30 Nov – 12 Dec 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Enhancing blue carbon sequestration from sustainable management of coastal and marine natural resources

The Paris Agreement underscores the critical role of oceans, both in its preamble and the Agreement text, particularly under the category of Ecosystem Integrity. This recognition forms a foundation for a better understanding of the urgent need to address the detrimental impacts of climate change and to enhance the resilience of nations, particularly those comprising archipelagos and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Paris Agreement effectively elevates the importance of oceans within the agenda of UNFCCC discussions, as exemplified by Decision 1/CMA.4, adopted at COP27, which emphasises the importance of strengthening ocean-based action under the UNFCCC multilateral process. This decision calls for enhanced collaboration and cooperation to address the impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems, address ocean acidification, and the development of ocean-based solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation. The latest IPCC report, known as Assessment Report (AR-6), has unambiguously revealed that the planet has already experienced a temperature rise of 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and that developing countries are facing a direct and immediate threat from climate change, encompassing well-known risks such as floods, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification.

Oceans and marine ecosystems, such as mangroves and seagrass meadows, hold significant potential both as crucial solutions to achieve the 1.5oC target for their vast CO2 sequestration capabilities and as vulnerable ecosystems that have been heavily impacted by climate change and intensive economic development activities such as aquaculture, mining, urban and infrastructure development in coastal areas. Recently, the inclusion of mangroves and coastal ecosystems in an increasing number of NDCs reflects a growing global recognition of their importance in combatting climate change, both as an important source of carbon sequestration and as a natural defence against severe climate-related weather events. It is imperative for countries to continue considering these ecosystems while updating their NDCs and to make a genuine commitment of their resources to protect coastal and marine ecosystems. However, several challenges hinder countries’ efforts in doing so, particularly the lack of in-depth knowledge and data on the climate change mitigation potential and co-benefits of coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as the scarcity of effective strategies for cross-sectoral coordination and engagement of local communities in mangrove forests/ecosystem management.

This side event is a response to this context, allowing Viet Nam to share experience, knowledge and discuss solutions to address the above-mentioned challenges. It will also provide recommendations for policy makers to promote the inclusion of coastal and marine ecosystems as part of national mitigation and adaptation goals.