During November the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Sharm el-Sheikh took place, and for the first week, (17th-22nd November) of the convention at the fair on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) had a presence, in the form of an International Year of the Reef stand.
Visitors to the IYOR stand (pictured below) not only got to learn about the IYOR but they were given the chance to try virtual reality. The specially designed 360-degree video allowed viewers to dive into the coral reefs of the world. This opportunity received a widely enthusiastic response from the public, with many viewers audibly gasping at what they saw, and gave those who have never been scuba diving a truly unique experience.
On the morning of the 22nd of November, a presentation was given by Claire Rumsey at the CEPA fair all about the International Year of the Reef 2018. This included the history of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), and how they recognised the need to declare the International Year of the Reef in 1997, 2008 and now in 2018, as well as some of our favourite ways people have participated in and celebrated the IYOR.
We were lucky to have a number of guest speakers visit the stand, and give informal presentations on their work related to coral reefs. These included:
- Chuck Cooper of Vulcan Inc., who came to discuss the Allen Coral Atlas.
- Lauren Weatherdon of UNEP-WCMC, who shared her work on Ocean+.
- Ivy Tumua from Tuvalu who came to share the work Tuvalu is doing to protect their reefs.
Many thanks are given to those who took the time out of their very busy days to stop by to see and to talk to us.