UNEP Coral Reef Unit: The United Nations Environment Programme www.unep.org/coral established in December 2000 a new Coral Reef Unit that is taking a leading role in the international effort to save the planet's threatened coral reefs.

The Coral Reef Unit is responsible for UNEP's participation in the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), www.icran.org, a unique international collaboration of important organizations in coral reef science.

ICRAN's goal is to reverse the trend of global degradation of coral reefs and to maintain the biodiversity and health of reefs through practical action in the field.

This is in the hope of ensuring the sustainability of reefs for the people and communities whose livelihoods depend on them.

Among UNEPís most important partners are a broad range of Environmental Conventions and other international governmental and non-governmental bodies, and the Coral Reef Unit seeks to improve and promote their collaboration on coral reefs. Efforts are also made to further integrate these organizations with the International Coral Reef Initiative www.icriforum.org, the global coral reef policy body where UNEP is a founding member.

Through the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) partnership the Coral Reef Unit takes a lead role in the development of strategies for improved observations of coral reefs, both from satellites and in the field, which will support coral reef management and help preserve coral reefs for future generations.