US Pledges $15 Million USD for Egyptian Red Sea and GFCR Announces Awards for Programmes in 7 Coral

Day three of 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), witnessed representatives of philanthropies, UN Agencies, state governments, and impact investors convene to launch new resilience-focused actions for coral reefs and coastal communities. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed up to $15 million USD to scale coral reef-positive blue economic growth and conservation finance in the Egyptian Red Sea in partnership with the GFCR. The Egypt component was announced as part of a wider regional programmatic approach, led by the United Nations Development Programme, aiming to unlock a minimum of $50 million USD in blended finance.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is proud to be part of the groundbreaking Global Fund for Coral Reefs initiative, which is mobilizing new action by countries and communities to protect and restore coral reefs across the world, some of Earth’s most diverse and delicate ecosystems,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “In the face of an intensifying climate crisis, USAID’s investment in the Red Sea Initiative will help to drive a nature-positive economic transition while boosting the climate resilience of coastal communities in Egypt — demonstrating that change is possible when leadership, political will, and investment comes together.”

Given their unique potential to withstand rising temperatures due to climate change, coral reefs in the Northern Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba have been identified as potentially the most resilient on Earth. USAID Chief Climate Officer Gillian Caldwell stated: “The Red Sea is home to a rich underwater ecosystem that attracts millions of tourists who create millions of jobs for Egyptians and bring in billions in foreign currency each year. In partnership with the Government of Egypt, as well as the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, USAID is pleased to launch the Red Sea Initiative to support the resilience of Egyptian Red Sea communities and their reef ecosystems.”

Through USAID’s contribution to GFCR, the US Government joins a growing public-private coalition dedicated to accelerating coral reef-positive economic growth and sustainable conservation funding.

COP27’s premiere action-focused coral reef side event also served to launch the Colombia Seaflower Biosphere programme. Through blended finance, the GFCR-supported programme aims to increase the resilience of the coral reefs and the communities of the Colombian Archipelago. Led by Fondo Acción, the “Fi Wi Riif” (Our Reef) programme will enable access to technical assistance and finance for the development and scaling of reef-positive blue economy business models. GFCR funding will ensure the pipeline of supported businesses will strategically reduce local drivers of coral reef degradation across the marine reserve while providing resilient livelihoods for local communities. With this newly approved programme launch, the GFCR is now implementing blended finance initiatives in twelve countries with an ambition to expand to more than 25 by the end of 2023

To further expand impact, the GFCR announced the initiation of programme development for Micronesia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, as well as a second programme for Indonesia. These four programmes have been prioritized for GFCR funding given their significant biodiversity and climate-resilient coral reef ecosystems. The supported blended finance initiatives will aim to drive sustainable revenue streams to improve the climate resilience of both coral ecosystems and coastal communities. Combined, these four initiatives will aim to unlock a minimum of $100 million USD in blended finance investment.

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions also announced GFCR as the first endorsed Race to Resilience campaign partner focused on coral reefs. Through a partnership of climate-smart initiatives, the Race to Resilience campaign focuses on helping frontline communities to build resilience and adapt to impacts of climate change. The Climate Champions are aligning with GFCR specifically to shore up resilience impacts for coastal communities and marine ecosystems.

The GFCR is hosted within the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a uniquely situated hybrid development organization and development finance institution. By offering catalytic financial tools including concessional loans, guarantees and technical assistance, through the GFCR and other UNCDF Nature Asset Team initiatives, UNCDF promotes inclusive nature-positive economies and partnerships facilitating local resilience-focused finance.

About the Global Fund for Coral Reefs

The Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) is the largest global blended finance vehicle dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water. The GFCR is designed to scale financial solutions and blue economic growth that bolsters the resilience of coral reefs and the communities that depend on them. GFCR blended finance programmes incubate and scale interventions that address local drivers of coral reef degradation, unlock conservation funding flows, and increase communities’ adaptive capacities. Supported solutions include waste treatment and recycling facilities, coral reef insurance, sustainable aquaculture and agriculture, ecotourism enterprises, blue carbon credits, and sustainably financed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The GFCR is driven by a coalition of Member States, UN Agencies, financial institutions, philanthropies, impact investors and organisations. The GFCR Coalition includes the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation; the Governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States; the Green Climate Fund; Pegasus Capital Advisors; Builders Vision; Bloomberg Philanthropies; the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and the Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP).

About the U.S. Agency for International Development

For over four decades, the American people have partnered with the people of Egypt to build a globally competitive economy for the benefit of all Egyptians. Through investments totalling over $30 billion since 1978, USAID programs brought clean water and wastewater services to 25 million Egyptians, eliminated polio, built 2,000 schools, expanded electricity and telecommunications across the country, and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Today, USAID is committed to working with the Egyptian government and private sector to respond to the climate crisis. In support of Egypt’s green transformation, USAID is helping Egypt adapt to climate change, mitigate the severity of climate change, and access financing to implement climate solutions.

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