Blue Carbon Financing of Mangrove Conservation in the Abidjan Convention Region: A Feasibility Study

Ecuador Socio Manglar in Ecuador is a national initiative that is part of the Socio Bosque Programme established in 2008 and the National Governance Policy on Natural Heritage for Good Living. Mangroves were introduced into the Socio Bosque Programme in 2014 through a monetary incentive aimed at mangrove concessions. The objectives are to contribute to the consolidation of the concessions policy framework and efforts in mangrove control, monitoring and restoration, while improving the living conditions of communities and ancestral groups and providing financial support. The ultimate goal is to maintain sustainable use and custody agreements for at least 100,000 ha of mangrove area within four years. Madagascar Since 2011, Blue Ventures has been involved in projects in Madagascar to assess the feasibility of using blue carbon payments as a long-term financial mechanism for community-based mangrove management at two demonstration sites: 1) Ambaro-Ambanja Bay — a large- scale (26,000 ha of mangroves) VCS project, and 2) Bay of Assassins — a smaller (1,015 ha of mangroves) Plan Vivo project. The specific goals are to develop the technical and organizational capacities of local communities to sustainably manage their mangroves, to form the basis for future blue carbon payments. Management plans have been developed over an area of 10,492 ha of mangroves across sites and the management rights of over 23,000 coastal people have been secured through the establishment of a marine protected area (MPA) and five management transfers. Over 45 ha of mangroves have also been restored through community volunteer reforestation programmes. In addition, the project has held research and stakeholder consultations to develop blue carbon projects. The initiative has also estimated the carbon stock above and below ground (Jones, Ratsimba et al., 2014). Seychelles The Seychelles government has implemented debt swaps for adaptation or mitigation as an approach to complement carbon finance. The idea is that the coastal defence benefits of blue carbon would be an attractive proposition for re- insurers, who see advantages and cost effectiveness in maintaining and restoring blue carbon ecosystems and hence price environmental degradation in risk premium. In conclusion, the use of carbon finance in all of its forms to pay for maintenance of the blue carbon stocks in mangroves is nascent, and the above sample of projects are all small steps in mangrove conversion and sequestration capacity at the global level. It should, however, be noted that countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Senegal have actually been at the forefront of this effort, despite the limitations of data.

environmental community that carbon pollution is to be reduced such that the predicted global average temperature increase remains “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels (UNFCCC, 2015). The extent to which blue carbon will be able to play a role in achieving this target will depend on the development of market-specific methodologies to credibly measure, report and verify (MRV) greenhouse gas emissions from blue carbon ecosystems. Moving forward, the three biggest uncertainties for blue carbon projects to access large- scale carbon markets remain (1) the uncertainty of whether policies will be enacted to create carbon markets of global scale and breadth, (2) whether such markets will accept blue carbon conservation or restoration as credible activities, and (3) whether the influx of a large quantity of new offsets will “flood” the market, increase supply way above demand, resulting in a large drop in market price. With the finalization of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Tidal Wetland Restoration protocol (VCS, 2015), the entry of blue carbon payments into voluntary carbon markets is a real possibility and a significant opportunity to scale up financing. While voluntary or compliance carbon markets are only one way to generate payments for blue carbon projects and activities, they could play a positive role in developing financing capacity if the disparate regional carbon markets become linked or integrated in the future. These markets include thecompliance-drivenEuropeanUnion (EU) andSouth Korea Emissions Trading Schemes, the California-Quebec market, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and the voluntary Climate Action Reserve (CAR), VCS, and others that are currently developing and operating independently. Selected initial blue carbon projects around the globe Blue carbon demonstration sites for conservation and restoration projects have begun to emerge around the globe, demonstrating the use of a wide range of various financing mechanisms available to project developers or the countries with blue carbon resources that they set out to protect (Herr, Agardy et al., 2015; Ministerio del Ambiente, 2015). Projects listed below provide a snapshot of the range of current initiatives for indicative purposes, though it remains too early to assess impact or results from these efforts. UNEP/GEF Blue Forests Project Initiated in 2014, the Blue Forests Project (BFP) is a global initiative of UNEP supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and many project partners. Its goal is to demonstrate how the values of carbon and other ecosystem services values can be harnessed to achieve long-term blue carbon protection. The project includes national blue carbon demonstration and project sites in Ecuador (Socio Manglar), Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar (Blue Ventures), Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates. The project builds on a small- scale community-based blue carbon project in coastal Kenya (Mikoko Pamoja), and the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project.


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