Hope for Reefs joins a global network of partners dedicated to reversing the decline of Earth’s ocean system
June 8, 2022 (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — Today, on World Oceans Day 2022, the International Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) officially endorsed the California Academy of Sciences’ Hope for Reefs initiative as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade). With the endorsement, the Academy will be able to participate in global forums to expand the scope and impact of Hope for Reefs as it seeks to reverse the decline of Earth’s coral reefs within the next five years.
“I am so proud that Hope for Reefs has been endorsed for the Ocean Decade,” says Steinhart Aquarium Director and Co-director of Hope for Reefs Bart Shepherd. “It’s an important recognition of the impact of our work to better understand and protect coral ecosystems, as well as of the tremendous science and education programs that we run here at the Academy.”
Established in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Ocean Decade, which runs from 2021 to 2030, aims to catalyze scientific research to safeguard Earth’s ocean system while supporting the sustainable development of coastal communities.
To achieve this, the IOC has provided a framework for scientists, coastal communities, and ocean advocates—of which the Academy is now a part—to collaborate on accelerating ocean science and implementing science-based solutions to the most pressing issues threatening ocean health.
“Coral reefs—and ocean ecosystems in general—are facing many threats, from overfishing and pollution to climate change,” says Academy Curator of Ichthyology and Co-director of Hope for Reefs Luiz Rocha, PhD. “But there is hope. By combining cutting-edge science with deep community engagement and targeted advocacy, programs like Hope for Reefs and the Ocean Decade are turning knowledge into action.”
With the world’s largest and most active mesophotic—or ‘twilight zone’—diving team, one of only a handful of labs capable of spawning and raising corals in an aquarium, and a long history of partnerships with coastal communities, the Academy is already a pioneer in coral reef research and conservation. Now, as an endorsed Ocean Decade project, Hope for Reefs is looking forward to making waves through new collaborations, knowledge-sharing opportunities, and conservation solutions with other participating teams.
“Regenerating Earth’s coral reefs is a monumental task that can only be achieved through collective action by a diverse group of collaborators,” Shepherd says. “We’re excited for the coming years, and for the partnerships that this endorsement will facilitate."
Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.
The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution with a mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and environmental education—all under one living roof. Museum hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.
The Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences is at the forefront of efforts to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Based in San Francisco, the Institute is home to more than 100 world-class scientists, state-of-the-art facilities, and nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world. The Institute also leverages the expertise and efforts of more than 100 international Associates and 450 distinguished Fellows. Through expeditions around the globe, investigations in the lab, and analysis of vast biological datasets, the Institute’s scientists work to understand the evolution and interconnectedness of organisms and ecosystems, the threats they face around the world, and the most effective strategies for ensuring they thrive into the future. Through deeply collaborative partnerships and innovative public engagement initiatives, they also guide critical conservation decisions worldwide, inspire and mentor the next generation of scientists, and foster responsible stewardship of our planet.