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About: Impacts of UN Environment Programme / Global Environment Facility Blue Forests Project


With support from the Global Environment Facility and partners, the Blue Forests Project has addressed challenges associated with unlocking the values of coastal carbon and ecosystem services and converting them into options for improved ecosystem management.


The project has provided ‘proof of concept’ on-the-ground examples around the world, notably in Kenya, Ecuador and Madagascar, evidencing to the international community the value of these ecosystems for climate change mitigation or adaptation. The project has affected a global impact on coastal ecosystem management and sustainability.


In 2015, at project inception it was unknown how the value of coastal and marine carbon and related ecosystem services could be harnessed in policy, management, and financial incentives to achieve goal for mitigating climate change, sustainable ecosystem management and improved livelihoods.


Results from the project now illustrate multiple pathways to achieve those goals and more, including through the following:

  • Improved knowledge of coastal and marine communities, ecosystem managers and stakeholders in project site countries (including UAE, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique), on coastal blue carbon sequestration as well as ecosystem services in blue forests ecosystems.

  • Improved ecosystem management in project site countries in management and policy instruments that may be applied to sustainable coastal habitat management, including through:

    • Local conservation and management of blue forests through community associations, fishing associations and municipal ‘blue’ infrastructure.

    • Impropriation of the value of blue carbon and other ecosystem benefits in national ecosystem management (e.g., management mangrove in Kenya, Ecuador, and Mozambique).

    • Development of economic instruments that support sustainable coastal habitat management and a nature-based blue economy, including mangrove conservation agreements (in Ecuador) and the voluntary carbon market (VCM) (in Kenya and Madagascar).

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Under the VCM the project has:

  • Increased the area of mangrove carbon in VCM by an order of magnitude.

  • Increased number of coastal blue carbon projects in the VCM by three-fold.

  • Piloted the inclusion in the VCM of combined mangrove and seagrass carbon offsets.

  • Improved acceptance and awareness of blue forests and blue carbon values, methodologies, and approaches in international climate policy, in support of achieving the Paris Agreement and including direct and indirect influence on dozens of NDCs.

  • Improved knowledge and understanding on marine and coastal ecosystems that contribute to potential climate mitigation, including marine life.

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