MSC Foundation and IUCN announce partnership to conserve coral reefs

MSC Foundation Executive Director Daniela Picco and Razan Al Mubarak President of IUCN

MSC Foundation and IUCN announce partnership to conserve coral reefs

Monaco – March 22, 2023 – The MSC Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today announced a new partnership to conserve and restore threatened coral reefs. The announcement was made during Monaco Ocean Week, an event that brings experts and leaders from across the marine conservation community together to discuss key challenges facing the world’s oceans.

The MSC Foundation’s support will enable the completion of the comprehensive global assessment of the world’s coral species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. The Global Coral Biodiversity Assessment project aims to deliver concrete, actionable restoration plans for coral reefs, as well as the threatened species populating them.

The project will include identifying the most threatened species of coral and areas of reef, prioritizing conservation and restoration actions based on the threats they face and reporting the contribution that conserving these ecosystems makes to achieving the targets in the UN Global Biodiversity Framework.

IUCN President Razan Al Mubarak, said: “I want to express my sincere thanks to the MSC Foundation for their support. It could not be more vital; over a third of coral species assessed on the IUCN Red List face extinction. This partnership will enable us to complete further assessments, and ensure the world has the information needed to protect corals and the livelihoods of the more than half a billion people who depend upon them.”

Coral reef Marshall Islands - Andre Seale

Mr. Pierfrancesco Vago, Chair of the MSC Foundation Executive Committee and Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Groupcommented: “As stewards of our planet, we have a responsibility to protect its precious ecosystems. Our new partnership with IUCN is a powerful commitment to conserve and restore threatened coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds. By empowering decision-makers and practitioners to act on the global recommendations emerging from the Global Marine Biodiversity Assessment, we can safeguard these essential ecosystems for future generations.”

MSC Foundation Executive Director Daniela Picco added: “The MSC Foundation is committed to advancing ocean science and delighted to partner with IUCN to drive meaningful change in the marine conservation space. This partnership marks a significant step forward in our efforts to restore and protect the world’s oceans. It complements our Super Coral Program and other work in the marine conservation area, while offering promising scope to involve new partners on the communication and dissemination side. Together, we will work towards a sustainable future for our planet, where marine life thrives and the oceans are restored to health for generations to come.”

The partnership will also contribute to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

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The MSC Foundation is currently engaged in three marine conservation and restoration programs through partnerships that are advancing ocean science:

The MSC Foundation’s own Super Coral Program based in the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas. The Foundation is currently building its own Marine Conservation Centre on Ocean Cay island, which will include a biolab, coral nurseries and outreach and education facilities. The program is pioneering the identification, growing and out planting of heat-resistant corals to restore and increase the resilience of coral reefs in the reserve, while disseminating knowledge of the techniques developed so they can be deployed worldwide. This innovative work is supported by partnerships with world authorities on coral conservation, including the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University.

The second program sees the MSC Foundation partnering with the Ba’a Foundation in Saudi Arabia to support novel coral reef resilience and restoration programs in the Red Sea, sharing knowledge and learnings while raising public awareness of and engagement in marine conservation activities.

The third partnership took its first steps in late 2022, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Qatar Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Qatar University and Qatar Foundation to launch an innovative new marine conservation program in Qatar. The aim of this program is to leverage the synergistic power of conserving, restoring and nurturing three symbiotic coastal ecosystems – mangrove forests, seagrass and coral. The benefits envisaged extend from increased marine biodiversity, strengthened fisheries and improved protection against coastal erosion to new opportunities for ecotourism and development through a building-with-nature approach.


The non-profit MSC Foundation implements the MSC Group’s marine conservation, humanitarian and sustainable development commitments worldwide, utilizing MSC’s global reach and unique knowledge of the sea to protect and nurture our blue planet, its peoples and our shared cultural heritage.

Concentrating on four areas – the Environment, Community Support, Education and Emergency Relief – the Foundation promotes the protection and sustainable management of ecosystems, empowers vulnerable communities around the world to realize their full potential, supports equitable and inclusive quality education to foster enduring individual and collective development, and helps disaster-struck populations toward recovery.

The Foundation works to achieve this both independently and with dedicated partners: independently, by leveraging MSC Group engagement in designing and managing projects, connecting communities, raising awareness and mobilizing the financial support of thousands of people, and together with trusted partners selected for their strong innovative vision or track record for effective action.

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IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organizations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organizations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,400 Member organizations and around 15,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organizations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.

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