Protecting valuable coastal ecosystems in the Caribbean

Over 60 coral seedlings on small plates
Coral seedlings

The Caribbean is particularly affected by climate change. Nature-based solutions such as the restoration of coral reefs and the conservation of mangrove forests protect coasts as well as biodiversity and thus also preserve the livelihoods of the population.

In the Caribbean, small island states in particular are increasingly suffering from hurricanes and floods. Intact coral reefs and mangrove forests can act as natural breakwaters to protect against this. However, the coral reefs in the Caribbean, for example on the coasts of Cuba or the Dominican Republic, have been severely damaged by the effects of fishing, extreme weather events and pollution of the ocean.

Now there is a remedy: a station for growing young corals supports the regeneration of the reefs. Under natural conditions, it takes many years for coral reefs to recover from damage; artificially created coral gardens accelerate this process significantly. Reforestation and the protection of mangrove forests also contribute to coastal conservation. The habitat of more than 1,400 species of fish and marine mammals is thus preserved. This preserves the livelihoods of the coastal population.

Idea competitions to find the best projects

4 rearing tanks for corals stand next to each other on a covered area
Rearing tank for corals

The coral gardens in the Dominican Republic are just one of 23 projects currently funded by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) in eleven Caribbean island states. These states can only devote limited funds to climate adaptation themselves. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), KfW Development Bank is therefore supporting the CBF's facility for financing ecosystem-based adaptation measures ("EbA Facility") with a total of EUR 45 million. It is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), an important instrument of the German Federal Government for the international financing of climate protection.

The EbA Facility selects projects in idea competitions for funding of up to 2 million US dollars, including for example the coral rearing station. Participants include governmental organisations as well as NGOs. The fourth and, for the time being, last idea competition will be concluded in 2023. The aim is to finance a total of 35 projects with around 50 million US dollars.

Platform for knowledge exchange

In addition, the exchange of knowledge between the participating island states is supported by the EbA Facility. In February 2023, for example, it organised a workshop in the Dominican Republic, which was attended by around 50 people.

So far, more than 15,000 people have benefited from the measures promoted by the CBF. In addition to raising young, healthy corals and reforesting mangroves, this also includes working with the local population and creating alternative incomes. Ecosystems covering more than 100,000 hectares in the coastal zones of the Caribbean are now better managed.

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