One month left to apply to the Science Without Borders® Challenge!

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There is still time to participate in our international student art competition, the Science Without Borders® Challenge! Students must submit their artwork by March 4 for their chance to win up to $500.  This year the Science Without Borders® Challenge theme is …

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation at COP28

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) will be participating in COP28 this December 2023. The 28th annual United Nations climate meeting is being hosted by the UAE and will be held at Expo City in Dubai. The United Nations COP or “Conference of Parties” is the highest decision-making process on climate issues as it convenes over 70,000 delegates, heads of state, and world leaders. KSLOF is honored to be participating in several events at COP28 this year to discuss the role of philanthropy in ocean conservation, upcoming projects that focus on monitoring and restoration of coral reefs, and the importance of preserving global biodiversity through coral reef protection…

Nurturing Innovation and Community Connection at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station

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In the heart of Moorea Island in French Polynesia, a recent workshop at UC Berkeley’s Gump Research Station set the stage for a potentially transformative endeavor. Hosted by Gump Station, this gathering was dedicated to fostering a dynamic collaboration between scientists and the local community. The goal? To inform the creation of an ‘Innovation Hub’ that bridges the gap between research and the people it ultimately serves.

The event brought together over 30 people from around the world with an interest in working with the environment and people of French Polynesia. Participants included an eclectic mix of scientists, funders, representatives from nonprofit and community outreach organizations, and prominent members of the local community. The Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer, Liz Thompson, attended and shared some ideas about what the Innovation Hub could be and how it could be structured to benefit both the people and the marine environment of Moorea. The workshop succeeded in bringing together diverse minds united by a shared passion for combining science and outreach for conservation…

Community Outreach in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape

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A key component of the United Nations Endorsed Project Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics is outreach and community engagement. During the joint outreach and fieldwork campaign with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) and Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF), four villages were visited in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape. Community engagement and outreach are both important cultural practices for the Chief’s blessing and permission to work on the reef surrounding the villages, but they are also important for visiting scientists to gain valuable local knowledge about the nearshore ecosystem. The final component of the outreach program was to teach several local community members the survey methods for collecting coral reef transect data.

The lagoon is surrounded by several villages, each with its own unique character and traditions. The KSLOF and PBF team worked with four of these communities: Naisomo, Raviravi, Rukua, and Yunuca. The most important first step for community engagement in the Fijian islands is meeting with the head Chief and other community elders to receive permission to work in the waters near to their village. The meeting is called a sevu sevu. The sevu sevu must be done before any work in the water or on shore is started. It is considered extremely disrespectful if this cultural practice is not followed by outside visitors.

During the meeting with the Chief and his advisors, it is customary to partake in a ceremonial drink called kava. It is traditionally prepared by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder, straining it, and mixing it with cold water in a large bowl called a tanoa. Tanoas are carved out of a native hardwood and often have designs to reflect the history of the village. The kava mixture is then poured and drunk out of a bilo, which are small cups carved from coconuts. As the kava is shared amongst the villagers and visitors, the Chief asks what the purpose of the visit is and how it will benefit the community.

Community-Based Coral Reef Monitoring in Rukua Village

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The reefs surrounding the Beqa Lagoon in Fiji have endured many events that threaten their ability to survive, including bleaching events, crown-of-thorns outbreaks, and cyclone damage. These reefs are incredibly important to the people of the region, and to save them, the surrounding villages and communities want to have a pulse on the health of their marine resources. To help manage these threats and monitor locally managed marine areas, or tabu,the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is working with Mila Matairakula, a master’s student and Pacific Blue Foundation’s Environmental Officer. Her project, Small Scale Assessment of Changes in Coral Genus Using the Machine Learning Tool, CoralNet: A Case Study in Rukua Village, Beqa, will focus on streamlining in-water survey protocols to develop a more accurate and cost-effective method for coral reef monitoring.

One of the first test sites in Beqa Lagoon is Rukua Village, which has several traditional protection areas (tabu) and designated fishing grounds (qoliqoli). These areas have historically been managed locally by community members to help keep fishing pressure and coral reef damage to a minimum. However, there have not been sufficient monitoring protocols to evaluate how these managed areas are faring. If the coral reef ecosystem is stressed and overfished, it greatly affects the lives and food security of the village…

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…

Announcing the winners of the 2023 Science Without Borders® Challenge

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of the annual Science Without Borders® Challenge, an international student art contest that promotes ocean conservation. This year’s competition, centered around the theme “The Sixth Extinction,” encouraged young artists to raise awareness about endangered marine species and the urgent need to protect our oceans. The contest engaged students and teachers globally, inspiring them to create amazing artwork showcasing the beauty and wonder of endangered species in our ocean.

Open to primary and secondary school students 11-19 years old, the Science Without Borders® Challenge attracted remarkable talent from around the world. This year more students entered than ever before. Over 1,200 students from 67 countries submitted artwork to the 2023 Science Without Borders® Challenge, sending in beautiful artwork illustrating marine species, some teetering on the brink of extinction. Artwork in the competition was judged in two categories based on age. The winning entries in each category are not only beautiful pieces of artwork, but they also encourage viewers to think deeply about the impact people are having on the environment.

In first place…

Announcing the Winners of the People’s Choice Award in the 2023 Science Without Borders® Challenge

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We are thrilled to announce the winners of the People’s Choice Award in the 2023 Science Without Borders® Challenge! Thousands of people responded to our call to vote for their favorite artwork in each age group, choosing artwork that best reflects this year’s theme, “The Sixth Extinction.” The votes have been counted, and it is with great pleasure that we reveal the talented artists who captured the hearts and imaginations of people from around the globe…

Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics

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The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project was developed by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation to help address the United Nations Ocean Decade Challenge to “understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.”

Our project focuses primarily on conserving tropical marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests, as well as incorporating measurable actions that communities can use to reach their conservation goals.

The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project uses a co-design approach to help coastal communities improve ocean literacy and develop science-based solutions to conserve their tropical marine ecosystems…