Asia-Pacific countries propose mangroves and blue carbon for national climate mitigation and adaptation strategy

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Asia-Pacific countries propose mangroves and blue carbon for national climate mitigation and adaptation strategy

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Yogyakarta, 24th April 2018 — Policymakers, civil society organizations, private sectors, and research community were gathered at The 3rd Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit (APRS). The APRS is a biennial meeting of Asia-Pacific countries who concern to the future direction of rainforest conservation strategy under the developing world. The first APRS was held in Sydney, Australia while the second was organized in Brunei Darussalam. The current summit theme was “Protecting forests and people, supporting economic growth”, and was attended by more than 1200 participants from various institutions across 40 countries.

The first day of the summit was a high-level dialogue, attended by environmental ministers from various countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, The Philipines, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, which highlighted the critical forests roles for national emission reduction strategy and should be considered explicitly into National Determined Contributions (NDCs). The discussion also highlighted the crucial issue on multi-stakeholders partnership and financial aspects for the future of forest conservation management strategy.

Mangroves and other blue carbon ecosystems received lots of recognition from almost all high-level dialogue panelists, with emphasizing the multiple roles of these ecosystems in storing substantial amounts of organic carbon storage, protecting the coastal community from storm surge, tsunami and sea level rise, and preserving coastal biodiversity hotspot.

The second day, I presented my works at mangrove and blue carbon session that organized by International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC), Department of Environment and Energy of Australia, and Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The presenters in this session were very well represented by policymakers, NGOs, and universities from across the region. The meeting was started with the overview of current state of mangrove and blue carbon conditions in Asia-Pacific region, especially Australia, Pacific countries, and Myanmar. The session was followed by in-depth presentations from various updates and ongoing initiatives on the blue carbon potential assessments and monitoring projects. Despite unsolved challenges in preserving remained natural and restoring degraded blue carbon ecosystems, there are opportunities of including these valuable coastal wetlands into NDCs and promoting them in other conservation-based financial schemes such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES). Countries should adopt recent 2013 IPCC Wetlands Supplement for their detailed guideline for blue carbon emission measurement and reporting systems.

During the field trip, we were also visiting nearby created mangroves in Baros, Southern Yogya and learning how restoration works at the local scale with involving coastal community engagement. The local community plants mangrove seedlings across the lagoon due to their awareness to protect their area from storm surges and support their livelihoods via increasing fisheries outcomes. The local community has learned how mangroves could effectively defend their agricultural area and houses from recent tropical cyclone Cempaka.

Promoting mangrove blue carbon values during the high-level regional meeting is critical for the current coastal-based climate policy development processes.