CORAL's Program Centers
CORAL has organized its global conservation approach based on four fundamental components of effective reef conservation. As we continue to grow, we will be developing program centers in these areas:
- Center for MPA Effectiveness
- Center for Sustainable Tourism
- Center for Community Development
- Center for Sustainable Financing
Program centers will share common goals and use collaborative approaches and adaptive management to be responsive to new opportunities and innovations. By sharing staff across work groups, CORAL will be able to take advantage of shared expertise and best practices to increase the efficiency with which we do our work.
Here is our vision for these centers of excellence:
Fewer than 10 percent of marine protected areas currently achieve their management goals and objectives.
Typically, MPA managers and staff lack training, adequate financial resources, and support from local businesses and communities. The Center for MPA Effectiveness will recognize these deficits and work closely with the other three centers to identify paths for increasing management capacity. Armed with cutting-edge scientific research and working in partnership with local and international organizations that focus on biophysical monitoring of reefs and associated coral reef communities, the center will effectively evaluate current reef health and resiliency as well as improvements resulting from CORAL's conservation approaches.
Generating 27 times more income than fisheries combined, tourism is the world’s largest industry.
Nature-based tourism, of which marine tourism is a subset, is the fastest growing tourism sector. The Center for Sustainable Tourism will aim to be the world's leading authority on sustainable marine tourism and the development, implementation, and testing of best environmental practices and marine recreation standards as effective tools for MPA support and coral reef conservation. CORAL and members of the tourism sector will work as partners in reef stewardship. With CORAL's assistance, marine tourism providers will serve as sentinels for the reef, working to expand the reach of MPA managers, assist in monitoring and enforcement, and recognize that healthy reefs translate into healthy businesses.
Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that communities located near effectively managed MPAs are better off than communities located near MPAs lacking effective management.
Well-managed MPAs bring proportionately greater benefits than costs, just as a local school or health clinic does. The Center for Community Development will work to promote these findings in all of CORAL's site-based work to demonstrate that MPAs can reduce poverty and provide brighter futures for local children. The center will accomplish this through a variety of programs, including education, microgrants, alternative livelihood training, and community-based conservation projects. Through these projects we will reveal the positive relationships between MPAs and improved fish catch, new tourism jobs, better local government, increased community health, and economically and socially empowered women. When local community members witness tangible improvements to their quality of life through the success of conservation programs, they will be more likely than not to continue supporting these initiatives and to pass on this work ethic to future generations.
The lack of a secure source of funding for MPA management costs is perhaps the most important barrier to successful MPA implementation and the leading cause of MPA failure.
Thus, there is growing demand for MPA managers to identify sustainable sources of funding for the operation of effective MPAs. The Center for Sustainable Financing will explore and implement a diverse portfolio of options for building financial security for site-based coral reef conservation. The center will use such strategies as user fees, licensing and permits, micro-financing and micro-lending, as well as technical expertise honed over ten years of practical application. The center will work closely with the Center for Sustainable Tourism to link finance strategies to tourism dollars and collaborates with the Center for Community Development to identify avenues for community benefit as a by-product of its support of and participation in local conservation efforts.