 60 percent of coral reefs are already endangered or under threat.”
The UN Foundation is matching dollar-for-dollar a $250,000 contribution from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. The UN Foundation will match any additional contributions over $250,000 made by other organizations and individuals. “Establishment of the Coral Reef Fund is a critical link in the efforts to save valuable reef around the world from destruction,” said Richard Goldman, President and Founder of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. “Our foundation is proud to provide the first grant launching this fund.”
“ICRAN will use these funds to ensure that coral reefs are protected and well managed for generations to come,” said Richard Kenchington, Chairman of the Board at ICRAN. According to Kenchington, “the health and biodiversity of coral reefs are critical to the cultural values and economic livelihoods of millions of people who depend on coral reefs and other coastal environments.”
About 20 percent of the world’s population relies mainly on coral reefs for food. One square kilometer of healthy coral reef can produce 15 tons of food per year – enough for more than 1,000 people. Recent estimates indicate that coral reefs provide nearly $30 billion to local economies through goods and services, including tourism, fisheries and pharmaceuticals.
Working with local and indigenous communities, ICRAN will promote environmentally responsible activities near reefs, including eco-friendly tourism and sustainable marine fishing, and will also provide funding to monitor threatened reefs. The Coral Reef Fund will also promote opportunities for creating jobs, training and educating communities, and exchanging ideas and knowledge on reef management to ensure the future of these ecosystems.
The UN Foundation and ICRAN have created a website, www.coralreeffund.org, where visitors can learn about the global status of coral reefs, read more about ICRAN’s work and donate to the Coral Reef Fund. 100 percent of all donations will be directed to the Fund.
The United Nations Foundation (www.unfoundation.org) was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist R.E. Turner’s historic gift to support UN causes. The United Nations Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the United Nations and its Charter. Through its grantmaking and by building new and innovative models of partnerships, the United Nations Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Founded in 1951, the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund is a private, charitable, family foundation reflecting the founders’ long-term commitment to support nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Fund is interested in supporting programs that will have a positive impact in an array of fields.
ICRAN (www.icran.org) is a strategic alliance acting worldwide to address the management needs of coral reef ecosystems and their relationship to the communities that depend on them. ICRAN operates by sharing and building traditional knowledge, current research, and the lessons of practical experiences to strengthen reef management through peer-to-peer communication.