The Mangrove Breakthrough: a call to action for a critical ecosystem
The ability of mangroves to provide food, shelter and livelihoods, while harbouring incredible biodiversity, building coastal resilience, and acting as immense carbon sinks, make mangrove protection and restoration an effective Nature-based Solution to have in our arsenal to combat climate change. At UNFCCC COP27, IUCN and the Global Mangrove Alliance, in collaboration with UN High Level Climate Champions, set a shared target and pathway for government and non-state actors to drive finance to collectively restore and protect these vital ecosystems.
The Global Mangrove Alliance in collaboration with the UN Climate Change High-level Champions have identified the need for a unified global approach towards mangrove conservation and are calling for signatories to the Mangrove Breakthrough launched today at UNFCCC COP27.
The Mangrove Breakthrough is a science-based, measurable, and achievable target for non-state actors and governments to collectively restore and protect mangroves at the scale needed to secure the future of these vital coastal forests. This will be achieved by driving and catalyzing financial flows to activate proven solutions and mobilize action on the ground for the protection and restoration of mangrove ecosystems as part of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda—a key roadmap to deliver on the Race to Resilience.
The Mangrove Breakthrough aims to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030, seeing investments of 4 billion USD by 2030 to conserve and revitalize these coastal ecosystems, to implement collective action on:
- Halting mangrove losses.
- Restoring half of recent mangrove losses.
- Doubling the protection of mangroves globally.
- Ensuring sustainable long-term finance for all existing mangroves.
The Breakthrough aims to catalyze the financial support needed to scale proven solutions by working to channel finance to the ground through the Global Mangrove Alliance: a world-wide collaboration between NGOs, governments, academics and communities working together towards a global vision for accelerating change and building a host of opportunities for coastal peoples and biodiversity around the planet. The Global Mangrove Alliance is led by IUCN together with partners Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and Wetlands International.
Current signatories to the breakthrough include Global Mangrove Alliance members, the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), and Salesforce, among many others.
By joining the Mangrove Breakthrough, signatories recognize the need and show a willingness to achieve a future where these critical ecosystems are restored and protected.
The Breakthrough could not be more timely. The opportunity to create momentum for mangrove action at scale and unlock the required finance is now. Mangroves are now widely valued, the potential for conservation and restoration is clear, and the knowledge base is there to drive successful implementation with inclusive and science-driven approaches, amongst stakeholders, and across geographies.
Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International.
Mangroves have tremendous potential for not only coastal conservation but also present a unique sequestration system. We are very pleased to launch the Mangrove Breakthrough as it will raise much needed global ambition on mangrove conservation by unlocking public, private and philanthropic finance, at scale.
Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP27
Part of our mandate is to inspire and support the non-state actors in supporting Parties towards delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Mangrove Breakthrough is creating the framework for the necessary ambition loop for governments and non-state actors to scale actions for the protection of mangrove ecosystems. The Mangrove Breakthrough will allow for even further global alignment and provides a pathway to measurable, shared accomplishment.
Nigel Topping, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP26 .
Mangrove forests have been increasingly recognized as critical coastal ecosystems and are proven nature-based solutions to a changing climate. Their ability to provide food, extreme weather protection, and livelihoods, all while harboring incredible biodiversity, enhancing coastal resilience, and acting as immense carbon sinks make mangrove conservation and restoration a common sense-investment. It’s time to do for mangroves what they have been doing for us: protect and revitalize.
Dr. Daniela Raik, EVP of Field Programs at Conservation International.
We are delighted to be supporting the Mangrove Breakthrough, to galvanize the efforts of organizations and governments with a common focus: to re-allocate capital in support of a nature-based solution that can deliver unparalleled value to coastal economies and their climate resilience.
Alejandro Litovsky, founder and CEO of Earth Security
Mangroves are unparalleled in their role as a powerful climate solution, a bedrock of biodiversity, and a source of livelihood for millions of people around the world.We are honored to support the Mangrove Breakthrough as part of our commitment to 1t.org and Salesforce’s Ocean Sustainability Program. We must continue to raise ambition to protect and restore these critical ecosystems. Philanthropy alone will not close the financing gap to sustainably manage mangrove forest across the globe. We need the full spectrum of climate capital to scale innovative solutions and channel billions in funding to mangrove projects like never seen before.
Suzanne DiBianca, EVP and Chief Impact Officer at Salesforce.
The Breakthrough will channel finance at scale to ensure funding for both global and local initiatives aimed at protecting and restoring these coastal forests. Since 2018, the GMA has brought together dozens of organizations engaged in these activities, providing a platform and community of practice to align efforts and establish best practices for mangrove conservation and restoration. In recent years, the GMA has launched several National Chapters to better engage and organize collective action at the national and local levels. Efforts such as these represent investment-ready opportunities, providing a tangible pathway to meet the goals of the Mangrove Breakthrough.
When we protect and restore mangroves, we also reap huge climate benefits. The Mangrove Breakthrough is an innovative mechanism to share the responsibility for ensuring that mangroves thrive and continue to provide vital ecosystem services, from coastal protection to food security. WWF is proud to endorse it.
Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
Impact of the Breakthrough
In achieving the Mangrove Breakthrough, we estimate a climate benefit of sequestering over 43.5 million tons of CO2 into mangrove biomass and safeguarding or sequestering an additional 189 million tons of CO2 in the soil.
Restoring half of recently lost mangroves would potentially benefit 37 commerical marine species of fish, crabs, bivalves and shrimp by providing habitat for over 25 billion juveniles each year.
And the coastal protection provided by mangroves against flooding and storms – securing lives, infrastructure and economic security – has been estimated to reduce flood risk for over 15 million people and over $65 billion worth of property annually.
As we work together to scale up financial contributions for mangrove action through the Mangrove Breakthrough, it will be equally critical that we underpin these investments with scientifically robust restoration best practices and safeguards. IUCN, through working together with our Global Mangrove Alliance partners, is ready to provide the technical guidance and best practices to maintain high integrity and ensure impacts of investments for both nature and people.
Stewart Maginnis, Deputy Director of IUCN.
The Mangrove Breakthrough is part of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda of the Marrakesh Partnership. It has defined key 2030 Adaptation Outcome Targets as high-impact solutions that can accelerate resilience to the climate risks faced by people in vulnerable communities around the world. The Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Solutions bring together the opportunity to accelerate transformative adaptation actions and deliver system-level resilience. They consolidate efforts across the Partnership and resilience actors to unite behind actionable targets and solutions, which enable the Race to Resilience goal of making 4 billion vulnerable people more resilient by 2030.
At the time of this announcement, current signatories to the Mangrove Breakthrough include: Conservation International, Blue Forest, World Wildlife Fund, Earth Security, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wetlands International, Ocean Risk Alliance, the Nature Conservancy, Pew Charitable Trusts, Rare, National Audubon Society, Bangladesh Environment and Development Society, Blue Ventures, Fair Carbon, Gallifrey Foundation, Global Wetlands Project, Invemar, Mangrove Action Project, IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Conservation Foundation, Smithsonian Institution (scientific partner), University of Queensland, the Zoological Society of London, World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action, 1t.org, Salesforce.
Leal, Maricé and Spalding, Mark D (editors), 2022 The State of the World’s Mangroves 2022. https://www.mangrovealliance.org/mangrove-forests/. Global Mangrove Alliance.
About the Global Mangrove Alliance
In 2018, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), the Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wetlands International, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) formed the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA). This partnership now includes over 30 member organizations that share the aim of scaling up the recovery of mangroves through equitable and effective expansion of both mangrove protection and the restoration of former mangrove areas. The GMA works worldwide in supporting research, advocacy, education and practical projects on the ground with local and community partners.
Learn more about IUCN’s work on conserving and protecting mangroves:
- IUCN Resolution WCC-2020-Res-078-EN: Conservation, restoration and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystems
- Global Mangrove Alliance: The State of the World's Mangroves 2022