RIYADH — Dignitaries and leading Saudi entities joined host G20 Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s leading role in saving corals globally, with the official launch of the Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform Foundation (CORDAP Foundation) established by a Royal Order signed by King Salman on the 7th of March, 2023.
One billion people rely on coral reefs for food, income, medicine, and coastal protection, but over two-thirds of coral reefs have already been lost, therefore, G20 CORDAP was set up because accelerating research and innovation is the chance to save corals worldwide.
The event was attended by delegations and prominent Saudi personalities from various governmental, industrial and academic sectors, led by Princess Reema Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, who contributed in a panel titled The Rise of Saudi Leadership in the Environment: The Fight to Save Corals.
From his side, Dr. Fahad Bin Abdullah Toonsi, secretary-general of the Saudi Secretariat for G20 and advisor at the Royal Court, provided welcoming remarks reflecting on the trajectory from the idea being proposed by Saudi government to this being embraced by G20 leaders under the historic Saudi Presidency of the G20 in 2020, leading to the establishment of CORDAP.
This was followed by welcome remarks from Dr. Osama Faqeeha, G20 CORDAP initiative governing committee chair, Global Coral R&D accelerator platform foundation chair, and deputy minister of environment, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia.
During the event, Dr. Tony Chan, president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has emphasized KAUST’s support for CORDAP and Saudi Arabia’s leadership for coral conservation and research.
Showing their support for Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the fight to save corals, these leading Saudi entities then signed letters of intent or memorandums of understanding (MOU) to support the Global Platform Foundation.
A number of leading Saudi entities have signed letters of intent or memorandums of understanding (MOU) to support the Global Platform Foundation, showing their support for Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the fight to save corals.
The leading Saudi entities were: the signifying of a Letter of Intent with Red Sea Authority represented by the acting CEO Mohammed Al Asiri; the signifying of a MoU with Environment Fund, represented by the Executive VP of Strategy Khalid AlHabardi; the signifying of a MoU with the National Center for Wildlife, represented by the CEO Dr. Mohammed Qurban; the signifying of a MoU with AEON Collective represented by the Co-Founders of AEON Collective Princess Noura Bint Turki Al-Saud and Princess Mashael Saud Al Shalan.
CORDAP was adopted by the leaders of the G20 states during the summit held under the Saudi Presidency of the G20 in Riyadh, November 2020, to fast-track research and development solutions to save the world’s corals. CORDAP headquarters is at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, but can operate internationally.
It is noteworthy that the Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform Foundation (CORDAP Foundation) is a non-profit organization that will serve as the financial arm of CORDAP. CORDAP is the first Foundation incorporated in KSA that can operate internationally, opening the way for future foundations to reach global goals in support to Saudi leadership in addressing global challenges.
“The Royal Court’s approval of the Global Platform Foundation marks a major milestone toward implementing this distinguished global initiative,’” said Dr. Osama Faqeeha.
“The non-profit organization will facilitate the receipt of financial contributions to CORDAP from G20 and non-G20 countries, the private sector, and other contributors according to CORDAP’s charter endorsed by G20 environmental ministers.”
“The future of our oceans depends on us taking action now,” said Professor Carlos M. Duarte, executive director of CORDAP and Distinguished Professor at KAUST.
“70-90% of the remaining coral reefs could disappear in the next 10-15 years, a projection that is exemplified by the catastrophic coral losses on-going in the Caribbean affected by an unprecedented marine heat wave.
“An ocean without healthy corals is unthinkable. Accelerating the next generation of science and technology to help conserve and restore corals, while no efforts are spared to mitigate the pressures on them, must be a priority.”
The CORDAP Foundation will enable CORDAP to significantly expand its global outreach to support research and development solutions for coral reefs worldwide.
In accordance with the guidelines and processes established by the CORDAP Foundation’s Governance Committee, the organization will provide financial resources to aid CORDAP’s objectives to engage the brightest minds globally into delivering the next science and technology required to secure a future for corals.
Resources include facilitating the receipt of conferment, donations, subsidies, grants, bequests, endowments or any other contributions from inside and outside Saudi Arabia; providing financial support and disbursement of funds for research and projects announced by the Initiative’s Scientific and Advisory Committee; and establishing branches or offices inside or outside Saudi Arabia as deemed necessary, among other responsibilities.