Scaling mangrove finance on the road to COP28

By Climate Champions | July 28, 2023

With four months until COP28, partner organizations of the Mangrove Breakthrough recently met to accelerate efforts to unlock $4 billion USD in funding and secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangrove forests by 2030.

The Mangrove Breakthrough has the potential to sequester an estimated 43.5 million tonnes of CO2 through mangrove biomass, and an additional 189 million tons of CO2 in the soil. It will also benefit 37 commercial marine species, reduce storm and flood risks for over 15 million people, and protect over $65 billion USD worth of property annually.

With that ambitious target in sight, the recent workshop hosted by the Global Mangrove Alliance, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency, and Systemiq laid the groundwork for accelerated action ahead of COP28. The Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC), spearheaded by the UAE and Indonesia, facilitated the meeting.

Representatives from local government, finance, corporations, and philanthropy came together for a number of thought-provoking discussions and collaborative sessions, including a focus on empowering local actors to implement restoration and protection efforts. Additionally, a new analysis on the state of financial flows and critical gaps within the mangrove ecosystem was presented, followed by a discussion on potential solutions to address these gaps.

Various frameworks for investing in mangroves were explored, and participants collaborated to overcome key challenges, identify enabling conditions, financial instruments, and develop a roadmap to unlock these models at scale.

For example, Systemiq’s mangrove transition curve indicates a suite of potential solutions to unlock capital.

As the partner organizations and participants exchanged knowledge, the diversity of perspectives provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities at hand for the priority actions of the Mangrove Breakthrough. These included:

  • Safeguarding nature;
  • Employing the best information and practices;
  • Empowering people;
  • Aligning to the broader context – operating locally and contextually;
  • Designing for sustainability;
  • Mobilizing high-integrity capital.

The soon-to-be-confirmed members of the Mangrove Breakthrough Secretariat will support these actions, with a proposed focus on four main activities: Mobilizing capital for mangroves, Impact and Tracking, Content and Capacity Building, and Communications and Advocacy.

The Mangrove Breakthrough aims to connect, coordinate, and convene diverse state and non-state actors to achieve a common set of objectives. These actors each bring different expertise, resources, and networks and can play different but valuable roles. Participants discussed possible pathways available to different actors to advance the aims of the Breakthrough.

Local communities can help ensure mangrove conservation and restoration activities are fit for purpose and demand-led. They should be empowered to actively co-create mangrove projects – including contributing local and traditional knowledge – and given a seat at the table in decision-making processes.

The technical workshop resulted in an action plan that outlined the roadmap to capitalize on key moments and convenings in the coming months leading up to COP28.

COP28 must create a step change in action for mangroves, and for nature at large. At the end of the two days, participants identified a list of aims for the Mangrove Breakthrough to achieve by this milestone, and articulated key interventions for each stakeholder group to deliver on these.

The activities were consolidated within an overall timeline to create a detailed roadmap for the short term from now until COP28, and in the medium term up to COP30. The actions were grouped around 5 priority areas: pipeline, financial instruments, science & data, policy & governments, and stakeholder engagement.

The Mangrove Breakthrough Workshop marks a significant step forward in addressing climate change and preserving our planet’s precious ecosystems. As we move closer to COP28, stakeholders are encouraged to implement the action plan and collaborate closely to achieve the ambitious goals set by the Mangrove Breakthrough.

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