Call to action to save corals - Areki
These were comments made by WWF-Pacific’s Conservation Director Francis Areki at the Building and Financing a Seascape/Landscape based Climate Adaptation Programme.
Speaking on the issue Coral Reefs of the Southwest Pacific Ecoregion: an international challenge, Areki highlighted that discussions amongst stakeholders is vital to empowering communities towards investing in coral reef protection for the purpose of food security, social and cultural wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
“We need to invest in coral reef protection where we can discuss on improving the management of coral systems in the Pacific,” he said.
He added a major concern faced by Pacific governments was the lack of sufficient data needed to guide adaptation opportunities that would enable island states to cope with change and bring about innovative ideas to saving coral reefs from bigger threats such as sedimentation and climate change.
“Data collection is a big problem in the Pacific simply because of the diversion of investment,” he said. The South Pacific is home to three of the longest continuous barrier reef systems in the region and these are the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the New Caledonian Barrier reef and Fiji‘s Great Sea Reef, all which are priority regions for WWF.
Areki added that under the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), Australia and France have been working consistently on raising the profile of coral reefs and the threats it faces, in their bid to push for concrete action and recognition at international platforms.
“To lose our coral reef system would mean a very precarious contribution to the loss of income not only at community level but also at national level in terms of fisheries,” he said.
Speaking on the importance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees Areki told stakeholders that decision makers need to take heed of the science. “If we go beyond two degrees Celsius, studies have shown that by the year 2050, if we continue as we currently do, over 9 per cent of our coral reefs will be dead and this is not something that we want to handover to our future generations,” Areki said.