At the 27th Session of Conference of Parties (COP27), this year’s UN climate summit, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) was launched with India as a partner.
About Mangrove Alliance for Climate
- An initiative led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) includes India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, and Spain.
- It seeks to educate and spread awareness worldwide on the role of mangroves in curbing global warming and its potential as a solution for climate change.
- However, the intergovernmental alliance works on a voluntary basis which means that there are no real checks and balances to hold members accountable.
- Instead, the parties will decide their own commitments and deadlines regarding planting and restoring mangroves.
- The members will also share expertise and support each other in researching, managing and protecting coastal areas.
Demands by various negotiating blocs
- As seen in the previous sessions of the climate conference, building consensus among the 190+ countries who are members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a tough task.
- China, for instance, has ramped up the use of coal amidst energy security risks and rising tensions with Taiwan. Its deteriorating relationship with the US, the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gas behind Beijing, has further complicated possibilities of negotiations.
- The European Union, which negotiates as a single entity for its 27 members, is at the lower end of the spectrum of gas emitters, but is under pressure to ease its resistance to its staunch position against the issue of ‘loss and damage’, which calls for rich and developed countries to compensate poorer, developing countries who are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change.
- G77 and China is the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing countries in the UN.
- Pakistan, which currently chairs the group and faced devastating floods this year, will lead the group in its demand for a dedicated fund for compensation from wealthy countries, Reuters reported.
- The Climate Vulnerable Forum, which represents 58 countries that are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change such as Bangladesh and Maldives, reportedly demands a dedicated fund in which rich polluting nations help bear the costs of “loss and damage”.
Back to Basics
India and Mangroves
- The move, in line with India’s goal to increase its carbon sink, will see New Delhi collaborating with Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other countries to preserve and restore the mangrove forests in the region.
- India is home to one of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world — the Sundarbans — and has years of expertise in restoration of mangrove cover that can be used to aid global measures in this direction.
- Nearly half of South Asia’s total mangrove cover is in India. The country has a mangrove cover of 4,992 square kilometres which has only increased by 17 sq km since 2019, according to the Forest Survey report 2021.
- The largest mangrove forest in the world can be found in West Bengal, followed by Gujarat and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- A mangrove is a small tree or shrub that grows along coastlines and has roots in salty sediments, typically underwater. They also flourish in swamps and thrive in low oxygen levels and can withstand severe weather.
- Mangroves are mostly found in tropical and subtropical latitudes because they cannot withstand temperatures below freezing. The world’s largest mangrove forest can be found in West Bengal.
- Mangroves have been the focus of conservationists for years and it is difficult to overstate their importance in the global climate context.
- Mangrove forests — consisting of trees and shrub that live in intertidal water in coastal areas — host diverse marine life. They also support a rich food web, with molluscs and algae-filled substrate acting as a breeding ground for small fish, mud crabs and shrimps, thus providing a livelihood to local artisanal fishers.
- Equally importantly, they act as effective carbon stores, holding up to four times the amount of carbon as other forested ecosystems. Mangrove forests capture vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and their preservation can both aid in removal of carbon from the atmosphere and prevent the release of the same upon their destruction.
- According to the annual report published by The Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) titled “the State of The World’s Mangroves 2022,” a total of 5,245 square kilometres of mangrove forest has been lost since 1996. This loss is caused by direct human impacts such as clearing and conversion, soil erosion, flooding, or storms.
- Over the past decade, losses have decreased to 0.04 per cent annually, and river mouths and deltas have seen significant gains. However, it should be noted that even a 1% reduction in mangrove loss could prevent the release of 200 million tons of carbon.
Global Mangrove Alliance
- An ambitious initiative that seeks to increase global mangrove cover by 20% by 2030.
- Launched in June 2017, the Alliance is an unprecedented collaboration that brings together NGOs, governments, industry, local communities and funders towards a common goal.
- The Alliance will endeavor to implement its Global Mangrove Strategy to achieve global priorities and actions.
- It will provide a foundation on which all members will leverage funding, strengthen scientific research, strengthen coastal management, education, climate mitigation and adaptation related policies, and accelerate conservation and restoration of mangroves.
- Led by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature along with Conservation International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and The Nature Conservancy.
Source: IE & India Times
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