Story | 12 Oct, 2021

Global Fund for Coral Reef partners with IUCN for climate-resilient coral reef conservation

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have joined forces, combining their mutually beneficial strengths to scale up reef conservation. 

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Photo: GFCR

Coral reefs are threatened by ocean warming and acidification, which is only growing in severity. The IUCN Red List shows that 33% of reef coral species are now facing extinction. This partnership attempts to address that decline, using the GFCR experience in finance, its strengths in project discovery and development, and IUCN’s deep understanding of conservation and Nature-based Solutions. The IUCN Global Standard for NbS, and multiple ongoing projects such as those in the Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility, show that this can work.” 

Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General

The partnership goal is climate resilient reef restoration  

The partners will look to achieving that goal by

  • Maximising climate resilient reef conservation and restoration by emphasising marine ecosystem restoration and maintenance, as well as sustainable and equitable use of the ocean´sresources;
  • Collaborating in the development of innovative financing mechanisms - including GFCR’s blended finance approach - to safeguard coral reefs and promote the establishment of inclusive and local community-centered, reef-positive businesses;  
  • Pursuing local entrepreneur and project developers for coral reef restoration on the ground, using the strong GFCR network of partners and existing project portfolio;
  • Drawing on IUCN’s vast network of members to engage in reef-restoration related activities, including most of the world’s national governments; 
  • Utilizing IUCN’s expertise in implementing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to reef conservation problems;
  • Applying both organizations’ experience in communications to bring awareness of coral reef conservation projects and finance to governments, media, and business.

To close the coral reef funding gap and propel solutions that reduce drivers of reef degradation, the GFCR recognises the importance of collaborating with actors like IUCN whose efforts are helping to build resilience and reverse the extinction trends of coral reefs.


Formed in 1948, the IUCN is a union composed of most of the world’s governments as well as a range of civil society and other organisations. IUCN works across key themes related to conservation, environmental and ecological issues. It draws on the experience, resources and reach of over 1,400 member organisations and 18,000 experts, whose breadth of knowledge and expertise makes IUCN a global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. This includes a body dedicated to coastal, marine and polar ecosystems.


Launched in September 2020, the GFCR is the first UN fund dedicated to SDG14 (Life Below Water) and the only global blended finance instrument devoted to coral reefs.

The Fund is driven by a coalition of private philanthropies, Member States, UN agencies, and impact investors with the aim to mobilize $625 million for coral reefs over the next 10 years.

The GFCR leverages grant funding to unlock reef-positive private sector investment in blue economy interventions that address drivers of reef degradation and facilitate blue recovery for local communities.