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SUSTAINABLE FINANCE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC PROTECTING AND RESTORING CORAL REEFS

Oceans cover over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. Despite this vast expanse, coral reefs, found in less than 1% of the ocean, support approximately one-quarter of all marine species. However, in the past 30 years, scientists estimate that we have lost over 50% of coral reefs, with roughly 75% of the world’s remaining coral reefs now threatened. In the Asia-Pacific region, the situation is even more severe, with over 85% of remaining coral reefs under threat.

As the global population surpasses 8 billion, the demand for food, energy, and water is escalating, exerting increased pressure on the oceans and coral reefs. Concurrently, climate change is warming the oceans, intensifying storms, and causing more frequent floods.

With over 150 million people living on or near coral reefs in Asia and the Pacific, the combined impacts of coral reef loss, population growth, and climate change are affecting food security, livelihoods, and safety. Coral reefs provide vital ecosystem services to these communities, including a source of protein, income, and protection from erosion by dissipating wave energy during storms. Immediate action is imperative to protect coastal towns and cities, safeguard coastal livelihoods, and mitigate the risks posed by climate change.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are dedicated to identifying innovative strategies to effectively protect and restore critical ecosystems, such as coral reefs, in Asia and the Pacific. Given the substantial funding and capacity required to protect and restore coral reefs, a collaborative approach is essential. The solution demands creative thinking and must encompass diverse and multifaceted approaches.

Given the urgency of the crisis, there is a pressing need to invest in identifying and developing innovative financial instruments. This report aims to generate momentum and raise awareness about the plethora of potential opportunities to finance the much-needed protection and restoration of coral reef ecosystems in Asia and the Pacific.

The collaboration between ADB and TNC, which commenced in 2021, represents one facet of their partnership. It is grounded in a shared commitment to promote nature-positive investments, environmental sustainability, and action on climate change across this unique region.

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