At the boundary between science and action, David works to integrate conservation and development through inclusive blue economy principles and links provided by global sustainability goals and targets. He works from the local scale, through fostering innovative action to promote sustainability, through regional scale alignment and integration, to global scales, bringing knowledge and local-regional practice into decision-making contexts. David serves on the Earth Commission (2019-2022), contributing to describing a ‘safe and just corridor’ into the future, for people and planet.
Coral reefs are iconic, yet local to global pressures on them are worsening, and taking them to the brink of collapse. Reaching out to non-scientists and the public is essential to create the change needed for sustainability. David has contributed in multiple fora such as The Conversation Africa, the Guardian/Observer, major TV (South African Broadcasting Company, Al Jazheera, BBC) and film (e.g. Vamizi, Cradle of Coral; Chasing Coral; Blue in Focus).
Mid-2022 – ongoing work on global science-policy processes – biodiversity, coral reefs, climate, sustainability.
Moran of the Burning Spear, December 2021 – awarded by Kenya’s President, for work on ocean sustainability issues in national and international fora.
Coral Reef Conservation Award, 2022 – awarded by the International Coral Reef Society, in recognition of a regionally or globally significant contribution to the protection of coral reefs.
Fellow, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, 2007.
CORDIO East Africa – https://cordioea.net/davidobura (this page)
- Google scholar – https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Z4RL3A8AAAAJ&hl=en
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-obura-a6554547/
- Loop (FrontiersIn) – https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/178148/overview
- Academia.edu – https://cordioea.academia.edu/DavidObura
- Bio page – Kenya Airways inflight magazine (p. 20).
- Expert groups
- Co-Chair, IPBES Nexus Assessment, 2022-24 – https://ipbes.net/nexus.
- Lead Negotiator (Oceans), Kenya delegation to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 26, Glasgow November 2021.
- IPBES/IPCC Workshop report on biodiversity and climate change, November 2020-May 2021. Report.
- Earth Commission, Global Commons Alliance/Future Earth – https://earthcommission.org/
- High Level Panel on Ocean Sustainability – Technical Working Group (Kenya) and Science Advisory Network.
- IUCN Coral Specialist Group (chair) (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) – https://www.coralspecialistgroup.org/
- IPBES Global Assessment – Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 2: Nature subsection
- National Geographic Explorer. Updating the global coral Red List of Threatened Species
- Informal Advisory Group (IAG), Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas, CBD Secretariat
- GOOS Biodiversity and Ecosystems Panel (Global Ocean Observing System, UNESCO-IOC)
- GCRMN – Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, Technical development and coordination
- bioDISCOVERY (Steering Committee)
- Northern Mozambique Channel – Core Team/Strategic Advisor
- Science-writing for general audience – The Conversation-Africa and Medium.
- “17 Rooms” podcast – A local problem-solving framework that benefits people and oceans
- Nature Insight: Speed-dating with Nature. IPBES podcast – the New Natural – https://podcasts.apple.com/
- Global biodiversity and ecosystem services, IPBES, Paris – 6 May 2018 – The Guardian and National Public Radio
- BBC radio – Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, Nairobi – 26 Nov 2018 (45:20 to 49:18)
- The Guardian/Observer newspaper, 11 November 2018, by Jonathan Watts
- Al Jazheera, Counting the cost, Africa’s blue economy – 30 July 2018 (15:38 – 21:40)
- South Africa Broadcasting Corp, News story, Africa’s declining biodiversity – 22 May 2018
Some recent/indicative references (see full list in downloadable CV):
- Obura, DO. (2021) Bringing the Sustainable Development Goals to life through stories. Current Conservation 15.2 (online; illustrations by Parul Sinha).
- Obura, D, Katerere, Y, Mayet, M, Kaelo, D, et al. Integrating biodiversity targets from local to global levels (2021). Science vol. 373:746-748, DOI: 10.1126/science.abh2234.
- Pörtner H-O, Scholes RJ, Agard J, et al (2021) IPBES-IPCC co-sponsored workshop report on biodiversity and climate https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo. 5101133
- Bennett NJ, Katz L, Yadao – Evans W, et al. (2021) Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation. Front. Mar. Sci. 8:711538. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.711538
- Nicholson, E., Watermeyer, K.E., Rowland, J.A., et al. (2021) Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework Nature Ecology and Evolution, doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01538-5.
- Rockström J, Gupta J, Lenton TM, et al (2021) Identifying a safe and just corridor for people and the planet. Earth’s Future. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EF001866
- Díaz S, Zafra-Calvo N, Purvis A, et al (2020) Set ambitious goals for biodiversity and sustainability. Science 370:411–413. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abe1530
- Obura, D.O. (2020) Getting to 2030 – scaling effort to ambition through a narrative model of the SDGs. Marine Policy 117: 103973.
- Rogers Alex D., et al. (2020) Critical Habitats and Biodiversity: Inventory, Thresholds and Governance. Blue Paper 10, High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean. www.oceanpanel.org
- Díaz S, Settele J, Brondízio ES, Ngo HT, Agard J et al. (2019) Pervasive human-driven decline of life on Earth points to the need for profound change. Science 366, eaax3100: 1-10
- Obura DO, et al. (2019) Coral Reef Monitoring, Reef Assessment Technologies, and Ecosystem-Based Management. Mar. Sci. 6:580. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00580
- McLeod E., Anthony K.R.N., Mumby P.J., Maynard J., Beeden R., Graham N.A.J., Heron S.F., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Jupiter S., MacGowan P., Mangubhai S., Marshall N., Marshall P.A., McClanahan T.R., Mcleod K., Nyström M., Obura D.O., Parker B., possingham H.P., Salm R.V., & Tamelander J. (2019) The future of resilience-based management in coral reef ecosystem Journal of Environmental Management, 233, 291–301
- Popova E., Vousden D., Sauer W.H.H., Mohammed E.Y., Allain V., Downey-Breedt N., Fletcher R., Gjerde K.M., Halpin P.N., Kelly S., Obura D.O., Pecl G., Roberts M., Raitsos D.E., Rogers A., Samoilys M., Sumaila U.R., Tracey S., & Yool A. (2019) Ecological connectivity between the areas beyond national jurisdiction and T coastal waters: Safeguarding interests of coastal communities in developing countries. Marine Policy, 104, 90–102.
- Obura, D.O. The Three Horses of Sustainability—Population, Affluence and Technology. Preprints2018, 2018120176 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201812.0176.v1)
- Obura, DO (2018) Ocean health in the blue economy. In: A Handbook on the Blue Economy in the Indian Ocean Region. Editor: Prof VN Attri. Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ESRC/S Africa.
- Obura D, et al. (2018) East and southern Africa – coastal and ocean futures. Northern Mozambique Channel initiative (WWF/CORDIO), www.wiofutures.net.
- Obura, DO (2017) Refilling the coral reef glass. Science 357 (6357): 1215 DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5002
- Obura, DO et al. Reviving the Western Indian Ocean Economy: Implementing the SDGs to sustain a healthy ocean economy. WWF International/Boston Consulting Group/CORDIO.
- Obura DO, et al. (2017) The Northern Mozambique Channel – a capitals approach to a Blue Economy future. In: Handbook on the Economics and Management for Sustainable Oceans. Editors: Svansson LE, Nunes PALD, Kumar P & Markandya A. Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Costello M.J., et al. (2016) Methods for the Study of Marine Biodiversity. The GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks (ed. by M. Walters and R.J. Scholes), pp. 129–163. Springer.
- Obura, DO (2017), An Indian Ocean centre of origin revisited: Palaeogene and Neogene influences defining a biogeographic realm. Journal of Biogeography. 43:229–242 doi: 10.1111/jbi.12656
- Freestone, D. et al. (2016) World Heritage in the High Seas: An Idea Whose Time Has Come. World Heritage Centre reports, #44, United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization. 79 pp.
- Sale PF, & 24 others. (2014) Transforming management of tropical coastal seas to cope with challenges of the 21st century. Marine Pollution Bulletin: 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.06.005
- Hoegh-Guldberg O. et al. (2013) Indispensable Ocean. Aligning ocean health and human well-being. Guidance from the Blue Ribbon Panel to the Global Partnership for Oceans
- Obura, DO (2012) The diversity and biogeography of Western Indian Ocean reef-building corals. PLOS ONE. 1371/0045013.
- Obura DO. (2009) Reef corals bleach to resist stress. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58:206-212. DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.10.002
- Carpenter KE, et al. (2008). One-Third of Reef-Building Corals Face Elevated Extinction Risk from Climate Change and Local Impacts. Science 321: 560-563
- Obura DO (2005) Resilience and climate change – lessons from coral reefs and bleaching in the Western Indian Ocean. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 603: 353-372.