From 10 to 12 April the first UN Ocean Decade Conference will take place in Barcelona. It is the finale of the Ocean Decade Week that will bring together the global ocean community. More than 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference which features over 40 international speakers.

As is custom at such large-scale conferences, the official programme will be complemented by more than 130 satellite events in the lead-up to the conference and during the conference itself. One such side event is the "Blue Carbon Dialogue: Accelerating blue carbon-driven restoration and conservation actions" organised by JPI Oceans’ Yekaterina Astafyeva in collaboration with Martin Zimmer and Véronique Helfer from ZMT’s mangrove ecology working group as well as Majbritt Bolton-Warberg from the Marine Institute Ireland. The 75-minute exchange format will focus on “Science and Technology” and “Policy and Governance” issues where two distinct panels, after short impulse talks, will discuss the potential and major challenges related to Blue Carbon actions.

It is also an opportunity to introduce the newly launched JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub on Blue Carbon to a wider audience. Having recently been approved as an Ocean Decade Project within the "Global Ocean Decade Programme for Blue Carbon” (GO-BC), the expert group aims to minimize uncertainties, exchange knowledge and create management tools to enhance the advantages of blue carbon (BC).

Panellists and speakers will talk about the progress made in BC research, address knowledge gaps and evaluate the effectiveness of coastal blue carbon ecosystems as carbon sinks worldwide.

Another objective is to meet representatives from relevant BC projects and initiatives to build a BC network, discuss the use of BC technologies and share knowledge on the current state-of-the-art. Thus, the Blue Carbon Dialogue in Barcelona will assist the JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub in creating a global active interdisciplinary network of Blue Carbon specialists.

From ZMT, Martin Zimmer, head of the mangrove ecology working group, and senior scientist Dr. Véronique Helfer will be actively involved in the event.

While Martin Zimmer, who has recently been elected as Vice Chair of the JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub on Blue Carbon, will report on the work of the ZMT-coordinated “sea4soCiety” project, Véronique Helfer will moderate the panel discussion on “Science and Technology” and summarise the discussions with closing remarks and an outlook to the future actions and outcome of this event.

Although ZMT research on mangroves as blue carbon ecosystems is focused on coastal regions and not the open ocean, it is very closely linked to a number of the ten Ocean Decade Challenges – namely Challenge 2 “Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity”, Challenge 5 “Unlock ocean-based solutions to climate change” and Challenge 10 “Change humanity’s relationship with the ocean”.

Martin Zimmer says: “Blue carbon sequestration is at the forefront of nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. Hence, it is vital to speed up the conservation and particularly the (re-)establishment of mangrove forests and other BC-ecosystems.”

Véronique Helfer adds: “We thank JPI Oceans for the opportunity to work side by side at this event. During the Blue Carbon Dialogue we will not only exchange knowledge on science and technology with leading researchers in the field, but above all shine a light on the important role that blue carbon ecosystem such as mangrove forests play for biodiversity, climate mitigation and resilience of local communities in the tropics, and which policy and governance systems are more adequate to ensure environmental integrity, social equity and justice.”


WHEN: 12 April, 8:30 – 9:45 am

WHERE:  Baltic Sea Room (122+123), Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB)