BMUB promotes initiative for protecting mangroves in the Pacific

Water, beach and mangroves

Mangrove Forest along the coast; picture: iStockphoto/ Tony Oquia

Five Pacific island countries have agreed on regional cooperation to protect mangroves. At a meeting in Apia (Samoa), the environment ministers of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu signed a corresponding declaration. Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter represented Germany at a sideline meeting during the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States. The German Environment Ministry is promoting regional cooperation to protect mangroves with a range of bilateral cooperation projects and played a key role in launching the Pacific Mangroves Initiative.

Schwarzelühr-Sutter underlined the importance of mangroves: 'The mangrove forests play a vital role by providing natural protection against the impacts of climate change and as breeding areas for the offspring of many different fish species that are important to the fishing industry.' These forests are essential to biodiversity on the Pacific islands.

The new declaration defines the organisation of the regional cooperation for protecting and sustainably using mangroves. As well as selecting and designating protected areas, the initiative is planning activities for reforestation of mangrove forests. The measures enable adaptation to the consequences of climate change in an ecological manner and will help preserve people's livelihood in island states.

The Pacific Mangroves Initiative is a partnership between the Pacific countries, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).