United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Report of the health of the world's coral reefs presented at UNESCO

The 2004 edition of the Status of the Coral Reefs of the World, prepared by 240 experts from 96 countries, will be presented on December 9 at UNESCO Headquarters (restaurant, 7th floor, 6p.m.-7p.m.), in the presence of Patricio Bernal, Executive Secretary of the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Clive Wilkinson, editor of the report, Corinne Etaix from the French ministry of ecology and sustainable development, and other partners.

This new edition of the report reviews the health of coral reefs around the world. Essential for biodiversity, coral reefs are a critical resource for human beings: in Asia alone reefs provide seafood for an estimated one billion people. The Report, which was launched in Washington on December 6, is accessible online at: www.aims.gov.au.

According to the document, 20 percent of the world’s reefs have been destroyed and show no sign of recovery; only 50 percent of the 16 percent of reefs damaged by bleaching 1998 have totally recovered or are in the process of doing so; 24 percent of all coral reefs are in danger of destruction from human activities and another 26 percent are at risk of such damage in the future.

The main threats for reefs, according to the report, arise from climate change (coral bleaching, increased levels of CO², disease and increased numbers of predators such as the Thorn of Crowns starfish), human activities (over-fishing and destructive methods of fishing, sediments from deforestation, chemical products used in agriculture, and coastal urbanization) and other human pressures (increasing poverty and demographic growth, lack of management skills in certain countries and little or no political will).

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg 2002) had foreseen the creation of networks of marine reserves to protect the biodiversity of coral reefs. Numerous partnerships and programmes have been or are being established: CORDIO for the Indian Ocean (Sweden and the World Bank) and more recently South Asia (IUCN); AFD-CRISP for the South Pacific (Agence Française de développment); PEMSEA for East and South East Asia (12 governments).

Journalists who wish to attend the presentation should request accreditation from UNESCO’s Press Relations Section. tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48 – i.le-fournis@unesco.org

Source Media advisory No 2004 - 88
Generic Field
Editorial Contact: UNESCO’s Press Relations Section. tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48
- Email i.le-fournis@unesco.org
Publication Date 07 Dec 2004
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