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

4. Key messages and recommendations: a road map to capturing the potential for blue carbon payments inWest, Central and Southern Africa

particular attention paid to the poorer and most vulnerable people, such as women, children, the elderly and the physically challenged; transparency; plural and inclusive participation at each step of the project, from its conception to its application and monitoring) and finally recognition (TEK, land tenure, social needs, and identity claims). As no one knows these mysterious forests better than the local people, without their inclusion, no initiative will succeed. It simply cannot be overstated that all efforts to secure international payments for blue carbon in West, Central and Southern Africa must consider these three dimensions of environmental justice. On this basis, a set of ‘blue carbon investment principles’ are proposed for West, Central and Southern Africa, to ensure that all transactions are consistent with the three dimensions of environmental justice. Top blue carbon investment opportunities for West, Central and Southern Africa Over 93 per cent of estimated area of mangroves in West, Central and Southern Africa can be found in seven countries (Table 7).

The West, Central and Southern African communities and countries could explore global funding for mangrove conservation, in payment for the carbon sequestration function of these ecosystems. While mangroves provide many well-documented benefits for communities along the coast of West, Central and Southern Africa, including protection from flooding and nursery areas for commercially important fish stocks, they also provide carbon storage for which the international community may be willing to pay. Hence if communities can capitalize on the global benefits to fund the costs of local conservation and benefits, this may be an additional pathway to poverty reduction in some cases. Following the Paris COP in 2015, a number of opportunities are emerging or continuing that may provide useful sources of capital to finance conservation of West, Central and Southern African mangroves, including cap-and-trade under the UNFCCC, large non-UNFCCC dependent cap-and-trade schemes such as the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS), large national schemes, subnational schemes, or the voluntary carbonmarket. The recommendations in this chapter attempt to summarize existing information and draft a road map that would allow the region to move forward in exploring international financing for blue carbon projects. As a starting point for these recommendations, the three dimensions of environmental justice — distribution, procedures and recognition (Schlosberg, 2013; Walker, 2012) — must be reiterated as the foundation for any blue carbon payments. That is, distribution (carbon to whom and provided by whom? Sharing of benefits – material and immaterial, direct and indirect; compensation, and alternatives of traditional uses), procedures (fairness, with

1. Nigeria (857,000 ha) 2. Guinea-Bissau (280,600 ha) 3. Guinea (188,900 ha) 4. Cameroon (148,300 ha) 5. Gabon (145,700 ha) 6. Sierra Leone (120,000 ha) and 7. Senegal (95,500 ha).

From these seven countries, specific initial opportunities might be identified based on consideration of risks, for example using the following risk matrix as a tool:


Mitigation Measures

Type of Risk

To be determined

Political and Governance

Risk of political instability, and changes in governance that would affect blue carbon stocks and distribution of payments Risk that current or proposed conservation measures are not sufficient to avoid deforestation and emissions Risk that local communities suffer as a result of trade-off betweenmangrove conservation and conversion, and/or do not receive the benefits of blue carbon payments

To be determined

Technical Design

To be determined

Social and Environmental

To be determined

Institutional Capacity

Risk that the proponent is not capable of delivering the blue carbon project


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