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Principality of Monaco renews UNESCO cooperation to protect marine World Heritage

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 at 16:00
access_time 2 min read
© UNESCO/Christelle ALIX

Paris, 17 May 2022 – The Principality of Monaco and UNESCO signed today a new 3-year partnership to strengthen the scientific research of marine sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List and to pave the way for the use of carbon credit to help finance sites’ conservation efforts.

The new 3-year partnership will explore how carbon credit can help finance on-site conservation action at select marine World Heritage sites and provide technical guidance to States Parties to the World Heritage Convention on how to benefit from carbon credit financing. The partnership will bring together prominent experts in carbon markets, carbon pricing and ocean conservation in an effort to build sustainable financing mechanisms to support sites’ conservation sustainably over the next decades. The partnership will further strengthen scientific understanding about marine World Heritage sites in collaboration with Monaco Explorations.

Despite covering less than 1% of the global ocean surface, the 50 marine sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List host at least 21% of the globe’s blue carbon ecosystems and 15% of the world’s blue carbon assets - carbon stores that are equivalent to about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions based on 2018 data. These blue carbon ecosystems are made up of some of the world’s largest seagrass, mangrove and salt march areas and play a central role in storing carbon from the atmosphere. When the conservation of these sites degrades, however, they could also release billions of CO2 emissions and further exacerbate global warming in coming decades.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes 50 marine sites across 37 countries. Sites are recognized for their unique marine biodiversity, singular ecosystem, geological processes and incomparable beauty. Over 75% of UNESCO marine World Heritage sites are impacted by climate change.

Since 2017, the Principality of Monaco has supported the identification of potential new World Heritage marine sites in the Arctic region, a travelling photo exhibition highlighting local science innovations established in the context of the Monaco Explorations, the launch of an Ocean Science Roadmap for Marine World Heritage, and the first global scientific assessment of World Heritage marine sites’ blue carbon ecosystems. The new partnership will run until mid-2025. 

More information about how the partnership with the Principality of Monaco has benefitted marine World Heritage sites is available here.