SCIENCE: Global Mangrove Alliance’s input into the Talanoa Dialogue
The UN Climate Convention has developed a unique process through which countries can gain support to meet the Paris Agreement called the Talanoa Dialogue. The name comes from the Pacific concept of the “talanoa” – storytelling for the purpose of consensus building and decision making. The dialogue aims to embody the spirit of talanoa by being an inclusive and open space that allows participants to learn and benefit through the exchange of ideas. The Global Mangrove Alliance recently gave its input to the Talanoa Dialogue, highlighting the role of mangroves in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
This submission builds on a previous Talanoa Dialogue joint submission focused on the potential for Natural Climate Solutions – the protection, restoration and sustainable management of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nature has an untapped mitigation potential that can offer one third of the solution to meet the Paris Agreement, making nature essential to achieving climate stability. Natural climate solutions also provide essential social and environmental benefits, including clean air and water, sustainable food production, increased habitat for biodiversity, and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The new submission focuses on one pathway outlined in the Natural Climate Solutions submission: mangrove restoration and conservation. The recently published IPCC report “Global Warming of 1.5OC” is a reminder of the urgency we face and the climate impacts that can be avoided by limiting warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees. This urgency demands that we use all of the tools at our disposal. Wetland pathways offer 14% of the mitigation potential from nature and 19% of low-cost natural climate solutions. In light of the inclusive, participatory and transparent approach of the Talanoa Dialogue, this submission reflects on the science and economics of natural climate solutions, with an emphasis on mangroves, to further emphasize the mitigation potential of nature in answering all three of the questions in the Talanoa Dialogue: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
1) Mangrove restoration is an underutilized natural climate solution, as mangroves and other terrestrial and coastal ecosystems are an important sink and natural tool for climate mitigation. Many countries can demonstrate more ambitious efforts to address climate change by strengthening their NDCs with more information on mangrove restoration activities and related detailed mitigation targets in 2020.
2) Adaptation is another contribution to the climate solution that mangrove ecosystems play in their communities. Mangrove forests provide critical ecosystem services, such as coastal protection and food security. Enhancing ambition can also include strengthening the adaptation section of an NDC utilizing ecosystem-based adaptation in policies and plans.
3) Mangrove restoration may be considered a win-win investment, providing mitigation and adaptation solutions to climate change while also supporting the implementation of other international pledges and agreements for the SDG Agenda 2030.
4) There is an urgent need for coordinated partnerships that ensure good science, sound environmental policies and practices, and adequate funding in place for the enhancement, restoration and protection of natural climate solutions. One example is the Global Mangrove Alliance which provides a platform to take action on mangrove conservation and restoration towards climate mitigation and adaptation.
Further reader: Investing in Blue Carbon for a Resilient Future