UNESCO’s Blue Carbon Working Group Holds First Meeting

17 February 2011: The "Blue Carbon" International Scientific Working Group of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met from 15-17 February 2011, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, to discuss the implications of using coastal "blue" carbon as a conservation and management tool contributing to climate change mitigation and the development of associated conservation financing mechanisms.

The working group aims to gather scientific evidence to: determine the role of coastal vegetated ecosystems, such as mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, in carbon storage and sequestration; encourage the inclusion of these systems in national carbon accounting; and consider their conservation and restoration as a viable mitigation strategy under existing climate regulation policies.

At its first meeting, the Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group: identified coastal carbon hot spots; created a draft definition for carbon-rich coastal ecosystems, considering local and regional scales; considered methodologies for carbon accounting in mangroves and wetlands; and discussed the possible quantification of emissions associated with the degradation of coastal ecosystems. The meeting concluded with the adoption of recommendations for coastal carbon management. [Blue Carbon Working Group Website] [UNESCO IOC Press Release]