In Monrovia, Liberia from March 18-21, the Liberian government, the Swedish Embassy to Liberia, Conservation International, and other participants gathered at the first major ocean conference ever held in West Africa – the Blue Oceans Conference – to discuss and commit to a set of outcomes to improve coastal ecosystems – especially mangroves which line much of Liberia’s coast.
Mangrove conservation and restoration is a nature-based solution that Liberia can employ in their fight against climate change as well as a means for making a significant contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference highlighted how mangroves increase the resiliency of coastal communities against seal level rise, coastal erosion, and storm damage. Mangroves were also mentioned repeatedly as a low cost, natural solution, to climate mitigation and the role they play in securing livelihoods and providing healthy sources of protein through the fisheries that mangroves support.
Among other commitments agreed to by the Liberian government, mangroves were specifically mentioned in a commitment to “no net loss of Liberia’s mangroves post 2020 by developing a robust set of projects and programs to conserve and restore Liberia’s mangrove ecosystems.” Clearly demonstrating alignment with the GMA goals.
The conference also gave voice to West African communities affected by climate change, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, marine pollution and other issues – a demographic not often well represented at larger, global conferences.
For more information on the conference (and to check out the music video) please visit the conference website: https://blueoceansconferenceliberia.com