Going beyond carbon, the Blue Carbon Summit challenged participants to think about the many factors facing coastal ecosystems, the blue economy and government cooperation.
The Blue Carbon Summit took place on 17-18 July 2018 at the National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta and featured 60 speakers and two government ministers. Attended by nearly 250 people, the summit was an initiative organized by Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and supported by the Global Landscape Forum (GLF).
AIPI President Satryo Soemantri Brodjonegoro and CIFOR Director General Robert Nasi opened the summit by highlighting the need to make coastal ecosystems a national environmental priority with Nasi saying “We are here to correct an imbalance, in the news there is a focus on deforestation, but 60% world’s population lives in coastal areas. We have already lost 50% of the mangrove ecosystems, we need to protect what is left.”
After the opening plenary, attendees came together for two subplenaries, “People’s Voices” and “Donor Forum” and had their pick of three parallel sessions in the morning: “Fishing industry and sustainable blue economy”, “Marine tourism and shipping industry”, and “Institution and governance system for blue carbon”. In the afternoon, there were another three parallel sessions: “Financing blue carbon development”, “Understanding hydrodynamic and sustainable coastal resources”, and “Coastal blue carbon (seagrass) and climate change”.
H.E. Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, opened the second day of the Blue Carbon Summit by urging immediate action on the conservation front and tying the health of coastal ecosystems to the economics and future of the country.
“We cannot treat this problem by just having meetings, we need to do something,” he said. “We can’t just talk about this, we need to think about how to implement for national interest.”
The second day of the summit included a subplenary on international partnerships and a high-level forum, parallel sessions: “Hydro-geomorphic effects of subsidence, sedimentation and sea-level rises” and “Coastal blue carbon (mangroves) and climate change”, and a closing on behalf of H.E. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, the Indonesian Minister National Development Planning (Bappenas).
Across the sessions, main themes emerged including:
- Blue Carbon in both open ocean and coastal ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrasses, are important for climate change mitigation because of their significant carbon storage capacities compared with terrestrial ecosystems. They also offer significant climate change adaptation opportunities, especially in helping coastal regions keep pace with sea level rise.
- Blue Carbon ecosystems also provide numerous services to people and now is the time to consider their role in developing alternative livelihoods. Sustainable eco-tourism, fisheries and shellfish farming are all industries that generate direct economic benefits while protecting intact mangroves.
- Conservation and restoration are essential components of the Blue Carbon economy.
- Implementation of a Blue Carbon economy needs to take into consideration more than just carbon. It should encompass economic sectors such as fisheries, eco-tourism, transportation and shipping.
- Due to complex history and geography, governance structures and institutionalizing the Blue Carbon economy have posed considerable challenges in the past.
- Mechanisms to finance the Blue Carbon economy must reflect the unique benefits and challenges of Blue Carbon and help overcome institutional biases.
- Participation of local communities is essential to establishing the Blue Carbon economy.
- While the level of understanding of Blue Carbon is sufficient, capacity development will require stakeholders to be better connected.
- To put Blue Carbon on national and global agendas, there must be a stronger coalition within and between government agencies to engage a wider network of stakeholders.
- Partnerships are key to the success of achieving national and global objectives and goals. Learning lessons from partners is cost effective and therefore should be encouraged and opportunities for greater cooperation enhanced.