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Side Event

A Policy Brief Launch: Securing the Future of Mangroves

United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health

Date and Time
12 October 2012 18:15 - 19:45

Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11)

Mangroves are extraordinary ecosystems that offer countless goods and services to the human population. Their importance and value both economically and ecologically are largely known; despite this nearly all mangrove nations have experienced net losses in mangrove cover in recent decades as a result of human activity and the remaining mangrove habitats are seldom pristine. These human activities continue to take their toll and if left unchecked will cause significant economic and ecological decline. Despite sporadic public attention, rare and critically important mangrove forests continue to be lost at a rate three to five times higher than that for land-based global forests. Set against this is a growing realisation of the social and economic value of mangroves and a remarkable array of restoration efforts in many countries around the world. These are not sufficient to reduce overall rates of loss, but do provide a pointer to the changing attitudes in some places, and to the viability of restoration as a tool for reversing the losses associated with mangrove decline. Much of their fate is determined by high-level policy decisions and by the lack of enforcement of protection measures. Reversing this downward trend will require a real commitment by governments to develop and implement robust high-level policies that could positively affect mangroves. This event will launch the Policy Brief: Securing the Future of Mangroves which is based on the 2nd edition of the World Atlas of Mangroves (2010). The aim of this policy brief is to provide managers with lessons learned on the conservation and management of mangroves, and recommend policy measures that could be taken in order to protect them. We hope that this document will stimulate greater interest by policy makers in the fate of these valuable ecosystems, and promote a greater drive for their effective protection and management.