The agreement was signed by UQ President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Høj, and World Bank Director of Operations, Dr Ethel Sennhauser.
The agreement was signed by UQ President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Høj, and World Bank Director of Operations, Dr Ethel Sennhauser.
7 November 2013

The natural wealth of coastlines in the East Asia-Pacific is set to be unlocked for coastal communities, under an agreement between The University of Queensland (UQ) and the World Bank signed in Washington DC today (6 November).

UQ’s Global Change Institute (GCI) will co-ordinate the new $10.4 million Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services (CCRES) project, aiming to unlock sustainable income streams for people of the region.

Prestigious partners on the project include Cornell University, The University of California (Davis) and the Global Environment Facility, plus the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University in the Philippines, World Wildlife Fund US and Currie Communications.

The agreement was signed by UQ President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Høj, and World Bank Director of Operations, Dr Ethel Sennhauser.

GCI Director, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said understanding the economic and cultural value of the region’s coastal assets would support the development of eco-friendly businesses, toolkits and spatial planning.

“Healthy coastal ecosystems are essential for the livelihoods, food security, safety, wellbeing and cultural identity of hundreds of millions of people in low-lying coastal areas across the East Asia-Pacific.

“More than 450 million of them already live below the poverty line, and the livelihoods of many are being further threatened by degradation of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds, due to pollution, unsustainable development, overfishing and climate change.

“Unlocking the economic and social value of these ecosystems gives an incentive to local communities, businesses and policy makers to preserve them (and their services) for future generations.” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“We believe that new public private partnerships that get all parties around the table are centrally important for solving problems.”

The World Bank’s Senior Coastal and Marine Specialist in the East Asia-Pacific Region, Dr Marea Hatziolos, said the wealth of natural capital had the potential to be a major driver of inclusive green growth in the region.

“There’s enormous potential if we can transform the development and stewardship of coastal areas by translating ecological value into financial terms for local stakeholders and policy makers,” Dr Hatziolos said.

“We especially need better resource governance regimes, measures to adequately value the environment for current and future generations when calculating economic benefits, and good scientific information to inform decision-making and trade-offs.”

The $10.4 million package includes $2 million from UQ, and today’s signing further embeds the University as a leader in expertise in coastal and marine research and management.
Professor Høj said: “The intellectual fire power of some of UQ’s top researchers is the real contribution we are making.”

“What matters is the value of the outcomes we will deliver for some of the world’s poorest people, and for the regional and global environment.

“The achievements of this project will stem from a long-term partnership between UQ and the World Bank and Global Environment Facility, and from the reputation of researchers like Ove Hoegh-Guldberg – who contribute to UQ’s standing as a top 100 global university and are able to cement collaborations with excellent universities,” Professor Høj said.

Initially, pilot sites will be established in Indonesia and the Philippines. Research findings will be implemented and disseminated across the East–Asia Pacific and globally. The Global Environment Facility, via an investment administered by the World Bank, is the major funder.

For further information or media interviews, contact:

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, Communications, UQ Global Change Institute, +61 (0) 401 106 604.
Mark Paterson, Associate Director, UQ Global Change Institute, +61 (0) 409 411 110


CCRES (The Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services project) seeks to unlock the natural wealth of coastlines in the East Asia-Pacific. CCRES will undertake research to calculate a value for the services provided to local communities by seagrass beds, mangroves, coral reefs and develop eco-friendly businesses, toolkits and spatial planning models which capture this value and, in doing so, assist communities to develop new sustainable revenue streams.

About The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland (UQ) is in the top 100 universities worldwide, measured through a number of major independent university rankings: the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and, Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University’s outstanding 205,000-plus alumni include a Nobel laureate, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an Academy Award winner, and leaders in government, law, science, public service and the arts. UQ is one of only three Australian members of the global Universitas 21, a founding member of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities, and a member of Universities Australia.

About the Global Change Institute

The Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, Australia, is an independent source of game-changing research, ideas and advice for addressing the challenges of global change. The Global Change Institute advances discovery, creates solutions and advocates responses that meet the challenges presented by climate change, technological innovation and population change.

About Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is the inaugural Director of the Global Change Institute and Professor of Marine Science, at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is the coordinating lead author Chapter 30, “Open Oceans” in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Panel of the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans; and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. He is the Queensland Smart State Premier's Fellow (2008-2013), Chief Scientist for the Catlin Seaview Survey and an Australian Academy of Science Fellow for 2013.

About the World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its aim is to end extreme poverty and to boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent of people in developing countries. The World Bank helps governments by providing them with the financing and technical expertise they need for a wide range of projects, such as education, health, infrastructure, communications, government reforms, and for many other purposes. It is also a knowledge bank which puts technology and innovation in the service of people to help them achieve a better life.

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently-operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.