Resilient Reefs Initiative (RRI)

TNC Hawai‘i Program divers conducting a resilience assessment along West Hawai‘i Island coast. Photo © David Slater

The Resilient Reefs Initiative (RRI) is a global partnership working with World Heritage coral reef sites and the communities that depend on them to bolster their social-ecological resilience and adapt to climate change and local threats. RRI leverages and connects global resources to enhance the local capacity to design and deliver resilience projects and institutionalize resilience-based management. RRI’s first phase of work is focused on four World Heritage reef sites: Ningaloo Coast, Australia; Lagoons of New Caledonia; Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System; and Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, Palau. 

In each of these four sites, RRI funds capacity building and long-term resilience planning. This includes funding and support for a new leadership role, a Chief Resilience Officer, embedded within the local reef management authority, and partnership in the design of a holistic resilience strategy and practical local solutions. Throughout this work, RRI connects local communities and reef managers with multidisciplinary global experts and funding to implement on-ground actions.  

RRI is a collaboration between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Marine Programme, The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Network, Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, Resilient Cities Catalyst, and AECOM. The project is enabled by the BHP Foundation. 

Rock Islands South Lagoon, Palau. Photo: Sarah Castine

Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, Palau. Photo © Sarah Castine

Reef Resilience Framework

RRI’s Reef Resilience Framework presents three dimensions of reef resilience: Ecosystems, Community, and Governance. Each dimension is assigned attributes, with indicators identified to measure and assess the resilience of each attribute. This structure allows for the identification and prioritization of local threats and strengths, and aids the visualization of the connections across socio-ecological systems, all of which can be used to target areas for new actions and policies to improve system-wide resilience. The Framework establishes a model for operationalizing resilience-based management that can be tailored to local conditions anywhere and help local managers move beyond purely conservation-based actions. 

RRI's Reef Resilience Framework

RRI's Reef Resilience Framework


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