Find the recorded livestream of the Science-to-Policy Dialogue here.


Date: Tuesday, 5 July 2022, "Solutions Day", time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm, duration: 60 min

Location: In Bremen, Germany, at the 15th ICRS and streamed on the virtual platform

Room: Hansesaal (largest room of ICRS 2022 with space for all participants) as plenary event, i.e. no other simultaneous events taking place

ICRS 2022 Science-to-Policy Dialogue on Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge

Join us for an exciting Science-to-Policy Dialogue on the afternoon of the 5th of July 2022.

To involve all our participants you have the chance to answer the Science-to-Policy Dialogue Survey (link provided in the ICRS 2022 App). Your answers will then be included in the high-level discussion on stage.

The event, open to all Symposium participants and streamed live online, will feature the recent “Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge” paper, highlight what has been accomplished in the past year, and discuss what still needs to be done.

15 th ICRS 2022 - Science-to-Policy Dialogue

Time to act

The global coral reef crisis is scientifically based and extensively documented. The past 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) 2021 provided significant and groundbreaking contributions to this topic. The upcoming 15th ICRS 2022 gives a good overview of the very current situation and the opportunity to focus on solutions and interventions to address the challenging future of global coral reefs.

Since the last Symposium, the 14th ICRS 2021, a number of key negotiations, events and relevant meetings took place, including UNFCCC COP 26, UNEA 5, the World Food Summit and UN Oceans and the G7 summit, with negotiations progressing towards the long-awaited CBD COP 15 and a new Global Biodiversity Framework, as well as the 2022 G20 Summit.

A good and up-to-date overview of the global situation is the 2020 GCRMN (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network) Coral Reef Status Report (here). It is the first report of this kind since 2008. The bottom line is that the coral crisis has worsened. The global loss of stony corals between 2009 and 2018 alone is 14%. This is “more than all the coral currently living on Australia's coral reefs”.

For Germany, the Symposium comes at a pivotal time – the country has formed a new government with a strong emphasis on climate change, biodiversity conservation and a marine strategy. As of 2019, a German national has taken up the position as President of the European Commission spearheading the EU’s plan to become climate neutral by 2050. In addition, Germany holds the Presidency of the G7 in 2022.

It is time now to take action to save coral reefs as our most important ocean ecosystems. The 15th ICRS 2022 is of particular importance in this regard. Numerous scientific contributions will explore possible solutions to provide decision-makers with profound scientific information to take action.

In July 2021, in the framework of the 14th ICRS Virtual, also organized by the University of Bremen, a well-respected High Level Science Policy Dialogue moderated by Kristian Teleki (Global Ocean Program Director, World Resource Institute) took place. The event highlighted the urgency of taking action to conserve and restore reefs through protection and management measures (Click here to see the event 2021). The basis/background for the discussion was provided by the expert paper Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge (here), which has lost none of its actuality in the past year.

It outlined three Pillars of action to rebuild coral reefs (addressing climate change, improving local reef conditions, and harnessing innovation in particular for reef restoration) and called for a cross-sectional approach encompassing the three policy fields of climate change, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development.

As we want to move forward from last years’ achievements (with the event and publication) the upcoming Science-to-Policy Dialogue aims to create an exchange focusing on solutions, interventions and the interplay between science and policy. The event will be implemented during the "Solution Day", July 5th, of the 15th ICRS, 3-8 July 2022 in Bremen, Germany. This day will address possible solutions to the coral reef crisis. The preceding four plenary speeches and the scientific program has been arranged accordingly.

The Science-to-Policy Dialogue 2022 will be an in-person plenary event to enable maximum accessibility to the global coral reef community and all ICRS 2022 participants. Moreover, the event will be live streamed to provide maximum global participation and inclusion (here). Not only will the panelists discuss, but the audience will be provided with questions prior to the event via the conference app. The answers of the audience will be brought into the discussion by the moderator and will thus well engage the audience, despite the compact 60 min event.


The Science-to-Policy Dialogue will be moderated by Dr. David Obura, the Founding Director of CORDIO East Africa and contributing author of the expert paper (Rebuilding Coral Reefs: A Decadal Grand Challenge), who works at the interface between science and policy and co-chairs the IPBES Nexus Assessment (2022-24).



Dr. Bettina Hoffmann, H.H. Princess Mashael Saud AlShalan, Dr. Abdulla Naseer

Prof. Dr. Andrea Grottoli, Prof. Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner

Dr. Bettina Hoffmann

Dr. Bettina Hoffmann MdB was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection in 2021 and is a Member of Parliament in the German Green Party parliamentary group (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen). Bettina Hoffmann completed her studies in biology at Philipps University in Marburg with a doctorate. Until 2017, she was managing director of an agency for planning and communication in the field of environment, tourism and regional development. Since 2017, she has been a Member of Parliament. Until 2021, she was spokesperson for environmental policy and environmental health, a member of the Environment Committee and chairwoman of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Sustainable Development.

H.H. Princess Mashael Saud AlShalan

H.H. Princess Mashael Saud AlShalan

As an advocate of sustainable and equitable development, Mashael co- founded AEON COLLECTIVE, a cross-disciplinary Waqf that produces, curates and disseminates fact-based & culturally informed knowledge around sustainability in the kingdom. Equipped with the critical expertise to discuss complex topics, the collective aims to serve the country’s ambitions and enhance international, cross disciplinary dialogue.

Mashael advises on climate change policy, socioeconomic development and sustainability, and works with government entities and the private sector. Over the past nine years, Mashael has acquired a deep understanding of the dynamics surrounding international climate negotiations and climate related policies and regulations. She has co- authored several papers on climate policies, and continues to engage in global forums for on the topics of climate change, neutrality targets and sustainability.

Dr. Abdulla Naseer

Dr. Abdulla Naseer is Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change and Technology of the Republic of the Maldives. Dr. Naseer holds a PhD in coral reef biology and has previously worked as a Senior Lecturer at The Maldives National University.

Prof. Dr. Andrea Grottoli

Professor Grottoli received her BSc. from McGill University (1992), her PhD from the University of Houston (1998) and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California – Irvine (2000).  She and her team are focused on three areas of research: 1- determining what drives resilience in corals in the face of climate change, 2- reconstructing oceanographic conditions in the past based on coral skeletal isotope and trace metal records, and 3- the impact of land-use on the delivery of carbon to small tropical and temperate rivers. Grottoli’s current research is funded by the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation. She has won several awards including the F.W. Clarke Award in Geochemistry, the Mid-Career and the Best Paper Awards from the International Society for Reef Studies, and the Voyager Award from the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Section. She was recently recognized as a 2020-2021 Fulbright Scholar. She has published peer-reviewed journal articles in such journals as Nature, Nature Communications, and Global Change Biology, and she and her work have been featured on National Public Radio and several websites and newspapers. She is currently an Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the School of Earth Sciences at the Ohio State University, a Fellow of the International Coral Reef Society as well as a AAAS Fellow, President of the International Coral Reef Society, and the Director of the NSF-funded Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton

For over 40 years, Dr. Nancy Knowlton has studied and worked to protect ocean biodiversity. She was a professor at Yale University (1979 - 1984), staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá (1984 - 1998), professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1998 - 2007), and Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithonian`s National Museum of Natural History (2007 - 2019). She was the founding director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps, co-led the coral reef program within the Census of Marine Life, chaired the synthesis panel of the World Bank’s targeted research for coral reefs program, and has served on the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Coral Reef Alliance. She is the author of Citizens of the Sea, an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and currently serves on the Global Board of The Nature Conservancy. In 2021, Nancy Knowlton was lead author of the expert paper "Rebuilding Coral Reefs - A Decadal Grand Challenge“ and in 2022 at the 15th ICRS she is being awarded by the International Coral Reef Society with the prestigious Darwin Medal.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner

Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner’s work covers the effects of global warming, ocean acidification, and hypoxia on marine ecosystems, animals, and molecular as well as physiological bases of ecological processes. His research interests also span mechanisms setting thermal tolerance, as well as temperature dependent biogeography and evolution. Professor Pörtner is a full professor at University of Bremen and head of the section ‘Integrative Ecophysiology’ at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). He has served several roles (lead author, coordinating lead author) in previous assessment cycles of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Currently he serves as Co-Chair of the IPCC Working Group II (Impacts and Adaptation). His commitment to understanding the effects of changing climate factors on marine life are particularly important to ICRS 2022 trying to tackle the challenging future of coral reefs.

picture © Kerstin Rolfes/AWI

Social Media

Keep an eye on the ICRS 15 Social Media accounts for more insights. @icrs2022 #icrs2022