Pacific Blue Carbon Initiative

The International Partnership for Blue Carbon, launched by the Australian Government at COP21 in Paris, brings together governments, non-profit organisations, and research organisations to increase attention and demand action on coastal blue carbon ecosystems.

At COP23 in Bonn, Germany, the governments of Fiji and Australia partnered to host the Pacific Blue Carbon Initiative: Promoting Coastal Ecosystems.

The Partnership focused on coastal blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses) and offered an opportunity to highlight the importance of oceans and coastal ecosystems in the Pacific and the link between their health and the impacts of, and solutions to, climate change. Coastal blue carbon ecosystems contain more sequestered carbon per square metre than almost any other ecosystem. Yet they are among the most threatened ecosystems with significant losses occurring worldwide.

Protecting and restoring coastal blue carbon ecosystems limits additional emissions, protects existing stored carbon, and increases carbon sequestration. It also captures a range of co-benefits such as protection from extreme weather events, mitigation against slow-onset climate impacts such as rising sea levels and ocean acidification, biodiversity conservation, food security and sustainable livelihoods including through tourism.

These are important ecosystems in the Pacific – mangroves in the Federated States of Micronesia equate to 12% of its land area, and 10% in PNG and Palau. And the Pacific is leading the way in bringing blue carbon into future actions under the Paris Agreement through inclusion in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (including Fiji, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu).

More can be done to highlight the significance of these ecosystems, promote the importance of bringing blue carbon into future actions under the Paris Agreement, and explore action required to strengthen protection and restoration efforts including through attracting private sector investment. The event at COP23 served to:

  • Press key messages on the value of coastal blue carbon ecosystems, particularly in the Pacific.
  • Highlight existing Pacific efforts on coastal blue carbon ecosystems.
  • Profile substantial ridge to reef programs being developed in the Pacific for funding through climate finance mechanisms.
  • Map opportunities to progress this work over the next year, including through the International Partnership for Blue Carbon.
  • Discuss possible regional workshop to share experience in including blue carbon in national greenhouse gas inventories and/or holding the next Partnership meeting in the Pacific

Read more at the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.