Participating in the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, June 27-July 1 2022, IOJI representatives organized and moderated an interim panel on blue carbon – a very important topic in efforts to preserve the marine environment in Indonesia.
It was not without reason when the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, opened the 2022 UN Ocean Conference accompanied by four key recommendations offered to world stakeholders.
Each of them is (1) using the sea as a model for managing world food problems, (2) protecting people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the sea, (3) investing in the sea-based food and renewable energy sector and (4) investing in an early warning system to protect coastal communities.
For Guterres, these four could open new horizons for a future that is “just and sustainable, and makes a difference, both for the oceans and for the people who depend on them.”
The Horizon should also be fought for on the coast; upstream area for blue carbon ecosystem (BCE); crucial support in handling the global climate crisis.
Blue carbon ecosystems take a special place during the second ocean conference that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal in late June to early July 2022 with the theme “Scaling Up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of SDG Goal 14: Stocktaking, Partnership and Solutions”.
Mangrove forests are the axis of each BCE. Spanning coastlines in all tropical regions of the world, the dense roots of mangroves store carbon equivalent to the annual emissions of 90,000 cars. As one of the countries with the largest sea area of 6.4 million square kilometers in the world, this event is important for Indonesia, especially to understand the status and updates on progress achieved in the global, multilateral and bilateral spheres.
Unfortunately, BCE – an important habitat for the various coastal biodiversity that live beneath it and as a source of livelihood for coastal communities – is often overlooked as a solution to the climate crisis.
At least it was, before stakeholders met in Lisbon last summer.
As a host–with Kenya–Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa underlined that the conference “is taking place at the right time, place and approach when the world needs the sea as an agent of peace and security, health, environmental resilience as well as sustainable development.”
Funding related to the world’s oceans goals, said Kenya’s then President, Uhuru Kenyatta, “was the lowest on the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The United Nations sets 19 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Life under water is SDG 14. The President of Kenya urged the delegates attending the conference to immediately move from ideas to science and innovation-based actions.
In particular, he also urged countries around the world to invest more in efforts to strengthen sustainable blue carbon. “We need to work together and collaborate so that the Earth remains blue,” he said.
Evidence of this collaboration began to appear two years ago in the Caribbean, Colombia. The mangrove project on the Caribbean coast– developed by Conservation International, the Colombian government and several other partners–became the first to enter the carbon market. The effort in the 11,000 hectare mangrove forest area is predicted to absorb nearly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide for up to 30 years – roughly the equivalent of removing 184,000 cars from the road for a year. On the sidelines of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, IOJI representatives met with Mari Elka Pangestu, former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, who also served as Executive Director of Development Policy and World Bank Partnerships.
IOJI was involved in three activities while in Lisbon, namely:
The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, stressed the importance of blue carbon in dealing with the climate crisis. He invited countries around the world to work together to produce science-based solutions to strengthen the benefits of blue carbon, both for the sea and for coastal communities.
The two discussions also focused on a similar conclusion: blue carbon projects need to incorporate best practice principles for carbon trading that are not only sustainable, but also equitable.
We hope that in the future the UN Secretary General will no longer stand behind the pulpit and repeat what he said at the opening of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference: “The World is in Ocean Emergency” because actions, solutions and partnerships for marine sustainability and justice have been realized effectively.