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Online meeting: Financing Marine Protected Areas through Blue Carbon Credits

© Matt Curnock / Ocean Image Bank
Tuesday, 26 September 2023

On 26 September (8.30am-10.00am, Panama time; 3.30pm-5.00pm, Paris time, France; 7.00pm – 8.30pm Kolkata time, India), experts in carbon credit financing for conservation will convene virtually to share first-hand insights on how blue carbon can help close the financing gap across marine protected areas (MPAs).

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Programme (1,5 hour)

  • Opening and welcome (5min)
  • Blue Carbon Introduction – Blue Carbon and its role in climate mitigation and adaptation by UNESCO (10min)
  • Introduction to the work of UNESCO on blue carbon by UNESCO (5min)
  • What does it take to finance MPAs through Blue Carbon? by VERRA (10min)
  • Finance Blue Carbon: An Investor Perspective? by Salesforce (10min)
  • Case Study: Protecting Mangroves and Marshes in Colombia through blue carbon credits by INVEMAR (10min)
  • How to prepare your MPA for blue carbon financing? by Conservation International (10min)
  • Moderated Questions and Answers (25min)
  • Closing word (5min)

Over the past decade, research has solidified the significant role played by blue carbon ecosystems—seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves—in mitigating the effects of climate change. When well protected, these ecosystems act as natural "carbon sinks," absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Globally, UNESCO World Heritage marine sites host at least 21% of the world’s blue carbon ecosystems, and 15% of the world’s blue carbon assets.

Conserving blue carbon ecosystems contributes to mitigating climate change and helps nations avoid additional emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Yet, central for these ecosystems to function as carbon sinks is their protection.

Financing conservation of blue carbon ecosystems can be boosted through blue carbon credit strategies, whereby countries earn carbon credits for demonstrating carbon benefits from ecosystem conservation and restoration. Blue carbon strategies can restore vital ecosystem services and crucially help nations deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement. To date, however, only a limited number of countries have incorporated blue carbon strategies into their climate change policies.

This online meeting will bring together global experts who will summarise the core principles and best practices in developing and implementing blue carbon projects within MPAs. The event aims to raise awareness about investor preferences for financing such projects and provide guidance to MPA managers and States Parties seeking to enhance their readiness for blue carbon financing. A case study from the Cispatá MPA in Colombia will be presented, where carbon credits are currently financing local conservation, providing practical insights and lessons learned.

Due to their status as the world’s flagship marine protected areas, UNESCO World Heritage marine sites are uniquely positioned to drive change and innovation, help set global standards in conservation excellence, and serve as beacons of hope in a changing ocean. This online meeting is made possible with the support of the Principality of Monaco and in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

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