The inaugural Indian Ocean Blue Carbon Hub Think Tank on Blue Carbon Finance was held by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Mauritius 25 to 26 February 2020.
The Think Tank was the first activity to be run under IORA’s newly established IORA Indian Ocean Blue Carbon Hub in Perth, whose creation was announced in September 2019 by the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne at the 3rd IORA Blue Economy Ministerial meeting.
Participants from 23 countries attended the Think Tank which was officially launched on 25 February by the Mauritian Minister for Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, the Hon Mr Sudheer Maudhoo.
The Think Tank aimed to build knowledge and capacity to protect and restore blue carbon ecosystems throughout the Indian Ocean, in a way that enhances livelihoods, reduces risks from coastal hazards, and helps mitigate climate change. The Indian Ocean hosts a disproportionate amount of the Earth’s blue carbon ecosystems, and IORA Member States are in a position to lead the world in their protection, restoration and sustainable use. Financing Blue Carbon is one of the key challenges in realising this potential. The session explored how to mobilise finance to protect blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves and sea grass.
Mauritius is well placed to gather specialists and policy makers in this field with its hosting of the Secretariats of both IORA and the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub and close collaborations that already exists with CSIRO.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Mauritius to Ms Jenny Dee said she was pleased to see the IORA Blue Carbon Hub’s Inaugural think tank on Blue Carbon financing being hosted by IORA in Mauritius this week.
“It shows the strong partnerships in the Blue Economy between Australia and Mauritius, particularly through IORA,” she said.
A blue economy is one which strikes the right balance between reaping the economic potential of our oceans with the need to safeguard their longer term health. According to Australia’s National Marine Science Committee, by 2025 Australia’s marine industries will contribute around $100 billion a year to Australia’s economy, with our ocean and coasts providing another $25 billion worth of ecosystem services, such as carbon dioxide absorption, nutrient cycling and coastal protection.
The IORA Hub is supported by the Australian Government and run by scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Hub’s Director, Dr Mat Vanderklift, said that IORA nations have 47% of the world’s mangroves, but 67% of the world’s mangrove loss.
“Blue carbon ecosystem protection and restoration could offset emissions equivalent to the entire commercial passenger aviation sector,” Dr Vanderklift said.
“Mangrove forests provide more than $80 billion per year in avoided losses from coastal flooding and protect 18 million people. They also contribute almost as much ($40-$50 billion a year) in non-market benefits associated with fisheries, forestry and recreation. Combined, the benefits from mangrove preservation and restoration are up to 10 time the costs,” he said.
More information on the Hub can be found at: https://research.csiro.au/iora-blue-carbon-hub/
28 February 2020