Friday, July 8, 2011

Blue Carbon & Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management

Just yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend a great presentation by Tundi Agardy on coastal ecosystem based management and a new guide produced by UNEP. Definitely useful for the blue carbon concept and recommended reading! Thanks Tundi, and all the other authors, and UNEP. -Steven

Taking steps toward marine and coastal ecosystem based management - An introductory guide by UNEP

This guide by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) seeks to assist countries and communities to take steps towards making marine and coastal ecosystem-based management operational, from strategic planning to on-site implementation. An important aim of this guide is to facilitate the implementation of UNEP’s overarching Ecosystem Management Programme and new Marine and Coastal Strategy in countries and regions in line with its Medium Term Strategy 2010-13.

Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems provide many valuable services ranging from food security, resources for economic growth and recreation alongside tourism and coastline protection. They are also recognized as crucial reservoirs of biodiversity at a time when the loss of species on both land and in the sea is an increasing cause for concern.

The Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) guide outlines operational considerations in an accessible language, drawing upon practical experiences and lessons across the globe from tropical coastlines to temperate estuaries and polar ocean ecosystems. An important message is that this is an incremental process and there are different paths toward EBM. Cross boundary considerations and working with neighbours and even countries far away will be an essential component.

The target audience of the guide includes planners and decision-makers in local, national and regional governments and communities across a broad spectrum of interests and uses. The guide is not a technical manual or textbook. Rather, it is an introduction to EBM principles and applications, providing an overview of core elements and pathways to getting started.

This guide is intended to complement UNEP’s work, such as the Green Economy, providing guidance on making changes in the way we interact with ecosystems, as well as the Blue Carbon Initiative, which explores the potential for mitigating climate change by investing and re-investing in healthy coastal ecosystems that capture and store carbon.

EBM offers a valuable solution for harnessing marine and coastal ecosystems in adapting to climate change and other potential disasters and can prove to be a valuable resource in assisting coastal countries and communities to move from theory to practical ecosystem-based management of oceans and coasts.

The guide is divided into the following chapters:


Section I. Making The Case For Marine and coastal EBM
  • Why is change necessary?
  • Defining EBM
  • How is EBM an improvement on current management?
  • EBM is science-based
  • EBM can grow from existing legal and regulatory frameworks
  • EBM embraces the precautionary approach
  • Costs and benefits of EBM
Section II. Examining the core elements of EBM
  • Core Element 1: Recognizing connections within and across ecosystems
  • Core Element 2: Applying an ecosystem services perspective
  • Core Element 3: Understanding and addressing cumulative impacts
  • Core Element 4: Managing for multiple objectives
  • Core Element 5: Embracing change, learning, and adapting EBM
Section III: Moving toward EBM
  • Visioning Phase: Establish a Foundation for EBM
  • Identify target geographic area and key concerns
  • Build interest, expand participation, and create settings for sectors to come together
  • Develop a common understanding of the ecosystem
  • Take stock of existing management practices
  • Set overarching goals
Planning Phase: Chart the EBM Process
  • Assess the ecosystem
  • Evaluate EBM governance options, and create legal frameworks to support multi-sectoral management
  • Identify measurable objectives
  • Prioritize threats, evaluate management options, and examine trade-offs
  • Choose management strategies for EBM implementation
Implementation Phase: Apply and Adapt EBM
  • Monitor, evaluate, and adapt
  • Continue to communicate and educate
  • Secure sustainable financing for EBM implementation over time
Concluding thoughts

Download the guide from below (size 10.07 MB):
Taking steps toward marine and coastal ecosystem based management - An introductory guide by UNEP (2011)

See also: