UNEP Launches “Blue Carbon” Concept

25 February 2010: In a joint statement released at the 11th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is taking place in Bali, Indonesia, from 24–26 February 2010, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Indonesian Minister for Marine Affairs and FisheriesFadel Muhammad emphasized the role of marine and coastal ecosystems in the fight against climate change.

According to the statement, the concept of "Blue Carbon," which was introduced by UNEP in cooperation with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), emphasizes the ability of marine and coastal ecosystems to sequester carbon. These ecosystems, which are dominated by marine vegetation such as mangrove forests, seagrass, brackish marshes and salt marshes, are believed to be able to complement the role of forests (Green Carbon) in taking up carbon emissions through sequestration. Steiner underlined that "if the world is to decisively deal with climate change, every source of emissions and every option for reducing these should be scientifically evaluated and brought to the international community's attention.” [Joint Statement] [UNEP Press Release]