The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Director of Science Management, Alex Dempsey, had the prestigious opportunity to present at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. Her presentation, entitled “The Global Reef Expedition (GRE): Circumnavigating the Globe to Address the Coral Reef Crisis,” focused on the plight of coral reefs and how the Global Reef Expedition assessed the state of coral reefs around the world.
Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together “several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.” As coral reefs are rapidly declining globally due to a host of different stressors such as climate change and overfishing, they are a key example of a critical habitat in need of global awareness and protection using a multifaceted approach of conservation disciplines and stakeholder involvement. The presentation highlighted how the GRE was meticulously planned under the framework of Science Without Borders©, and the foundation’s three-pronged approach of using scientific research, education, and outreach to address the coral reef crisis. In each country the GRE visited, an international team of scientists together with local leaders, conservationists, government officials, and subject matter experts worked in tandem to assess the state of the reefs.