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New UNESCO Report on Blue Carbon Aided by Principality of Monaco

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

The Government of the Principality of Monaco has once again shown its commitment to marine preservation and environmentalism.

© FotoNatura

UNESCO has released a scientific report into blue carbon in marine World Heritage sites, supported financially by Monaco.

The Principality’s funding played a crucial part in this. It has been a partner of UNESCO in the conservation of marine spaces since 2017, part of its long résumé of environmental work.

Blue carbon is not the best-known term in environmental discourse and is often underrepresented compared to more visibly striking marine life such as coral reefs. It is worth becoming more familiar with it though, as when worked on properly it can reap huge rewards and progress towards tackling climate change and reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Organic carbon from decaying nature is captured and stored by ocean and coastal ecosystems, known as blue carbon. Blue carbon ecosystems are essentially wells of carbon and the significant amounts of the element they store helps manage climate change. When managed well, they naturally function as carbon sinks which makes them very effective at balancing the atmosphere. They can even help prevent disasters like wildfires which are caused by carbon dioxide.

On the other hand, when not handled well or destroyed, they do quite the opposite. Their degradation can trigger the release of billions of tons of Co2 and other greenhouse gases from the ocean. Keeping on the right side of this powerful force of nature is therefore extremely important.

Investing in the protection of these important sites also has positive spillover effects for the surrounding marine areas, and for the livelihoods of local communities living in coastal areas.

The world is realising the immense benefits proper investment in these ecosystems brings. Carbon is now being traded in markets, and its value is forecast to rise the closer we get to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The financial support from Monaco helped to allow UNESCO to produce this comprehensive report and enabled over a year of grassroots work reaching out to local researchers across the world in various languages for information which fed into the final report which is out now and set to educate more people about this important tool of nature!

-Kimberley Mannion

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