Latest News April 29, 2024

Unlocking the power of blue carbon

International lessons on designing and operating effective, efficient and equitable blue carbon markets

Coastal and wetland ecosystems, including mangroves, tidal marshes and grasslands, play a critical role in addressing climate adaptation, safeguarding the wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities. For example, salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass beds absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and store it, reducing the effects of global warming. Previous studies suggest that mangroves and coastal wetlands sequester carbon at a rate ten times greater than mature tropical forests, storing three to five times more carbon per equivalent area. Blue carbon, or carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems, is stored in the soil, not in aboveground plant materials as with tropical forests.

With their great potential in mitigating climate change, coastal and wetland ecosystems are also of great interest to many investors in the global carbon market. Despite this, few blue carbon credits are being traded in carbon markets. Information on blue carbon transactions and projects is very limited and not widely disseminated. This inhibits learning and information exchange between parties, and hampers capacity to improve blue carbon policy and project design and implementation.

This is of particular interest to Vietnam, with its vast coastline that is highly vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change. The Government of Vietnam are committed to protecting, expanding and enhancing the quality of coastal forests and ecosystems, as outlined in their Nationally Determined Contribution policy, and the Vietnam Forestry Development Strategy 2021–2030 with a vision to 2050. These policies also call for research and knowledge sharing on innovative financing mechanisms including a carbon market to finance and manage coastal ecosystems sustainably.

Earlier this month, more than 125 leading international and Vietnamese experts, policymakers and practitioners took part in a workshop in Hanoi to tackle this, exchanging ideas insights, ideas and future collaboration opportunities between Australia and Vietnam on designing effective, efficient and equitable blue carbon policies and projects, that was funded by the Australian Government under the Business Partnerships Platform carbon markets round.

The event was organised by the University of Adelaide and the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry, in conjunction with the Department of Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam National University of Forestry.

The event showcased the latest developments in a global blue carbon market, international experiences in designing and operating blue carbon projects on the ground and the multifaceted aspects of integrating blue carbon ecosystems into policy and project design.

An insight report will be available soon.

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