08 Jul CTC Executive Director Receives ICRS World Reef Award in Bremen, Germany

CTC Executive Director Rili Djohani was selected for this year’s International Coral Reef Society’s World Reef Award “in recognition of her substantial conservation achievements.” She received her award at the closing session of 15th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) held in Bremen, Germany from July 3-8, 2022.  

The International Coral Reef Society was founded in 1980 and is the principal association to which coral reef scientists, managers and enthusiasts from across the world belong. The group’s mission is to promote the acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge to protect coral reefs for future generations. Its vision is to be a leader in coral reef scientific discovery, contribute to the education of future coral reef scientists, and to be a strong voice for science-based informing policies that protect coral reefs.

According to Dr. Carly J. Randall, Chair of the ICRS Honors and Awards Committee, Ms. Djohani’s nomination embodies the spirit of the World Reef Award, which is given “in recognition of scientific or conservation achievement by an individual who is a member of an under-represented demographic in the field of reef science or management.”

The ICRS World Reef Award is recognized with automatic ICRS Fellow status for life, a certificate and monetary award of US$2,500 to be spent at the awardees’ discretion on coral reef related activities. It was presented by ICRS Chair, Dr. Andréa G. Grottoli who is currently a full Professor and Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee in the School of Earth Sciences at the Ohio State University, a Fellow of the International Society for Reef Studies as well as a AAAS Fellow, and the Director of the NSF-funded Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network.

“During the pandemic, it was hard to recognize these people (who made significant contributions to coral reef ecosystems). Our award is in recognition in scientific or conservation achievement by an individual who is a member of an underrepresented demographic in the field of science or management,” said Dr. Andréa G. Grottoli.

In response, Ms. Djohani noted that she feels honoured to receive the award and thanked Dr. Rod Salm for nominating her.  “I worked closely on coral reef conservation the past few decades in Indonesia. The award means a lot to me and my team representing the Coral Triangle Center,  a local NGO based in Indonesia which I co-founded in 2010,” she said. (watch video of the award ceremony via this link: bit.ly/ICRSAward_RiliDjohani)

She added that CTC’s aim is to use the latest science and develop customized training programs to build local capacity for long term conservation in the Coral Triangle region, an epi-center for marine marine bio-diversity. “Our focus is on marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries and climate change, and with partners we develop mechanisms to scale up and accelerate capacity building in the region to support the 30 x 30 global initiative that is 30% of the oceans protected by 2030. For example through learning networks connecting MPA managers, local government executives and women leaders.”

Ms. Djohani also dedicated the award to the six countries of the Coral Triangle, namely Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. “I dedicate this award to the communities in the Coral Triangle and all the people who are at the front-lines of coastal and marine conservation, fishermen, indigenous groups, young people, women leaders. To be fair and effective we have to be inclusive in our efforts. No one should be left behind,” she added. Apart from receiving her award, Ms. Djohani also presented her paper:  ‘Scaling up capacity and collaboration via peer learning networks: lessons learned from the Women Leaders Forum in the Coral Triangle region’ during the conference. 

Another CTC team member, CTC Conservation Science Advisor, Marthen Welly also made an oral presentation at the 15th ICRS on the topic entitled “Enhancing Capacity for Coral Restoration in Indonesia by Implementing Scientifically Based Standards and Protocols.” Mr. Welly’s presentation focused on lessons learned in building local capacity for the enactment of scientific standards in coral restoration in Indonesia through the Indonesian coral reef restoration task force which CTC is implementing in collaboration with the Mars Sustainable Solutions.

The 15th ICRS, hosted by the University of Bremen, is the first virtual and climate-neutral world coral reef conference. Around 1,300 participants from 80 countries attended the event and produced a strategy paper on saving damaged coral reefs worldwide.

“The first virtual conference in the 50-year history of world coral reef conferences has been a complete success,” says Professor Christian Wild, head of the Marine Ecology group at the University of Bremen, who planned and hosted the conference together with his team. “Thanks to the virtual format, we were able to resume the desperately needed exchange of new scientific findings this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.” Over the course of a week, the virtual conference platform enabled the presentation of more than 850 scientific talks and posters to a total of 1,300 participants from 80 countries. The conference archive will remain open to participants for one year so that they can access presentations. “The research findings from the recently completed 15th International Coral Reef Symposium confirm that we are in the middle of a serious coral reef crisis and also indicate that the situation has worsened in comparison to the last status report of global coral reefs from the year 2008,” says Prof. Wild.


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