The mangrove. A small tree shrub that grows along the tropical regions across the world, ironically known as the ecological eye sore.
However, this ecological eye sore has been exploited globally for economic purposes and creating a long term blunder for money hunger financial markets and economies. Mangroves are the ecological warriors to soil erosion and deforestation, and the United Nations Environmental Programme not only proves that, but also that conserving the mangrove and extracting it sustainably holds a global economic potential – 66 billion US Dollars worth of potential.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) suggest that the economic and social benefit of mangroves has not been exploited due to various factors including a lack of carbon finance mechanisms, policy interventions and a rapid mangrove deforestation.
The report findings also estimated that the cost of destruction of carbon rich mangroves are being cleared close to 5 times faster than forests in the Amazon region, resulting in $42 billion worth of annual economic damages. This proves the need to link sustainable development with economic progression.
Although policy makers and financial markets are beginning to take action, UNEP believes that more needs to be done through new methodologies for carbon accounting for mangroves.
The UN under Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner believes that the world needs to take measures in implementing the right carbon finance mechanisms and policy interventions to ensure that our global temperature rises to a limit of 2°C.
“What is needed now are the right carbon finance mechanisms, and policy interventions, in order to reap the true economic, climate and social gains from this critical ecosystem, which we cannot afford to lose.” he stated, adding that the solutions is also within ensuring that mangroves have locally and internationally placed themselves in REDD+ Strategies and low carbon development strategies such as National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).
To access UNEP’s full report, along with various publications on mangroves and Coastal Wetland Carbon Projects, visit www.unep.org