To Help Countries Conserve Mangroves, Pew and Partners Launch New Task Force

Restoring and protecting vital coastal ecosystems, which support an array of life, can help governments meet climate commitments

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To Help Countries Conserve Mangroves, Pew and Partners Launch New Task Force
An orange breasted bird, with a medium length blue bill, blue head feathers, white cheek feathers, and light blue wings, sits perched on a brown mangrove branch, with other brown branches and green leaves all around it.
Many species make their home amid mangroves, including the boat-billed heron in Caño Negro, Costa Rica. Shellfish and other fish species rely on mangroves for nursery and breeding grounds, which creates a buffet for birds and other animals.
Kryssia Campos Getty Images

Mangroves are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Deforestation, development, and pollution all imperil mangrove ecosystems, as do climate change impacts, including sea level rise and the increased frequency of intense storms.

In fact, more than half of all mangrove ecosystems are at risk of collapse, according to a recent global assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and more than 250 experts. This means more than 50% of mangrove ecosystems assessed are classified as either Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, a globally recognized standard for the health of nature.

 A line of green leafed mangrove trees, their brown roots exposed and reach into a body of still dark water.
A recent report found that more than half of the world’s mangroves are at risk of collapse. Governments can reverse some losses—and prevent future ones—by including protection of the ecosystems in their climate commitments to the Paris Agreement.
Damsea Shutterstock

Despite that grim news, governments and other stakeholders can reverse the trend of mangrove loss. The Mangrove Breakthrough— a collaboration between the Global Mangrove Alliance, of which The Pew Charitable Trusts is a member, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) High-Level Champions—lays out science-based targets and a financial roadmap for protecting and restoring mangroves. The collaboration was launched at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2022 and is a call to action to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030 by:

  • Halting mangrove losses.
  • Restoring half of recently lost mangroves.
  • Doubling the protection of mangroves globally.
  • Ensuring sustainable long-term financing for all existing mangroves by securing an investment of $4 billion by 2030 to conserve and revitalize these coastal ecosystems.

As of today, 27 governments have endorsed the Mangrove Breakthrough. These include four countries—Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mozambique, and Panama—where Pew works through in-country partners to support the conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes) by including them in each country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. The 195 countries that have signed that landmark climate treaty are required to submit NDCs that are progressively more ambitious over five- or 10-year cycles.

The Mangrove Breakthrough NDC Task Force will help countries develop NDCs that aim to protect mangrove ecosystems as nature-based solutions within climate commitments to the UNFCCC Paris Agreement.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

"The Mangrove Breakthrough is a groundbreaking call to action for governments and non-state actors to safeguard mangrove ecosystems,” said Carlos Eduardo Correa Escaf, ambassador of the Mangrove Breakthrough and former Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia. “The upcoming UNFCCC NDC cycle is a timely opportunity for Mangrove Breakthrough countries to clearly communicate their plans to protect and restore their mangrove ecosystems. We are excited for the launch of this NDC Task Force and for the assistance it can provide as countries develop their 2025 NDCs to include mangrove-positive commitments."

''The Mangrove Breakthrough is a collective endeavor, bringing governments, businesses, financial institutions and NGOs together to deliver radical actions for mangroves,” added Ignace Beguin Billecocq, ocean and coastal zones lead, Climate Champions team. “When governments set measurable and time-bounded targets, it provides predictability and confidence to invest in mangrove restoration and protection. The Mangrove Breakthrough NDC Task Force is working with governments to ensure they contribute their part in achieving the Mangrove Breakthrough targets.”

Governments that have endorsed the Mangrove Breakthrough must now translate that commitment into action. The Paris Agreement’s requirement for countries to submit new and more ambitious NDCs in 2025 represents a crucial opportunity. That’s why Pew is leading a related initiative, the Mangrove Breakthrough NDC Task Force, in partnership with other member organizations of the Global Mangrove Alliance and the UNFCCC High-Level Champions, to harness this opportunity to drive mangrove conservation, restoration, and finance through countries’ 2025 NDCs.

Governments can include these vital ecosystems in both the climate change mitigation and adaptation sections of their NDCs. A growing number of countries already recognize the benefits that coastal and marine nature-based solutions, such as mangroves, provide for people and nature. As of 2023, 61 countries have included coastal and marine nature-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation in their current NDCs, according to an analysis by the Ocean and Climate Platform.

However, many countries require additional support to translate this recognition into data-driven and measurable commitments to conserve, restore, manage, or finance these ecosystems. The Mangrove Breakthrough NDC Task Force aims to provide additional policy, data, and knowledge-sharing guidance to help transform that ambition into action. The task force, which will launch this week at the UNFCCC climate meetings in Bonn, Germany, will provide technical guidance to countries by bringing together policy and mangrove specialists from international and local environmental organizations to provide expertise and coordinate knowledge-sharing for Mangrove Breakthrough countries as they translate their ambitions into 2025 NDCs.

“The Pew Charitable Trusts is proud to be working in collaboration with our partners to support the inclusion of commitments to protect and restore mangroves in NDCs,” said Tom Hickey, project director for Pew’s advancing coastal wetland protection project. “These ecosystems provide important climate mitigation and adaptation benefits for countries, and we look forward to supporting countries in their effort to submit robust, mangrove-positive NDCs.”

Anelise Zimmer works on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Advancing Coastal Wetlands Conservation project.

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