By Dr Sean N. Porter
The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) met in March at Moheli, Comoros. The regional coral reef networks in the WIO have been actively reporting on coral reef monitoring activities since 1999, through the Nairobi Convention, CRTF, and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). The GCRMN, with support from the International Coral Reef Initiative, is the de facto body that reports to the United Nations on the status of the world’s coral reefs. The meeting in the Comoros aimed to revitalize and enhance the capacities of national CRTF members in the region, for the integrated management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, and monitoring and reporting on ecosystem health.
Of relevance to the regional CRTF, is the renewed focus on scientific support to policy through the Science-Policy Platform of the Nairobi Convention, and the recent adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) (https://www.cbd.int/article/cop15-final-text-kunming-montreal-gbf-221222) in December 2022. The Kunming-Montreal GBF has now superseded the Convention on Biological Diversity – Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which missed most of its 2020 targets. The Kunming-Montreal GBF has a 2050 vision of ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ and 23 targets to be met by 2030. It is centred around four goals, that include biodiversity, sustainable use, benefit sharing and means of implementation, with specific headline indicators, many of which are highly relevant to coral reefs.
The workshop therefore involved establishing a new workplan for 2023-2024, with emphasis on how the various regional coral monitoring activities can best align and take advantage of the headline indicators and monitoring framework adopted by the Kunming-Montreal GBF. These activities will in turn support coral reef management and reporting under the framework of the Nairobi Convention, GCRMN, Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.