26 July is International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem! Mangrove ecosystems provide benefits and services that are essential for life. From advancing food security, sustaining fisheries and forest products and offering protection from storms, tsunamis and sea level rise to preventing shoreline erosion, regulating coastal water quality and providing habitats for endangered marine species -- the list is long on the importance of mangrove ecosystems.
This includes the unique role that they play in sequestering and storing significant amounts of coastal blue carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, crucial for mitigating climate change.
UNESCO is drawing on all of its strengths -- through its Man and the Biosphere Programme, its International Hydrological Programme, its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Programme -– to protect mangrove ecosystems.
We must reverse the trend of degradation and protect the mangroves that are so essential to the health of the planet.