Last week the big event that I’ve been helping my boss prepare for finally arrived: the first workshop of the Blue Carbon Policy Working Group. Leading up to this workshop, I had been busy preparing some background documents on the current state of international climate change negotiations with respect to blue carbon, compiling the participant bios, and other odd jobs.
Blue carbon policy is an emerging field that stems from the idea that effective management of coastal ‘blue carbon’ systems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass, requires development and implementation of strategic policy and financing mechanisms that create incentives for coastal conservation and restoration activities and disincentives to drain or damage these systems. The Blue Carbon Policy Working Group was formed to support development and implementation of blue carbon policy in the international arena. This group, along with the Blue Carbon Science Working Group, are part of the Blue Carbon Initiative, a consortium led by IUCN, Conservation International, and the International Oceanic Commission-UNESCO, working with partners from national governments, research institutions, NGOs, coastal communities, intergovernmental and international bodies and other relevant stakeholders.
This 3-day workshop, held at the CI headquarters, involved top wetland and mangrove scientists, directors of marine and climate change programs at a variety of multilateral
institutions and NGOs, and experts in wetland carbon accounting who work closely with the IPCC and UNFCCC. I had the rare opportunity to observe this group as they worked to form a strategy to include blue carbon in international climate change policy, and outlined an agenda of activities to work on in the next six months, including involvement in the upcoming COP 17 in Durban. This was an amazing networking opportunity as well, as I had the chance to talk with many of the participants in between sessions and over dinner.