About IYOR

The Third International Year of the Reef

At their 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef (IYOR) (view the recommendation in French, English, Spanish) and encouraged its members to:

  • Strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and their associated ecosystems;
  • Promote partnerships between Governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • Identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • Share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.

ICRI encourages its members to support and participate in planning for IYOR 2018, and to facilitate the development of national level IYOR activities. For more information, contact the ICRI Secretariat.


1997 was declared the first International Year of the Reef (IYOR) in response to the increasing threats on coral reefs and their associated ecosystems, such as mangrove forests and seagrass beds. IYOR was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs, and to support related conservation, research and management efforts. Over 225 organisations in 50 countries and territories participated, and over 700 articles in papers and magazines were generated, and hundreds of scientific surveys were undertaken.

Recognising that, ten years later, there continued to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage these valuable ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the second International Year of the Reef (Resolution to Designate 2008 as the International Year of the Reef).

IYOR 2008 was a year-long campaign of events and initiatives hosted by Governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) around the world, to promote conservation action and strengthen long-term collaborations for coral reef conservation.

IYOR 2008 Goals were the following:

  • Strengthen awareness about ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Improve understanding of the critical threats to reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
  • Generate urgent action to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.

Nations, organisations, and individuals around the world celebrated the IYOR 2008: from international organisations to small communities, to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and to motivate people to take action to protect them. A tremendous amount of material was produced in several languages during that year, including educational DVDs, posters, children’s books, and much more. More than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world. IYOR 2008 has now come to an end, but the spirit lives on…

To learn more about the IYOR 2008 accomplishments, download the IYOR Report.

Increasing public awareness is an essential element of coral reef conservation, and is necessary to ensure that the value of, and the threats to, coral reefs are understood by the general public. Initiatives must reflect national and regional priorities as well as local culture, knowledge and must facilitate public involvement in coral reef conservation related activities.

ICRI members adopted a recommendation on continuing coral reef awareness efforts during IYOR.