This report explores the potential of international carbon finance mechanisms to help fund mangrove conservation along the coast of West, Central and Southern Africa that is covered by the Abidjan Convention – from the southern border of Mauritania down to the northern border of Angola – and the scale of economic benefits that this conservation might provide for communities and countries in the region. Extensive mangrove forests in this region have long provided wide-ranging benefits to coastal communities, including support to fisheries, protection of towns and structures from flooding and erosion, as well as a range of cultural and spiritual benefits in different contexts. However, as these benefits are not always recognized in traditional assessments or valuations, as in so many areas of the world, mangrove forests in West, Central and Southern Africa have become vulnerable to conversion into other systems that support more measurable or readily apparent benefits. In response, many countries throughout the region have prioritized mangrove conservation in policies and laws, in some cases with the support of development partners. In this context, the growing recognition of the overall range of benefits that the region’s mangrove forests provide to the international community could potentially provide a new source of support to communities’ and countries’ conservation efforts. However, exploring this possibility will require a minimum level of key information and knowledge on the global benefits of the region’s mangroves – where little has been documented relative to the rest of the world.
NICHOLAS INSTITUTE FORENVIRONMENTALPOLICYSOLUTIONS