International Coral Reef 
Action Network
ICRAN Strategic Plan
Draft of 23 June 2000
Component 3
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Component 3: Communication and Information Dissemination

The third emphasis of ICRAN will be to effectively communicate the value and importance of the world's coral reefs, the threats to their sustainability and the actions needed to protect them. This communication and information dissemination component will ensure that the information obtained from the other ICRAN components will be widely available and put to the best possible use in support of ICRAN's implementation, as well as coral reef management and conservation in general. The public information network to be developed as part of this component will operate at global, regional and local levels. Outreach and education efforts will use the power and cost-effectiveness of the Internet and electronic messaging whenever possible to minimize the expense of linking communities and sharing information and lessons learned; low-tech alternatives will be employed where electronic communication is impractical. 

Information collected or generated for ICRAN, including all learning experiences from the ICM and MPA work, will be incorporated into ReefBase and widely disseminated in a series of professional-quality reports aimed at policy makers and the general public. ReefBase will be tied to a range of Internet websites and in particular the ICRI Electronic Partnership Forum, so that information products can be readily available to the global community of practice. 

A. Public Information Campaign (CORAL)

ICRAN will build on the success of the International Year of the Reef 1997 Public Awareness Campaign to launch a cost-effective public information campaign. In coordination with the ICRI-CPC, The International Coral Reef Information Network (ICRIN) and ICRAN's public awareness component will share similar initial objectives. The priorities for ICRIN will parallel those of ICRAN as a whole, focusing initially on key sectors (such as tourism and fishing) and in geographic regions (such as the Caribbean and East Africa) where significant ICRAN activities are taking place. 

The public information campaign will include: 

1. A core program which will use a broad range of media, the Internet, videos, advertisements and press releases to educate the public, draw attention to coral reef issues of global importance and to promote the work of ICRAN; 

2. Outreach efforts targeted at specific regions and sectors with an initial focus on key decision-makers in those areas; and 

3. A village-level component which would include area-specific educational packages to be used by local NGOs, schools and community groups, particularly in developing countries with coral reefs. 

Whenever possible, ICRIN will act as a reference for existing materials and programs rather than developing new ones. ICRIN will facilitate the production of essential information resources when it is determined that they do not already exist. To maximize efficiency, ICRIN will be coordinated with national and regional public outreach and education efforts including the United States Coral Reef Task Force. ICRIN will take advantage of the photogenic qualities of coral reefs by making extensive use of film, video, still images and graphics in its public awareness campaigns. Certain target audiences will be polled before and after public awareness projects to evaluate those projects' impact, and to assist in the continuous improvement of outreach techniques and materials. 

Priorities & Outputs

The global ICRIN awareness raising program will provide the overall strategy and coordination of public information projects. It will create and maintain a database of available outreach materials, research effectiveness of materials and techniques, select materials to be translated and widely distributed, act as clearinghouse for selected materials, identify gaps in existing materials and assist with the development of new materials as needed. It will also oversee Internet communications (web site and email lists) and help manage publicity (including media relations) for ICRAN projects. A coral reef image bank that makes copyright-free photographs and video images (of healthy and damaged reefs) available to coral reef conservation and education organizations would be an important output of this program. 

Outputs will include reports aimed at influential private sector and government leaders, and public information messages tailored to specific audiences, such as educational videos for airline and cruise passengers. The village-level approach will use proven, low-technology materials and techniques (such as posters, teaching kits for schools and community dramas) to support efforts by local NGOs, educational and community groups to reach village populations in remote coral reef areas. 

Every effort will be made to ensure that ICRIN is open and fully collaborative with coral reef conservation and education efforts currently being established worldwide. Close collaboration will be sought between CORAL and other international and regional NGOs, including the IUCN member organizations in coral reef regions and the WWF regional offices. Furthermore, close links will be established with national and locally run groups in all countries. 

B. Data Storage and Dissemination (ICLARM)

ReefBase is the global database on coral reefs that serves as a repository for data from many sources, including the GCRMN. Established in 1993, this widely disseminated system involves a team of coral reef experts that extract quantitative data from articles and reports, and convert data from computer files to complete both biophysical and socioeconomic data tables. 

The system also provides a range of graphic products including aerial photos, space shuttle and satellite imagery and maps of coral reefs provided by the WCMC. The database has played key roles in many recent studies, including the 1995 State of the Reefs Report (on behalf of ICRI), the 1998 Reefs at Risk Report, and the 1999 report on the acidification of the world's oceans as a result of climate change. A GIS-based version of Reef Base will be available in 2001. 

ICLARM remains highly committed to continuing the development of ReefBase so that it is an effective repository of information for ICRAN, and all other coral reef initiatives. To do this, ReefBase needs to be relevant, easy to use, attractive and widely supported. During the action phase, the needs and suggestions of the partners, and a broad selection of current and prospective users, will be canvassed so that the database can be modified to achieve these aims. A user's group will be convened on a regular basis, so that a mechanism is established for continual feedback and modification of ReefBase. 


ReefBase will host all ICRAN's information products, including all data and reports. The data will be available through the Internet and CD-ROMs in a user-friendly information system. ReefBase will also allow users to co-analyze data from different sources, such as the health of reefs and the economic status of reef-dependent people. Current operations will double in intensity, so that virtually all existing information on coral reefs will be rescued from loss and deterioration, consolidated, permanently archived and repatriated—and made available to people in the countries from which it was obtained. 

C. Information Networking, Action and Diplomacy (ICRI Secretariat)

The ICRI Secretariat (and its Coordinating and Planning Committee - the ICRI-CPC) provides international linkages among all stakeholders concerned with managing coral reef resources, including those participating in ICRAN. ICRI works toward this goal through a network of governments, their agencies and operational units through high-level diplomacy. The ICRI is hosted by a rotating Secretariat (currently France), with the hosting Government providing operational support. However, the ICRI-CPC has historically been resource-constrained. 

To enhance ICRI's diplomatic effectiveness, particularly in regard to global coordination among governments, the current ICRI Secretariat is developing a comprehensive database of coral reef projects to improve the understanding of activities and where gaps exist, to better understand where new projects are needed, and to review progress. This database can serve as the beginning of a performance score-card, to help keep track of progress made in each of the ICRI member countries in implementing parts of the framework for action. This could be used in future gatherings to summarize progress and recognize achievements and exceptional contributions. 

Also an electronic partnership forum, bringing together organizations dealing with the protection of coral reefs, is currently being developed for ICRI within the World Bank, and will be expanded and managed with the help of dedicated stewards and moderators of the ICRI partnership. The ICRI Secretariat has also assisted in the development and running of national ICRI committees to strengthen national coral reef initiatives. "10 Questions and Answers for Coral Reefs" have been developed for broad dissemination. 

ICRI's Role and Priorities for ICRAN

Because ICRAN seeks to implement the major elements of the ICRI Framework for Action, ICRI serves an important role in the ICRAN Management Board and Steering Committee (see Section IV). ICRAN needs the benefit of ICRI's diplomatic channels in leveraging financial support, and in helping to facilitate communication between governments and ICRAN activities. 


The ICRI Secretariat's activities will involve: 

- official correspondence to coral reef countries within each of the RSPs to request assistance in providing information on behalf of ICRAN (for example, information on policies and existing legislation) 

- use of diplomatic channels and follow-through to encourage governments to specifically earmark resources for UNEP Regional Trust Fund Accounts, so that they can be used specifically for ICRAN's Implementation activities 

- development and maintenance of a performance scorecard 

- support for stewardship of the electronic partnership forum (in partnership with the World Bank) 

- assistance to ICRAN in organizing regional workshops on cross-regional issues 

- assistance to MPA managers with just-in-time information, to enhance communication and share knowledge. 

D. Training of Trainers in Integrated Coastal Management for Coral Reef Areas (ICLARM & UNDP-DOALOS)

Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) is identified in the ICRI Framework for Action as the principle means by which the coral reefs of the world can be better managed and conserved. An important concept of ICM is co-management, which implies that policies and resources at the national and provincial level must be focused on the support of management activities at the local scale; it also involves the devolution of responsibility for local resources to local people. Therefore, training in support of ICM must address several levels of government, with particular emphases on local and provincial governments. 

An ICM training expert will review all existing training materials from around the world. The expert will also frame the components of national needs assessments, and gather experiences from training programs initiated in the start-up year in the Caribbean, as well as recommendations from the start-up review of coastal management success and failure. In close partnership with the UNDP Train-Sea-Coast (TSC), ICRAN will develop a global network of trained trainers to continue the work of ICM training far beyond the ICRAN project. The trainers will be fully qualified to locally adapt training materials and to support the training of coral reef managers and stakeholders in all coral reef areas. This activity will build on the experience gathered in the Regional Seas and on the regionally adapted training material for management of Marine Protected Areas that has been compiled in the Caribbean and in the Eastern African region. 


A formal needs assessment in selected countries will be conducted, and the work will result in sample packages (for two or more levels of governance) consisting of two parts - material that is applicable globally in all training packages, and material that is regionally or nationally specific. For the latter material, approaches will be developed to obtain the necessary information and to use it to develop course materials. This activity will build on existing information and training material. In many cases, ICRAN activities such as the ICM/MPA capacity building, ReefBase/RAMP, Reef Mapping, GCRMN, Fisheries/Mariculture, and Valuation and Policy studies will provide the necessary information for training. Finally, a series of courses will be conducted in cooperation with TSC resulting in a global network of trained trainers in ICM to continue the work far beyond ICRAN's Action Phase. 

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