The project to protect threatened marine ecosystems received a $4.5-million Grant
from the Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, the World Bank said that its board of executive directors approved the funding to support the capturing coral reef and related ecosystem services project, which focuses on Indonesia and the Philippines.
The regional project will design innovative models for valuing mangrove, sea grass and coral reef ecosystems services, to inform policy and decision-making for improved environmental stewardship of these critical resources.
“Capturing the economic and cultural values of marine natural capital through the valuation of ecosystem services, and quantifying the cost of lost services due to environmental degradation, has enormous potential,” said Marea Hatziolos, senior environmental specialist and the World Bank’s team leader for the project.
“We can transform the development and stewardship of coastal areas by translating ecological value into financial terms for local stakeholders and policy makers,” she added.
The project focuses on Indonesia and the Philippines, where coral reefs and related
ecosystem services are critical to livelihoods, food security and climate resilience.
It will also include activities to quantify the value and market potential of coral reef and mangrove ecosystem services; forge community-led innovation in capturing and sustaining benefits from marine eco-system services and enhancing resilience in the face of climate change; and promote behavior change through outreach and widely disseminate scientific information to inform policy- and decision-making.
Coastal and marine resources and their associated ecosystem services in the region are linked to globally important marine biodiversity, and underpin an enormous part of the regional economy.
“This wealth of natural capital has the potential to be a major driver of inclusive green growth in the region, if we overcome some huge challenges. We especially need better resource governance regimes, measures to adequately value the environment for current and future generations when calculating economic benefits, and good scientific information to inform decision making and tradeoffs,” Hatziolos added.
The world’s biodiversity epicenter lies within the Coral Triangle—an area that extends from the northern Philippines to Malaysia in the west, East Timor to the South, Eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to the East, and trailing off to the Solomon Islands toward the Southeast.
Here, coral reefs are most abundant and diverse and support large populations of people who are highly dependent on coral reef fisheries for the livelihoods and food security.
In the Western and Central Pacific, healthy coral reefs and mangroves form the first critical line of defense against storm surge and sea-level rise for low-lying islands and atolls.
The GEF grant will be administered by the Global Change Institute of the University of Queensland.
The University is contributing $2 million in additional financing and research partners will provide another $3.9 million in contributions.
An additional $21.9 million in parallel co-financing is provided by World Bank-financed projects: the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program-Coral Triangle Initiative in Indonesia and the Rural Development Project in the Philippines.
James Konstantin Galvez