» A Global Blue Carbon Data Network to be launched at the UN Ocean Conference
03.05.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

A Global Blue Carbon Data Network to be launched at the UN Ocean Conference

© Shutterstock: Seagrass areas are an important source of coastal blue carbon

The creation of a global network of regional centers for blue carbon data and knowledge sharing has been announced as one of the main commitments of the first-ever UN Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017). The regional centers will foster scientific collaboration around coastal wetland carbon.

Increasingly recognized for their importance in biological carbon sequestration and storage, coastal wetlands carbon stocks are increasingly exposed to human disturbances. Nearly a quarter of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast, a figure that is likely to increase to 50% by 2030. In addition, human activity in coastal wetlands emits CO2 equivalent to 3-19% of those from deforestation globally, resulting in economic damages of $6-42 billion.

The Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Network will act as an international resource that meets the increasing need for data sharing among blue carbon stakeholders for purposes ranging from basic research to policy development and management. The Network is a joint commitment of the Blue Carbon Initiative (co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Conservation International, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature), the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, and several other partners.

The initiative recognizes that the lack of access to comprehensive quality data and data-sharing tools limits current and future efforts related to the science, policy and management of coastal wetlands for carbon-based benefits. Implementing science-based management of coastal wetland systems requires high-quality data that supports the development, testing and validation of conceptual or predictive models.

The main goals of the Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Network include:

- Creating a global network of Blue Carbon knowledge nodes that host quality controlled data on carbon characteristic of mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes

- Supporting a global network of scientists

- Accelerating learning across regions and globally

- Supporting the integration of blue carbon into local to national to international ocean and climate policy and management globally, including accelerating conservation and restoration of these ecosystems

The Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Network’s activities and its coordinating organiztions, including UNESCO’s IOC over the next five years beyond the establishment of regional centers, include: workshops to get feedback on the data sharing system, the development of a platform for collecting and sharing data, and the launch of web-based analysis tools.

The Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Nework has been put forth as an outcome of the United Nations Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017) that will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York. All details about the initiative figure on The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments alongside other commitments undertaken by Governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, scientific institutions and other stakeholders toward the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use our ocean.

Please visit the official UN Ocean Conference website for a comprehensive view of the side event programme, expected outcomes, and voluntary commitments.

For more information, please contact:

Kirsten Isensee (k.isensee@unesco.org), for information about the ‘Blue Carbon Initiative’ and the “Blue Carbon Data and Knowledge Network” activities.

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere@unesco.org), for information about UNESCO’s IOC in the Ocean Conference.




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