ORRAA, a leading alliance, has positioned itself at the forefront of environmental action. Recognising the critical role coastal ecosystems play in climate mitigation and the growing demand for blue carbon credits, ORRAA has championed efforts to ensure the quality and sustainability of blue carbon projects.
Coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows mitigate climate change by: sequestering and storing vast amounts of carbon; serving as barriers against storm surges, flooding, and erosion; cleaning air and water; and providing critical habitats for marine life. Coastal blue carbon ecosystems are valued at over US$190 billion per year for carbon sequestration and the other ecosystem services they provide.
The surge in interest and participation in the blue carbon market posed challenges of maintaining quality and alignment among stakeholders.
ORRAA responded to the challenge by collaboratively developing the "High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidance." This comprehensive framework provides a roadmap for stakeholders, aligning them around key principles to ensure the integrity of blue carbon initiatives.
MCC, as experts in Blue Carbon were engaged by ORRAA (and partners) to help take the Principals and Guidance ‘to the next level’. MCC worked together with ORRAA to refine the goals of the consultancy, develop a workplan, and a schedule of activities as described below.
MCC provided support cross 5 key activity areas, as listed below. There was an iterative and adaptive process that was applied as more was learnt about the blue carbon market, which is evolving rapidly itself.
a. Project Management and Coordination.
b.Stakeholder mapping and analysis.
c. Research to understand how to improve the uptake of the HQBC P&G’s (P&G’s).
d.Communications package and development of supporting resources to increase their use.
e. A Solutions Lab to connect the blue carbon community around the 5 principles of High-Quality; and
f. Reporting and recommendations.
Through the implementation of activities MCC were able to help ORRAA gain better insight into the uptake of the Principles and Guidance, as well as understand what barriers were evident, and solutions to these. There were many opportunities that were identified to progress the adoption and uptake of the HQBC P&G’s.
ORRAA and partners were very appreciative of the work completed by MCC. Significantly they noted that whilst attending COP28 they noticed a notable increased awareness of the Guidance as the “go to for high quality”, and this was in part due to the work completed by MCC.