UAE Endorses ‘Mangrove Breakthrough’ and announces Mangroves Ministerial at COP28 to Advance Nature-Based Climate Solutions
In a resounding commitment to combating climate change and safeguarding critical coastal ecosystems, the UAE has endorsed the Mangrove Breakthrough and announced a high-level Mangroves Ministerial at COP28 that will convene mangrove-hosting governments and partners including civil society, philanthropy, financial institutions, as well as the scientific community to definitively scale up and accelerate the conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems.
A collaborative effort between the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) and the UN Climate Change High-level Champions, the Mangrove Breakthrough aims to restore and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030. Today, the world has 14 million hectares of mangroves left, half their original extent.
The key objectives of the Mangrove Breakthrough are halting mangrove losses, restoring half of the recent mangrove loses, doubling the protection of mangroves on a global scale, and calling for an investment of US $4 billion by 2030 to conserve and revitalize mangrove ecosystems.
The Mangrove Breakthrough is an integral part of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, which seeks to accelerate resilience efforts for vulnerable communities worldwide. This initiative aligns with the Race to Resilience goal of making 4 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – more resilient by 2030.
Underlining the UAE’s endorsement of the Mangrove Breakthrough, H.E. Mariam Almheiri, the UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The Mangrove Breakthrough represents a significant stride towards reducing carbon emissions and preserving our planet’s natural treasures. The UAE recognises the paramount importance of mangroves in combating climate change and supporting our coastal communities and we look forward to helping drive real on-the-ground change. I invite nations around the globe to support this unique initiative.”
Announcing the Mangroves Ministerial on December 9, COP28’s ‘Nature, Oceans and Land Use Day’ and inviting all stakeholders to be part of the event, HE Almheiri said: “The Mangroves Ministerial aims to shape a strong pathway to advance nature-based solutions in our collective fight against climate change. It will focus on accelerating finance, policy and technology to meet the Mangrove Breakthrough global target of restoring and protecting 15 million hectares of mangroves, as well as halting their destruction, by 2030.”
“Our hope is to see substantial announcements anchored in a science-based, action-oriented plan to deliver these targets. Let us take forward the actions and commitments to the global stage mobilized at COP28, to continue raising strong awareness of the intrinsic interdependence of nature and climate,” added HE Almheiri.
To be hosted jointly by the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, the Global Mangrove Alliance, the UN High-Level Champions (stewards of the Mangrove Breakthrough), and the COP28 Presidency, the ‘Nature, Oceans and Land Use Day’ at COP28 reflects the commitment made by the UAE at the COP15 to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal last December. The marquee event, which will discuss the delivery of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)’s 30×30 targets, will serve as an informal stocktake of current progress on the GBF’s implementation one year from its adoption.
“Mangroves exemplify the power of natural systems that advance our climate efforts while providing co-benefits for people, nature and biodiversity,” HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28. “With coastal ecosystems already facing the impacts of a changing climate, we urgently need to scale up action to conserve, restore and protect mangroves. COP28 will provide a valuable opportunity to amplify the Mangrove Breakthrough’s goals and place nature at the very heart of the climate agenda.”
The UAE’s support for mangrove ecosystems is well known, including its own national target to plant 100 million plants by 2030. The country has also formed partnerships with international organisations, NGOs, and other countries to share best practices, conduct joint research, and implement marine conservation projects.
The UAE launched the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) in partnership with Indonesia to promote mangroves as a nature-based solution to climate change. It has attracted 20 partners to scale up and accelerate the conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems for the benefit of communities worldwide. The Alliance seeks to raise awareness about the role of mangroves as a nature-based climate change solution, and, through its members, it works towards expanding and rehabilitating mangrove forests globally. Mangroves are extremely effective carbon sinks as they can store around 1,000 tons of carbon per hectare in their biomass and underlying soil, according to the United Nations (UN). Mangroves also play a crucial role in bolstering coastal resilience and nurturing biodiversity.
Mangrove forests cover about 0.1% of the planet’s surface, but they can store up to ten times more carbon per hectare than terrestrial forests, according to MAC. These major benefits will be in the spotlight at COP28, where the UAE aims to promote the power of international collaboration in accelerating progress in conservation and restoration.