New grants support conservation and restoration of marine habitats

Coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses are crucial for life above and below water. These aquatic habitats do everything from house fish, to store carbon to protect communities from storm surges.

But all three are under threat from a combination of climate change, coastal development and pollution.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) have launched a grant programme that will provide US$80,000 to projects that support the conservation of these three marine habitats.

The grants will focus on initiatives that lead to the “sustainable management and protection of vulnerable marine and coastal ecosystems,” said Gabriel Grimsditch, UNEP Programme Management Officer.

In many parts of the world, marine habitats are under siege. In the last 30 years the planet has lost up to 50 per cent of its coral reefs and many more of these wildlife-rich ecosystems remain under threat from climate change.

The new grants build on an initiative launched in 2017, the Small Grants Programme. Under that drive, five projects received grants of up to US$60,000. These projects were selected for their “clear aim” to protect coral reefs and related ecosystems from climate change, said Grimsditch.

The first project developed spatial information layers for climate change vulnerability and anthropogenic stress. The information was then incorporated into conservation planning for the Sabah and Terengganu states in Malaysia. Read more…

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