The Philippines has joined the Blue Carbon Action Partnership (BCAP) of the World Economic Forum (WEF), taking another step to solidify the government’s pursuit of a green and blue socioeconomic agenda, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced on Thursday.
The partnership agreement was signed last December 3 at the sidelines of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).
The agreement takes effect upon its signing on 3 December 2023 and ends on 31 March 2026.
It aims to strengthen coastal ecosystems, boost blue carbon conservation and mitigate climate change. This effort is supported by the Government of the United Kingdom through the UK Blue Planet Fund, specifically the Climate and Ocean Adaptation and Sustainable Transition (COAST).
DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Head of the Philippine Delegation to COP28, signed the partnership agreement with Neo Gim Huay, Managing Director of the WEF Center for Nature and Climate. This effectively creates the National Blue Carbon Action Partnership (NBCAP) and will bring support from WEF for the government to work with businesses, communities and civil society organizations to restore, conserve and sustainably manage coastal ecosystems.
“The Philippines, endowed with rich biodiversity and extensive coastlines, is home to vast blue carbon ecosystems. We look forward to working with the Blue Carbon Action Partnership to facilitate the inclusive, whole-of-society approach to developing a shared ambition for blue carbon, community resilience, inclusive development and unlocking the Philippines’ potential to provide nature-based climate solutions for the rest of the world whilst supporting our programs for protected areas and preparing the country for participating in the new blue economy,” Yulo-Loyzaga said.
The NBCAP will contribute to three strategic pillars: (1) convene communities and moderate multilateral conversations relevant to structuring particularly multilateral government structure, and groups working on impact, (2) generate new insights and roadmaps to support the creation of National blue carbon baseline analysis, national blue carbon roadmap, and national blue carbon finance roadmap; and (3) catalyze strategic action to support the implementation of the blue carbon and finance roadmaps, and global collaborations with complementary initiatives.
“We wish to unlock the Philippines’ potential to provide nature-based climate solutions not just for ourselves but for the rest of the world while supporting our programs on protected areas, and preparing our country for participating in the new blue economy,” said Loyzaga. She added, “The role of the private sector cannot be diminished. And this would be a call for the private sector to go beyond ESG [environmental, social, and governance], and to integrate biodiversity protection and climate action into core business value cycles, instead of CSR [corporate social responsibility] options.”
Blue carbon is the stored carbon from coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and marshes. Coastal ecosystems, aside from providing essential ecosystem services such as coastal protection from storms and nursery grounds for fish, sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon from the atmosphere and the oceans thus contributing to solving climate change.