Mangroves are rare, spectacular and prolific ecosystems on the boundary between land and sea. They ensure food security for local communities. They provide biomass, forest products and sustain fisheries. They contribute to the protection of coastlines. They help mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events.  

This is why the protection of mangrove ecosystems is essential today. Their survival faces serious challenges -- from the alarming rise of the sea level and biodiversity that is increasingly endangered. The earth and humanity simply cannot afford to lose these vital ecosystems.

UNESCO has always been on the frontline of promoting new and harmonious relations between humanity and nature, where the preservation of mangrove ecosystems carries special importance. 

To this end, UNESCO is working across the board and with all partners on an open initiative on mangroves and sustainable development. UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves has 86 sites out of 669 that include areas of mangroves. Many are in developing countries and Small Island Developing States – such as La Hotte Biosphere Reserve in Haiti and the island of Principe in Sao Tome and Principe, as well as the Can Gio Mangrove in Viet Nam. These overlap with UNESCO World Heritage sites that include mangrove ecosystems, such as the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas in Kiribati. The UNESCO Global Geoparks Network also has mangrove sites, like the Langkawi Global Geopark of Malaysia.

On this first International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystems, UNESCO’s message is clear. Taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development means forging new sustainable pathways to development in harmony with the earth. This means preserving all mangrove ecosystems.

UNESCO has always been on the frontline of promoting new and harmonious relations between humanity and nature, where the preservation of mangrove ecosystems carries special importance. To this end, UNESCO is working across the board and with all partners on an open initiative on mangroves and sustainable development. UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves has 86 sites out of 669 that include areas of mangroves. Many are in developing countries and Small Island Developing States – such as La Hotte Biosphere Reserve in Haiti and the island of Principe in Sao Tome and Principe, as well as the Can Gio Mangrove in Viet Nam. These overlap with UNESCO World Heritage sites that include mangrove ecosystems, such as the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas in Kiribati. The UNESCO Global Geoparks Network also has mangrove sites, like the Langkawi Global Geopark of Malaysia.

On this first International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystems, UNESCO’s message is clear. Taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development means forging new sustainable pathways to development in harmony with the earth. This means preserving all mangrove ecosystems.

Irina Bokova

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