Thursday, June 9, 2011

Words of Caution for Blue Carbon on World Oceans Day

To mark World Oceans Day, the United Nations hosted a panel discussion at its Headquarters in New York. The theme of the discussion was “Our oceans: greening our future.”

One of the panelists was had some comments that can be taken as some of the first words of caution for blue carbon. During her presentation titled “Oceans and the social impact,” Ms. Chandrika Sharma, speaking on behalf of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), noted the need to ensure human rights and access to local ecosystems when pursuing a carbon market approach for oceans and mangroves:

“I think what we are bit worried about, the whole thing of the green economy, is the whole issue of valuation of nature, commodification of nature.

The kind of payments for ecosystem services, where you can actually buy carbon credits in another ecosystem, say in the oceans, or in mangrove ecosystems, where the whole ecosystem becomes just something which is for carbon sequestration.

It doesn’t remain an ecosystem that is used by people, and who people have been using for centuries, and people have a right to control and manage.

So to the extent that such unregulated marketing of ecosystems undermines peoples control over their ecosystems, I think we need to be very cautious about.

I think we have already had experiences with REDD+ schemes where indigenous people feel that they have lost control over the forests and the ecosystems that supported them, and has negative implications for human rights.”

Something to keep in mind as blue carbon progresses...

The entire panel discussion can be found at the United Nations Webcast site:

(comments related to blue carbon can be found from 20: 07 to 21:10)