Effective management of coastal ‘blue carbon’ systems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses, requires implementation of strategic policy and financing mechanisms – most of which are already in place, as for example Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
Developing an action plan for blue carbon policy was at the heart of discussions during the first workshop of the International Blue Carbon Policy Working Group, convened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservational International (CI), and the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO from July 12-14, 2011 at CI headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. International experts identified a set of policy opportunities, activities and milestones for strategically advancing and implementing blue carbon under international and regional climate, ocean and coastal policy frameworks.
The International Blue Carbon Policy Working Group was formed to identify and support the implementation of blue carbon elements through existing international policies and mechanisms. This group, along with the International Blue Carbon Science Working Group , are part of the Blue Carbon Initiative, a consortium led by IUCN, CI, and IOC-UNESCO, working with partners from national governments, research institutions, NGOs, coastal communities, intergovernmental and international bodies and other relevant stakeholders.
Activities planned for the next six months include publishing research and policy guidance for the inclusion of blue carbon in existing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanisms such as National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and REDD+, collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and continued development of carbon accounting methodologies for wetlands for the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and other activities, including national assessments and pilot projects.