CORDAP Coral Conservation and Restoration Capacity Development Workshop – Mombasa, Kenya

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Earlier this month, our partners at the Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) hosted a four-day workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, to identify challenges surrounding coral reef conservation and restoration in the Global South. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation was invited to participate in this workshop to advise on actionable strategies to address the importance of co-design and capacity building for coral conservation programming. The workshop brought together representatives from academia, conservation philanthropies, the private sector, restoration, and government from 19 Global South countries. The Global South…

The Third Foundations Dialogue Meeting

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Last week, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) participated in the Third Foundations Dialogue Meeting, coming together with other ocean-focused foundations from around the world in an effort to align our efforts to support the science needed for ocean conservation.

Organized jointly by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Foundations Dialogue Group provides a platform for the philanthropic community to collaborate and work together to move the needle towards ocean conservation. Specifically, the group seeks to address how the foundations could align their efforts to achieve the bold ambitions of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, better known as the ‘Ocean Decade’.

The event was held in Monaco from June 14-16, 2023, and presented a unique opportunity to discuss how to enhance the role of the philanthropic community in co-designing the ‘science we need for the ocean we want.’ We also discussed how we can work together to support existing and future projects of the UN Ocean Decade.

Our Foundation’s president, HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan, spoke at the opening session of the Foundations Dialogue meeting, along with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO; and Their Royal Highnesses Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco. In her speech, Princess Hala noted that since her father established the Foundation in 2000 to protect, preserve, and restore ocean health, that “we have made great progress over this period, but we have always known that to accomplish this great and noble mission, we could not work alone.” This was part of the reason we participate in the Foundations Dialogue, to work with others to advance ocean conservation initiatives worldwide…

Measuring reef health from space

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With compelling evidence that we have lost half of the world’s tropical coral reefs over the last few decades, there is an urgent need to understand their overall health. Without this basic information to use as a baseline, it is near impossible to mount a response to the so-called global reef crisis. The most straightforward method we have for monitoring reefs is conducting SCUBA diver surveys. However, this type of field work is logistically and financially challenging to execute on large scales, so developing a new method to monitor reefs remotely is key.

In attempt to find a solution, Anna Bakker combines the fields of remote sensing, computer science, and ecology to measure reef health from space. Recently, Anna published a paper in Coral Reefs, which utilized the Living Oceans Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition field dataset to build a model that can predict coral cover and other metrics of coral reef health using open-source satellite data.

The Global Diwan’s Blue & Green Security Forum

Featured in Kuwait TV  September 9, 2022 The Khaled bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation’s participation in The Global Diwan’s Blue & Green Security Forum was covered by Kuwait TV! The event brought together environmental and business leaders from Europe and …

The Bouknadel Statement

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation was one of 17 philanthropic foundations that have signed on to The Bouknadel Statement. This joint statement was launched on the occasion of the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, to raise awareness for the need to increase investment in ocean science to support sustainable development.

The Foundations Dialogue of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development — an informal, global network of community, corporate, and private foundations that have chosen to work together to support the vision of the Ocean Decade — today launched The Bouknadel Statement affirming their commitment to investing in transformative ocean science. The Statement was launched during an event celebrating the Ocean Decade during the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

2021: A Remarkable Year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

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Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 2021 was a truly remarkable year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

After spending ten years in the field circumnavigating the globe, we concluded the Global Reef Expedition (GRE)—the largest coral reef survey and mapping research mission in history. Prince Khaled made the formal announcement at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, where we also presented our data and findings from this groundbreaking research mission.

Now that the Global Reef Expedition is complete, we are taking our coral reef research to the next level. This past year we signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to help them map the world’s coral reefs. We have shared over 65,000 square kilometers of our coral reef maps with NASA so they can use them as a guide for how to map coral reefs from space. We are also using our GRE data and expertise in a new partnership with the Pacific Blue Foundation that will use machine learning to automate image analysis of benthic photo transects. Meanwhile, we continue to work with our partners at the University of Miami on new coral reef health and resiliency models. This includes a new project funded by the National Science Foundation to assess the long-term health of coral reefs.

In addition to our scientific accomplishments, the Foundation had several notable achievements in outreach and education. In 2021 we launched a new TV show, Our Living Oceans, which is now playing on EarthxTV. This 6-part documentary series takes viewers on a journey of discovery, educating viewers on the health of our living oceans, the threats they face, and what is being done to save them through conversations with scientists, conservationists, and local leaders from around the world. We also expanded the offerings on our Education Portal, which continued to be a valuable resource for students and teachers, especially for those learning remotely during the pandemic.  

We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve this past year and look forward to what we will be able to accomplish in the years to come.

To learn more about our recent accomplishments, check out our 2021 Annual Report:

2021 Annual Report

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 2021 was a truly remarkable year for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. After spending ten years in the field circumnavigating the globe in an effort to understand the coral reef crisis, …

Reflections on a Big Year

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As 2021 comes to a close, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is taking some time to reflect on everything we have accomplished this year.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic, we have had quite a few things to celebrate. This year we entered into a partnership with NASA to map the world’s reefs, concluded our 10-year Global Reef Expedition, and published a final report of our findings. We also presented our research at two major international conferences: the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), released a report of our research in the Chagos Archipelago, and published several peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Our education and outreach departments also had a remarkable year. This year we launched a new mangrove conservation program with our partners in Jamaica and had students from over 60 countries submit artwork to our Science Without Borders Challenge. Last but certainly not least, we produced an excellent TV show on ocean health, “Our Living Oceans,” which is now playing on EarthxTV.

It’s been an incredible year, and we look forward to the work we will accomplish next year to help protect, preserve, and restore our living oceans.

What We Learned: Marine Protected Areas Work in Conserving Coral Reefs

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Managing marine resources is a challenge for communities around the globe. On the Global Reef Expedition, we had the opportunity to visit protected and unprotected reefs in both remote locations and those regularly used by humans. The degree of protection varied, but we found that areas with the highest protection had the healthiest reefs.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a tool commonly used by governments and communities to manage their marine resources. An MPA can have varying degrees of regulations, including no-take and no-entry where no fishing is allowed and entrance into the park is not permitted, to varying permitted use that regulate the fishing and use practices. Some of the countries we visited, such as Australia (Northern Great Barrier Reef), Palau, and New Caledonia have large human populations utilizing the reefs and have prioritized establishing large protected and managed areas to conserve their nearshore reef systems.