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

ecologists. This could take the form of a regional forum to consolidate work being undertaken in West, Central and Southern Africa and assist in information sharing. The process of sharing research findings and efforts needs to be coordinated in order to avoid duplication of effort. This has been echoed in several papers, as well as in the Abidjan Convention’s Mangrove Management Protocol. 2. Develop an online platform/clearinghouse to gather data to help reduce duplication of effort, improve data quality and reduce overall costs. GIS data is a powerful and important tool that provides decision makers with the ability to implement, monitor and evaluate development plans. Indonesia’s One Map programme could be used as an example as it is being used to resolve disagreements resulting from the use of different data andmaps in cases such as land disputes and overlapping permits. 1. Identify pilot opportunities within countries that would be suitable for innovative financing for the restoration and sustainablemanagement ofmangroves. A key output could be a report on innovative financing strategies, including how to stimulate private-sector engagement. 2. As part of the online platform/clearinghouse, maintain a list of international financing mechanisms as well as potential private buyers, to help connect projects to financiers. 3. Examine theoptionof a regional ConservationTrust Fund or a network of eligible national funds. A percentage of the funds from carbon sales could be sent to the trust(s) to provide a sustainable source of funding. The BioGuiné Foundation could be a useful example. 4. Examine replicable models for establishing microcredit schemes for the restoration and sustainable use of mangrove areas. The Wetlands International bio-rights methodology could be used as a model for setting up successful blue carbon projects within communities. 5. Provide an ‘on-demand’ network of expertise that countries could access as needed to develop blue carbon projects and access international financing. Link with the Mangrove Protocol Blue carbon projects can help achieve a number of the resolutions within the Protocol – either directly or as the motivating factor. The strength of the Protocol is that it will assist in addressing direct on-site threats to mangrove ecosystem services through its overall objectives, which focus on better defining appropriate use of mangrove ecosystems as well as rules for environmental protection and the preservation of these resources. By implementing well- defined rules for the region, the Protocol will make it easier for blue carbon projects to be methodically established and easily replicable. Many of the suggested recommendations are supported by the discussions and conclusions found within the Mangrove Protocol. Develop pathways for blue carbon projects inWest, Central and Southern Africa to access international finance

Sustainable management 1. Promote the restoration, conservation and sustainable use of mangroves at a landscape level, including the development of sustainable management plans, the identification and reform of perverse incentives and policy measures, andthe implementationof restorationmeasures. These key lessons can then be shared across the region. Regional-scale activities At the regional level, the Abidjan Convention Secretariat could establish a support programme and information clearinghouse to assist countries in undertaking the work needed to capture this opportunity, and to match projects to international financing mechanisms/buyers. This could include the following activities: Assessment and monitoring 1. Conduct an in-depth socioeconomic analysis of mangrove values, including carbon storage as well as other ecosystem services such as cultural values. This could be done at the regional level, but would also be very valuable at the country level, as mangrove forest composition differs greatly from one region to the next, thereby affecting carbon sequestration rates. 2. Explore technologies for the more accurate/real-time monitoring of mangrove conditions (could combining satellite data, drones, on-the-ground reporting schemes). Regional cooperation 1. Identification and dissemination of existing lessons learned from within the region, including through the engagement of social scientists, economists and


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