SIDS4 Side Event: Ocean Health, Human Wealth: The importance of coral reefs

Event date: 29 May 2024, 12:00 - 13:30 (Antigua and Barbuda Time)

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, UNDP and UNEP Cartagena Convention Secretariat and the Government of Belize are hosting this event on the side lines of SIDS4 on the theme 'Revitalising SIDS Economies for accelerated and sustainable growth'.


Room 5, American University of Antigua, College of Medicine, University Park, Jabberwock beach Road, Coolidge


To explore opportunities for economic diversification beyond traditional reef-based activities, to catalyse transformative change towards a more resilient, sustainable future for SIDS and coral reefs.


Coral reefs exist in more than 100 countries and territories, and support at least 25% of marine species; they are integral to sustaining Earth’s vast and interconnected web of marine biodiversity. More than one billion people, including vulnerable coastal communities, whose daily lives are inextricably linked with life below water, depend on healthy coral reefs. They are essential to the security, resilience, and climate adaptation of many of the most climate-vulnerable nations on Earth, with 94% of the population of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) residing within 100km of a coral reef. Coastal communities and SIDS are critical to the conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reefs with 30% of the Ocean’s natural and cultural resources under their custodianship.

Coral reefs provide ecosystem services valued up to $9.9 trillion annually and play a crucial role in SIDS in numerous ways: Economic Importance, Shoreline Protection, Food Security, Cultural and Traditional Values, Tourism Revenue and Biodiversity Hotspots. However, the safeguarding of these resources is becoming increasingly challenging due to the triple-planetary crises, especially in SIDS which are disproportionally vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Given the multifaceted importance of coral reefs for SIDS, conservation and sustainable management efforts are imperative. Collaborative initiatives involving governments, communities, NGOs, and international organisations are essential for safeguarding coral reefs and the myriad of benefits they provide to SIDS.

The event will be moderated by Fauna & Flora and explore opportunities for economic diversification beyond traditional reef-based activities, such as through the blue economy concept. By showcasing successful initiatives and sharing lessons learned, the event aims to catalyse transformative change towards a more resilient, and sustainable future for SIDS and their coral reef ecosystems.