The Blue Carbon Initiative is a global program working to mitigate climate change through the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems. The Initiative currently focuses on mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses. The Blue Carbon Initiative brings together governments, research institutions, non-governmental organizations and communities from around the world. The Initiative is coordinated by Conservation International (CI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO).
The Blue Carbon Initiative works to
- Develop management approaches, financial incentives and policy mechanisms for ensuring the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of coastal blue carbon ecosystems;
- Engage local, national, and international governments in order to promote policies that support coastal blue carbon conservation, management and financing;
- Develop comprehensive methods for assessing blue carbon stocks and emissions;
- Implement projects around the world that demonstrate the feasibility of blue carbon accounting, management and incentive agreements; and
- Support scientific research into the role of coastal blue carbon ecosystems for climate change mitigation.
To achieve these goals, the Blue Carbon Initiative has formed Science and Policy working groups. The International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group identifies priority research areas, synthesizes current and emerging blue carbon research and provides the robust scientific basis for coastal carbon conservation, management and assessment. The International Blue Carbon Policy Working Group supports efforts to integrate blue carbon in existing international policy frameworks such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) among others. Members of both working groups routinely collaborate to ensure that qualified science forms the basis of sound policy.
Each Working Group convenes several times a year. The Scientific Working Group has met in Paris, France; Bali, Indonesia; and Quepos, Costa Rica. The Policy Working Group has met in Washington, DC, USA; Brussels, Belgium; and Guayaquil, Ecuador. At each Working Group meeting, the Initiative brings together international blue carbon science and policy experts to exchange knowledge and build local capacity.