Resilient Reefs Initiative

Partnering with front-line Reef communities across the Pacific and beyond to respond to climate change and local threats.

Inaugural accelerator workshop, Great Barrier Reef
The challenge

#The challenge

Coral reefs are the beating heart of our oceans. They give life to a quarter of all marine animals, providing safe havens and breeding grounds. They support a billion people around the world, providing food, jobs and protection from storms. Without them, we cannot survive.

Coral reefs contribute an estimated $10 trillion in ecosystem services, protect our coast, are crucial to local communities and have cultural and spiritual significance for Traditional Owners across the globe that date back over 60,000 years. They are also one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet.

Already, climate change has wiped out half the world’s coral reefs. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is no longer enough to protect coral reefs. We must accelerate global efforts to protect ocean habitats, restore coral reefs and help them adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already locked in.

#Four key pathways to create deep, lasting change

Build capacity of Reef managers to be agents of change and institutionalise resilience planning

Empower and equip local communities to take action and create sustainable jobs and income

Implement solutions that have a significant impact on Reefs and Reef communities

Foster a global network of Reef resilience leaders and inspiring others to build Reef resilience

The solution

#The solution

Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. By taking the world’s pioneering reef restoration science and partnering with local governments and communities, we can turn the tide on coral reef decline.

In a world first, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation established the Resilient Reefs Initiative. This bold partnership allows us to work with global Reef managers and front-line communities to co-design tailor-made solutions that improve climate resilience. We partner with local organisations to implement these solutions, with the support of a global network of resilience experts.

While the interdependency of Reefs and their communities has long been recognised, Resilient Reefs is the first global program to deliver integrated Reef and community resilience planning, at scale.

#Our Impact so Far

4 UNESCO reef sites


3 holistic reef resilience strategies launched

10 Partnerships with First Nations groups

4 Chief Resilience Officer roles created in reef management authorities

20+ Projects co-designed and actioned across pilot sites

5 global convenings to advance knowledge exchange

700+ Reef managers trained in resilience based management

3000+ Reef beneficiaries engaged in the development of Resilience Strategies

#Project sites

We've partnered with four unique UNESCO sites to develop tailor-made resilience strategies.

#Site partners

#Project partners

The Nature Conservancy Reef Resilience Network
The Nature Conservancy
Columbia University Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes
Resilient Cities Catalyst
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
BHP Foundation

#Resilient Reefs Project Board 

Caleb McClennen

Caleb McClennen

Vice President for Conservation Science and Solutions

Kathy Chaston Radway

Kathy Chaston Radway

Equitable Conservation Manager Asia Pacific, TNC

Dr Stephen Box

Dr Stephen Box

RARE – Managing Director of Fish Forever

Will Symons

Will Symons

Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Theresa Fyffe

Theresa Fyffe

Executive Director Projects and Partnerships

Initiated by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Resilient Reefs is a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Network, Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, Resilient Cities Catalyst, UNESCO and AECOM. The program is enabled by the BHP Foundation. These global partners each bring unique expertise and support to the pilot sites, as well as help to share the lessons and learnings from the Initiative with Reef communities around the world.