International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015 and celebrated annually since. In 2018, UNESCO Bangkok co-organized a field excursion
International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015 and celebrated annually since. In 2018, UNESCO Bangkok co-organized a field excursion and seminar on mangrove management in Thailand and Myanmar, in partnership with national authorities, the foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection, the Mangrove Action Project and Fauna & Flora International. The event was based on our mutual concern about illegal charcoal production and its adverse impacts on mangrove ecosystems in Myanmar.
The Mekong Mangrove Forum was subsequently organized, with a sub-regional and international approach, to urgently conserve existing blue carbon ecosystems and restore those that have been degraded, as well as to promote scientific research in support of science-based environmental management. Blue Carbon Ecosystems include those coastal vegetation types that store large amounts of atmospheric and oceanic carbon in their soils, such as, for example, mangroves, seagrass beds, salt marshes, and macro-algal reefs. The 1st and 2nd Mekong Mangrove Forums took place in Vietnam (March 2019) and in Myanmar (November 2019), to encourage more participation in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The 3rd Mekong Mangrove Forum was planned to take place in Thailand (September 2020), but the event is no longer possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A series of annual online events will be organized instead, with an inter-regional scope because of the global importance of the issue. Mangroves and other blue carbon ecosystems have been lost at alarming rates, mainly because of adverse anthropogenic coastal environmental impacts. Yet, they provide essential services for coastal communities, support rich coastal biodiversity, protect coastlines against storm surges, sequester vast amounts of carbon, and – with science-based management – can be sustainably utilized as cash crops. There is huge potential, because these systems are seawater tolerant. Mangroves are disappearing fast, with serious ecological and socio-economic impacts. Current estimates indicate that more than 50% of mangroves have already been lost. This requires urgent action. UNESCO is uniquely placed to develop initiatives for relevant and concerted action, building on strong networks of sites such as the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage sites and the Global UNESCO Geoparks Network, which are already demonstrating that harmonious interactions between people and nature are possible. UNESCO is engaged in supporting the conservation of mangroves, while advancing the sustainable development of local communities. Within UNESCO sites, we will test ideas, develop best practices and behavioural improvements, and implement the most effective ecosystem management strategies in local communities. These strategies will be promoted throughout UNESCO’s networks to achieve a strong multiplier effect.
UNESCO has developed platforms to turn ideas into action. One of these platforms is the Mekong Mangrove Forum. This celebration is the beginning of a number of events and activities to conserve, restore and better utilize blue carbon ecosystems.
Programme Specialist, Natural Sciences, UNESCO Bangkok
Dr. Böer is a professional project manager with 30 years of experience in the global environmental sciences. He spearheaded activities in Africa, America, the Arab Region, Asia/Pacific and Europe, and lived in Ethiopia, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
He edited many books, publications, films, technical reports and prime proposals. He functions routinely as reviewer of sciene journals and major international assessments. He joined UNESCO 20 years ago, and he was assigned as Ecological Science Advisor in the Arab Region, in Africa, and in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.
His work addresses environmental issues, catalyzing adaptation and mitigation options and problem solving for sustainable human living. His current work focuses on Plastic Pollution, the UNESCO Green Academies, as well as the conservation and restoration of Blue Carbon Ecosystems.
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