Blue Carbon discussed at Rio+20 planning session

10 May 2012 | Article

In preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June this year, coastal carbon experts came together at a side event for the conference to discuss the role of Blue Carbon in sustainable development.

The event was held in New York on 26 April 2012 and organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International (CI). Experts and influential members who participated in the discussion include: Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN; Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN; Emily Pidgeon from CI’s Global Marine Division; Miguel Cifuentes from Costa Rica’s CATIE; David Gordon from Duke University; and Julian Barbière from UNESCO-IOC.

Panelists addressed the significance of coastal ecosystems not only for their benefits to local communities through fisheries production, coastal protection, tourism, and water quality, but also for the ability of these ecosystems to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and oceans and store it in plants and soils. The ability for these systems to effectively sequester carbon helps to mitigate global climate change. Participants specifically discussed the benefits of disaster risk reduction connected to coastal ecosystem protection as well as the carbon value in coastal ecosystems.

UNESCO-IOC, IUCN, and CI are the leading organizations of the International Blue Carbon Initiative, the first integrated program with a comprehensive and coordinated global agenda focused on mitigating climate change through the conservation and restoration of coastal marine ecosystems.