As part to the International Coral Reef Society’s 15th Symposium in July 2021, Francis was invited to advise on, and a review, a new paper on “Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge”. Francis was involved in the drafting process of the report under his role of Global Coordinator for the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Secretariat.
The paper, which aims to highlight the urgency of taking action to conserve and restore reefs, makes three asks of policymakers:
- Commit to addressing biodiversity loss and the effect climate change has had on coral reefs, ensure policies are ambitious enough to address those crises, and ensure that policies are implemented.
- Build coordinated actions across related policy fields at all levels of governance, from local councils to international bodies. This includes efforts in conservation, management and restoration, as well as policies that address climate change adaptation, biodiversity and sustainable development.
- Innovate new approaches to help coral adapt to climate change. Global warming is here, and adaptation is unavoidable. A small percentage of reefs and some coral species have been successfully managed. “Studies of these ‘bright spots’ provide important lessons to guide future actions, such as how local community participation can improve management outcomes,” the scientists wrote.
Tom was also involved in the launch and promotion of the report and was acknowledged for his work with the communications team.