Article | 29 Sep, 2022

Partners in blue carbon conservation team up for the Blue Carbon Conference 2022 in Thailand

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Dow Thailand Group, together with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Thailand opened a forum with their network partners under the project of Dow & Thailand Mangrove Alliance at Blue Carbon Conference 2022 - "Blue Carbon: Supporting Businesses to Net Zero, Boosting Ecosystems and Communities" on 23 September 2022. 

This was was regarded as the first forum in Thailand in which several experts in the fields of mangroves, and seagrass, policy makers, community representatives, and private sectors conferred on the same forum and shared their ideas about how to restore and conserve resources that benefits to the blue carbon, which contains a storage capacity of nearly 10 times higher than that of the forest ecosystem on land. The ecosystem, also generate a great number of environmental, economic, and social benefits. Moreover, this event was intended to cast the opinions for the preparation of policy proposals related to conservation and the ways to support Thailand in achieving the targets of carbon neutrality and Net Zero emissions.

The objectives of this collaboration were to exchange opinions for a policy paper related to the conservation of mangroves and seagrass in participative ways, and in the meantime, to share experiences that can lead to more effective preservation. Also, this coordination was intended to promote efficient and comprehensive carbon storage, which covers many aspects such as cultivation, nourishment, utilisation of the areas, creation of sustainable values for the community, and the calculation of carbon credit as to international standards.

The contents of this conference included blue carbon ecosystem and restoration policy, marine and coastal carbon credit mechanism, bodies of knowledge to improve the restoration and conservation of blue carbon areas, communities and resource management as well as benefits from the ecosystem, and the roles of the private sector in blue carbon conservation and Thailand's net zero carbon. In addition, more than 20 experts, both in and outside the country, together with more than 150 organisations operating in the conservation of blue carbon areas, were invited to join this conference as well.

“Blue carbon is a kind of carbon storage by means of marine and coastal ecosystems and it has a higher capacity than the forest ecosystem. However, nowadays, many of these resources are being devastated; therefore, the conservation and restoration of these resources are needed in order to maintain the ecosystem services derived from carbon storage in the long run and to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement. This is also corresponding to the principle called Nature-based Solution, which means nature shall do its best to solve the problems that humans are confronting, for instance, the damaged breeding grounds, the rise of sea ​​water level, and natural disasters, all of which are caused by global warming,” said Dr. Dindo Campilan, Asia Regional Director and Oceania Hub Director of IUCN.

“Dow Thailand is always trying its best to reduce global warming, stop plastic waste, and promote recycling based on circular economy principles. Thus, the company, in collaboration with DMCR and IUCN, decided to establish Dow & Thailand Mangrove Alliance in 2020. Currently, we are widely recognized as the coastal ecosystem conservation network with the highest number of participating members in Thailand.  Besides, we are planning to exchange our work experiences with the Global Mangrove Alliance in the near future,” said Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, Dow Thailand President by further adding, “I really hope that this cooperation will increase the bodies of knowledge related to appropriate conservation, bring about new collaborations, and provide opportunities to expand the network in which all organisations share the same perspectives. This is all to propel the business sector towards Net Zero, restore coastal ecosystem and environments, and enhance the community economy so that our country can eventually achieve stability and sustainability.”

Apichai Ekwanakul, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) said, “Referring to the missions of DMCR to conserve, restore, protect, and maintain marine and coastal resources, as well as mangrove forest, with an attempt to solve the problems caused by climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in the forest sector, DMCR has established the mangrove plantation project with an objective to take benefits from carbon credits. The target term of this project is 10 years (2022-2031) and it is implemented on an area of 300,000 rai in 23 coastal provinces. DMCR has issued the Regulations on Mangrove Plantation for Carbon Credits for the Public and the Regulations on Mangrove Plantation for Carbon Credits for Communities B.E. 2565, providing opportunities for the private sector and communities to have participated in the project. In 2022, the target areas of operation for the public and for communities are the same, approximately 44,000 rai. So far, the project has been getting lots of attention from a number of participants. Once approved to join the project by DMCR, the participants must register at Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), an agency responsible for carbon credit assessment during the implementation of this project. DMCR is always encouraging the local people to have engagement in every step of this project.

The project is expected to bring back fertile forest areas within a short time, save the government budget up to 600-700 million baht per year, and generate income for the people living within the project areas. According to the implementation timeframe of this project, the participants shall have to continue planting and taking care of mangroves over a period of 10 years at the least, which can effectively restore the deteriorated mangrove forest areas and meanwhile people are able to make use of them in a sustainable manner.”

“In addition to mangrove forest, seagrass resource is also considered a blue carbon ecosystem. Seagrass has gained more and more attention in Thailand in the past 4-5 years as it can capture and store carbon dioxide, which is quite new in the country. At present, there have been researches and experiments with seagrass plantation and restoration in many areas; and it is found that cooperation from communities and suitability of ecosystems in the area are required to plant seagrass successfully.  We would like to say thanks to many private organizations that recognize the importance of this issue and provide precious support, especially to Dow Thailand Group, which is the mainstay in organizing the forum today. From now on, DMCR will place more emphasis on the seagrass issue, and in the future, this issue will be as explicit as the mangrove forest that we have done before,” added Dr. Pornsri Suthanaruk, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).

The information from this platform can be further applied in other blue carbon conservation projects for the benefit of organisations that use this knowledge, for a better environment, and for the sake of communities. Furthermore, this forum also promoted new collaboration among participating organisations, leading to more solid conservation projects that can enhance the conservation of blue carbon areas in Thailand and then enable the country to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Pornrutai CHOTVIJIT
Biodiversity and Business Engagement Officer, IUCN Thailand