On an implementation level, mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses can be included in national accounting, according to the IPCC 2013 Supplement to the 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands.
Some technical elements need to be fully integrated into these mechanisms to value the full coastal carbon potential, e.g. accounting for soil carbon. An expansion of the implementation of programmes and projects around the world is also needed to stop the ongoing loss of these ecosystems and curb resulting emissions.
The management of marine ecosystems in the high seas as a climate mitigation option, and the use of the UNFCCC to incentivise better management action is currently an area of debate. These ecosystems either do not demonstrate globally relevant, long-term climate mitigation potential or have jurisdictional challenges related to the management and clear national carbon emissions or removals allocation. Further discussion and dialogue are now needed to analyse if, and how, an incentive mechanism for areas beyond national jurisdiction should be developed under the UN Climate Convention.
What is clear, however, is that an ecologically degraded ocean loses its capacity to support the carbon cycle and act broadly as a carbon sink. The management of marine ecosystems for a functioning ocean carbon cycle should therefore be strengthened under existing international, regional and sectoral regulation and management regimes such as through the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other area-based management efforts offer opportunities for no-regret climate change tools and are now needed more than ever for sustaining a functioning ocean which continues to serve as a carbon sink.
Many countries have included coastal ecosystem management in their national climate change mitigation activities, including under REDD+, NAMAs, NDCs and other mechanisms. These experiences show opportunities for further refinement as well as replication and expansion in other countries. More and more efforts now link the mitigation and adaptation benefits of these systems, and direct the appropriate management and policy responses through national development goals as well as coastal planning efforts.
Coastal ecosystem management for mitigation and adaptation can also be advanced under the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer, implemented by the Global Environment Facility, and through the work and services of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism.