World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides objective, scientifically rigorous and focused information on global biodiversity and the sustainable use of the world's living resources.

Since 1993, UNEP-WCMC has been developing the most detailed global map of coral reefs. This information represents a critical part of the increasing information base now available describing coral reefs world-wide.

The World Atlas of Coral Reefs will combine:

  • Nearly 100 full colour maps showing the distribution of coral reefs at national and sub-national levels. All maps will show the location of reefs, mangroves, marine protected areas, dive centres and population centres;
  • Detailed texts describing the distribution of coral reefs, biodiversity patterns, human uses and stresses;
  • Data tables providing information on biodiversity, reef areas, human use and threats;
  • A global section looking at the distribution of coral reefs and biodiversity; the use of reefs by humans; and also the techniques involved in mapping reefs;
  • Numerous photographs illustrating places, themes, coral reefs and resident organisms;
  • Photographs from NASA, taken by space shuttle astronauts showing reefs around the world.

This work has been undertaken in collaboration with numerous partners including the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources (ICLARM), member governments of the International Coral Reef Initiative and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. To date, support has largely been provided by UNEP with additional help from the Dulverton Trust.