Mangroves make great conservation allies

July 26, 2017 – The world is losing its mangrove forests at an alarming rate. Scientists estimate that 50 percent of our mangroves have disappeared during the last five decades. And every year we lose roughly another 1 percent. At this rate all unprotected mangroves could disappear in the next century. The Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) is rallying the world around a target of increasing mangrove coverage by 20 percent over current extent by 2030. It’s an ambitious goal – one that requires collaboration among partners from all sectors in every corner of the world with mangroves. We’re doing our part to increase that collaboration.

Photo: Copyright: Edward Parker / WWF

Today, as the world celebrates the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, we are proud to announce that the GMA is growing. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially joins Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and World Widlife Fund (WWF) as a founding member. We also welcome Wetlands InternationalRareBlue Ventures, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and the Mangrove Action Project. All of these organizations bring new talent, insight, resources, and expertise to the table, which will be needed if we’re to meet our target.

“Despite the gains made in recent years, we know that we must urgently step up our game if we are to reverse a rate of global destruction that has already deleted half of our planet’s mangroves. Ultimately, this will mean organisations working together. This is why IUCN is delighted and deeply proud to be part of the Global Mangrove Alliance – an alliance that represents a renewed spirit of collaboration and one that will help the international community achieve our target to expand mangrove habitat by 20% by 2030,” said Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General.

IUCN has an extensive portfolio of global mangrove work and a history of engaging governments, civil society organizations, experts, and local communities to enable the creation and implementation of solutions to a wide range of environmental challenges. Notably, IUCN comes to the GMA with experience in developing and co-chairing Mangroves For the Future, a partner-led initiative in Asia and the Pacific that promotes coastal ecosystem conservation in 11 member countries at present.

IUCN has been driving the restoration movement through the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes (including mangroves) into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. Currently, 44 governments, private associations and organisations have committed 156.05 million hectares to the Bonn Challenge.

The need for collaboration and new partnerships is increasingly urgent as human activity continues to destroy mangroves, while the countless communities protected by these forests face ever-growing threats due to climate change, coastal migration, and unsustainable development and fishing practices.

“Wetlands International has been working for decades with communities, government partners, CSOs and the private sector on the conservation of mangroves across the tropics. By joining the Global Mangrove Alliance, we believe we are able to step up these efforts and work with CI, IUCN, TNC, WWF and many others to stop the degradation of mangroves and bring back some of the values that were lost,” said Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International.

Although mangroves are in the spotlight for today’s celebrations, it will take more than an annual event to save them. To protect the lives and economic security of the millions who rely on mangroves for coastal protection, food, jobs, and carbon storage, we must continue to work together to address the threats to mangrove forests and enable governments and communities to sustainably manage these precious coastal ecosystems.

Join the Global Mangrove Alliance and help us realize a target of restoring 20 percent of mangrove cover by 2030.

The Global Mangrove Alliance thanks BMZ for their support for the GMA website and their commitment to the overall GMA target.

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