APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
GBRF's commitment marries two components - an applied research portfolio and bond financing mechanism - supported and informed by a rigorous governance framework.
GBRF, collaborating with leading research organizations, management agencies, and business, has targeted best-practice reef interventions, generating an initial suite of adaptation ideas for its first portfolio.
These ideas have potential application at several scales, from highly localized to whole-of-reef. They significantly extend the current adaptation effort (which focuses primarily on improving water quality and marine zoning) to explore:
Modifications to the marine environment (e.g. acidity levels)
Moderating energy inputs to reef waters (e.g. heat, light)
Assisting organisms to adapt (e.g. increasing tolerance levels)
Further ideas, to be generated through a global expert forum, will inform a second portfolio, alongside successful first round projects.
GBRF, in partnership with Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia and KPMG Australia, is developing the bond financing mechanism, leveraging the best of what each has to offer in professional expertise and workstream-design and management. Activities span the design of a 10-year bond structure to raise $60 million, development of a supporting 'user pays' revenue stream (interest and capital repayments) based on de-minimus increases in existing levies and taxes on those who use and benefit from the GBR, and the cultivation of stakeholder support.
Initially, the green credentials of the GBRF Bond will be derived from the use of capital markets to fund this extensive program of 'public good' research. GBRF is also examining the possibility of the bond return being scaled for a more ambitious, greener investor, prepared to take a lower return annually, or to retire redemption rights altogether in favor of GBRF, given the environmental dividend that the portfolio will deliver.
Integration, across and within both workstreams, is built into every stage of the process to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
December 31, 2010 - First research portfolio launched for investment
January 31, 2011 - Portfolio 1 projects commence (these cover attributes of a resilient Reef, potential ecological and physical adaptation and enabling governance, community and industry projects)
Ongoing 2011-15 - Research project milestones, progress reports, investment stage gates and peer reviews
May 30, 2011 - First global expert forum convened
June 1, 2011 - Program of global outreach commences
September 30, 2011 - Second research portfolio launched
December 31, 2015 - All research portfolio 1 projects completed
December 31, 2015 - Reef Resilience Index developed and tested
1 November 2010 - Revenue stream identified
31 December 2010 - Bond financing mechanism designed
31 May 2011 - Stakeholder support secured
31 July 2011 - Investor roadshow completed
31 August 2011 - Bond issued
Ongoing to 2015 - Interest disbursements are made and Bond repayment finalized.
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is both a critical storehouse of biological diversity, nationally and internationally, and an economic powerhouse for Australia. Beyond Australia, more than 100 million people rely directly on the coastal resources of the Coral Triangle islands for their food and livelihood. According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the six Coral Triangle countries alone house over 75 percent of the world's reef-building corals and more than one-third of its fish species. In addition, reefs globally provide natural protection for adjacent coastlines and communities, and a variety of other ecosystem services.
The GBR, like all coral reefs, is extremely vulnerable to the dual climate change impacts of increasing ocean temperature and changing ocean chemistry, reducing rates at which coral reefs can calcify and increasing the risk of coral mortality.
According to the Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Program, of the 109 countries with significant coral reef communities, at least 93 are experiencing damage.
The impacts of these changes, both on the GBR and elsewhere, will include reduced ocean productivity, changes to the dynamics of food webs, reduced abundance of species crucial to the formation of habitat, shifting species distribution, and a greater incidence of disease.
With respect to the GBR specifically, this climate challenge is compounded by lags in the climate system, demanding immediate and urgent access for reef managers to proven adaptation techniques.
No one group can solve this problem alone. Such a challenge requires leadership and a strong drive for innovation, large collaborations of diverse expertise, and the marshalling of significant resources.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) is ideally positioned and qualified to provide the leadership and drive needed to develop and fund these new research needs. It is acting early, urgently and proactively to address the time horizons imposed by climate change, well before they are reached by:
Convening and leading a collaborative effort locally of our best problem solvers, drawn from fields as diverse as marine biology, genetics, engineering, risk management, economics, and social science;
Generating a new, innovative and strategically-based research portfolio for the GBR and making it publicly available;
Developing an innovative financing mechanism to deliver a lump sum to meet the significant up-front costs and time-driven nature of this research, as part of a comprehensive fundraising strategy;
d) Considering how the GBR can be utilized as an incubator for this research given its current health, location, and strong research and management sectors, generating globally relevant solutions and a platform for knowledge transfer to other coral reef communities.
- Financial resources to fund core research projects, funding of global outreach and global expert forums
- Implementing resources - to deliver the global expert forums, facilitate introductions to relevant agencies with a stake in resilient coral reefs, and implement the global Chairman's Panel
- Best practice - support GBRF in running and managing projects on a global scale, global outreach activities and innovative idea generation processes
- Marketing/media - financial and human resources for marketing, planning and targeted marketing activities
- Expertise that GBRF has gained in the development and execution of its Research Portfolio and bond financing mechanism
- Through its international engagement program GBRF would offer CGI partners the chance to visit the Great Barrier Reef for briefings from scientists on threats, and work being done to address them
- Resources permitting, GBRF would partner with others in design and development of research programs to help other reefs adapt to climate change