World Heritage coral reefs likely to disappear by 2100 unless CO2 emissions reduce drastically; Fanny Douvere; National Geographic Society

Belize – Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

During my six years with UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme, I have had the privilege of visiting some of the world’s most beloved ocean places, including Cabo Pulmo, Lagoons of New Caledonia, Belize Barrier Reef, Coiba National Park, Tubbataha Reefs, and the Great Barrier Reef. Field visits are integral to our work, as we are constantly trying to understand the health of these rare places, and forge solutions with local and national governments.

I have had the opportunity to explore thriving coral reefs, treasure troves full of life and breathtaking beauty and color — unlike anything else I’ve experienced. But like many of us, I have also watched with growing unease how the devastating heat wave that gripped the world’s oceans over the past three years wrought havoc in 21 out of the 29 globally-significant reefs on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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