Blue carbon includes carbon stored in open ocean carbon pools. The dynamics are controlled by global ocean currents and weather circulation patterns and are affected by direct and indirect human interventions in marine and coastal ecosystems. Increasing sea surface temperatures have significantly affected thermohaline and associated temperature-dependent biota. This will impose significant challenges for Indonesia as a maritime country with vast resources. The first point of the Nawa Cita Agenda clearly stipulates the determination of the national leaders to develop Indonesia as a maritime nation – an identity that has been forgotten for a long time and hinders Indonesia in considering the opportunities of the blue economy.
Fishery and marine tourism industries are among major economic activities that generate significant revenues. The yields of caught fishes and aquaculture are closely associated with the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems. Actions for their conservation and restoration in order to achieve healthy, productive and sustainable oceans and coastal ecosystems are urgent.
Indonesia has globally significant coastal blue carbon ecosystems, which consist of mangroves (ca. 3,000,000 ha) and seagrass meadows (ca. 300,000 ha). The importance of coastal blue carbon has gained significant attention from the international community regarding its roles in climate change mitigation and adaptation. These ecosystems demonstrate their effectiveness in carbon capture and storage, and hence, their high potential for mitigating climate change when conserved and restored. Their ability in land building, proves that mangroves can cope with sea level rises – through adaptation to climate change. It is timely to consider coastal blue carbon ecosystems as part of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Each of these national goals, agenda and targets are closely related to global schemes, such as:
- the Paris Agreement, on issues related to mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and financial mechanisms (Articles 5, 7, 8 and 9)
- the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, with emphasis on sustainable use of coastal and marine biodiversity resources (Targets B-8, B-10, D-15)
- the Sustainable Development Goals, to promote marine and coastal ecosystems’ sustainable management by strengthening their resilience and restoration (Target 14.2)
- the Bonn Challenge, regarding restoration of 150 million ha of degraded landscape in 2020 and 350 million ha in 2030.
Blue carbon is increasingly gaining attention from national and international leaders, the scientific community, business actors and civil society. It is timely to bring the issues associated with optimizing the potential of blue carbon to an important summit.
The Blue Carbon Summit has the following objectives:
- to facilitate dialogue across sectors and among stakeholders concerned with blue carbon issues
- to identify gaps and barriers that hinder the mainstreaming of coastal blue carbon in the national development agenda and to meet global commitments
- to outline the roadmap of blue carbon development in Indonesia in line with the upcoming COP24 in Poland and Our Ocean Conference.