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Please register to attend the event here

On Tuesday, June 15 and Wednesday, June 16, the UNEP/GEF Blue Forests Project will be hosting an online showcase event titled, “Communities, Climate and Coastal Ecosystems: Harnessing the value of blue forests to achieve sustainable livelihoods and climate action” from 16:00 – 19:00 Central European Summer Time (CEST).

Through partners worldwide, the Blue Forests Project (2015-2021) has explored and tested blue forests methodologies and approaches to harness ecosystem services and support carbon financing initiatives, while addressing key knowledge gaps and international policy engagement. The project results incorporate tools and solutions for the greater global application of blue carbon assessment and accounting, payment for ecosystem services, and enhancing capacity for a sustainable blue economy.

Th showcase event aims to share these experiences and lessons learned of the Blue Forests Project to assist with the development and replication of future initiatives. The event will be followed by a “Month of Blue Forests” webinar series occurring every Thursday from June 17 to July 15, 16:00 – 17:30 CEST.

Event Objectives

· Showcase results from the UNEP/GEF Blue Forests Project

· Review the current state of blue forests within international marine conservation, sustainability and climate policy

· Highlight experiences from the Blue Forests Project sites

· Introduce the Blue Forests Solutions Toolkit

· Provide online networking opportunities for participants to connect

Event Details – Day One

· Session One: 16:00 – 16:45 CES

Welcoming Remarks – Leah Karrer, GEF
Introductory remarks – Leticia Carvalho, UNEP
Overview of the Blue Forests Project and Results – Steven Lutz, GRID-Arendal

· Session Two: 17:15 – 18:30 CEST

Blue Forests Ambassador Panel – Peter Haugan (Institute of Marine Research, Norway), Amb. Ronny Jumeau (SIDS-DOCK), Mark J. Spalding (The Ocean Foundation), Dr. Pacifica Achieng (Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forestry), Stephanie Ockenden (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Event Details – Day Two

· Session One: 16:00 – 18:00

Introduction to the Blue Forests Solutions Toolkit – Steven Lutz, GRID-Arendal

Blue carbon and voluntary markets in Kenya – James Kairo, Kenya Marine & Fisheries Institute; Leah Glass, Blue Ventures

Community conservation agreements in Ecuador – Montserrat Alban, Conservation International Ecuador

Blue carbon accounting methodologies – Steve Crooks, Silvestrum Climate Associates

Blue carbon policy– Dorotheé Herr, IUCN

Discussion panel and Q&A – all presenters listed above, moderated by Tiina Kurvits, GRID-Arendal

· Session Two: 18:25 – 18:50

Blue forests restoration “score card” methodology in the Caribbean – Ben Scheelk, The Ocean Foundation

Concluding thoughts and introduction to “Month of Blue Forests” webinar series – Steven Lutz, GRID-Arendal

Speakers’ Profiles

Leah Bunce Karrer is an international conservationist dedicated to promoting the economic and social realities of natural resource decision-making. After serving as Deputy Chief Economist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Leah joined the Global Environment Facility as Senior Program Officer where she focuses on multi-million investments in issues including Circular Economy. She holds a Ph.D. on People & Conservation from Duke University.

Leticia Carvalho heads the Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems Branch of UNEP’s Ecosystem Division. Previously, she worked for the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, developing policies, plans and programmes for the control of environmental pollutants, and for the implementation of the conventions on chemicals and hazardous wastes in Brazil. Leticia has a degree in Oceanography from the University of Rio Grande Do Sul, and a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from the University of Brasilia.

Peter Haugan is Programme Director for Global Development at Institute of Marine Research in Norway. He also holds a professorship in oceanography at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen. His professional background includes polar and climate research related to the ocean including ocean carbon cycling and ocean-based renewable energy. He is past chair of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and presently co-chairs the Expert Group of the High-Level Panel on a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

Ronny Jumeau is a former Cabinet Minister and Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles. He served twice as Ambassador to the United Nations, United States and Canada 2007-2021 and also ambassador at large for climate, ocean, sustainability and island issues 2012-2021. He was Cabinet Secretary in the President’s office 1992-1998 and held several ministerial posts 1998-2007.Amb. Jumeau represented Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the world’s largest fund helping developing countries address climate change 2019-2021. He is currently Chair of SIDS DOCK, the SIDS global sustainable energy and climate resilience organisation. He represented Seychelles in the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) 2007-2021, chairing it 2013 to 2015. Amb. Jumeau was a member of Seychelles’ delegations to the United Nations climate change conferences 2007-2020 (COP13-25) and chief spokesperson of the Alliance of Small Island States 2012-2014.

Mark J. Spalding is the President of The Ocean Foundation and a member of the Ocean Studies Board, and the U.S. National Committee for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. Mark is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He is an Advisor to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In addition, he serves as the advisor to the Rockefeller Climate Solutions Fund and the Credit Suisse Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Fund (unprecedented ocean-centric investment funds). He is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment. He designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. Mark is an expert on international environmental policy and law, ocean policy and law, and coastal and marine philanthropy.

Pacifica Achieng Ogola has over 20 years’ experience working in Energy, Environment and Climate Change in various capacity. She is currently the Director and Head of Climate Change Directorate at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and National Focal Point to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Nairobi Convention. She is a current Board Member of the Technical Advisory Body for the Carbon Offsetting and Emission Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) where she serves as one of the representatives of the African Continent. She is the current co-chair for Kenya-Japan Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM) for carbon trading. She is also a current member of the KenGen Industry Advisory Board, Geothermal Training Centre.

She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Science (Environment and Natural Resources) from the School of Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Iceland in Geothermal Energy; Masters Degree in Environmental Science (Natural Resource Management).

Stephanie Ockenden is an official in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), leading a portfolio on Ocean & Climate Change Policy and International Evidence, which includes preparations towards the UK Presidency of COP26 and Ocean Action under the UK G7 Presidency.

James Kairo is currently a Chief Scientists at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and a member of the International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group. Dr Kairo initiated his university career at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, where he obtained BSc and MSc in Biology. He then obtained a PhD at the University of Brussels (Belgium) on the theme of ecology and restoration of mangrove systems. Over the last 10 years, Dr Kairo has contributed immensely to new knowledge on the ecology and restoration of mangrove systems in the WIO region by producing more than 20 peer reviewed publications. It is through his work that he has been invited to transfer mangrove reforestation and management technologies to several other countries in the region including Mozambique, Egypt and Tanzania.

Leah Glass works for Blue Ventures as their Technical Advisor for mangroves and blue carbon. For the last 8 years she has been based in Madagascar, working together with colleagues and grassroots community associations to develop some of the world's first blue carbon projects. As a practitioner, she has acquired a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges relating to locally-led blue carbon projects. Leah is passionate about ensuring that marine management makes sense for the people whose livelihoods depend on the ocean.

Montserrat Alban is an Ecosystem Service Manager in Conservation International - Ecuador who works with the design and implementation of economic incentives for ecosystem service conservation, marine conservation agreements, financial strategies for marine protected areas, socioeconomic monitoring, and freshwater services analysis. In order to keep her feet on the ground, Montserrat works supporting women organizations and in the engagement of local communities into environmentally friendly markets. She is currently working on understanding the social dynamics around marine ecosystems and how they respond to external shocks.

Steve Crooks is a wetland scientist/geomorphologist with 25 years of experience in the response of coastal wetland systems to human impacts and climate change. Steve specializes in translating scientific information to formats accessible to policy and decision makers as well as senior-level managers. He also works within organizations, governments, and agencies to develop teams and initiatives that support capacity building. He regularly briefs US and Foreign governments, government agencies, and Federal, State, and local leaders. He was a lead author of the IPCC 2013 Wetland Supplement. He is an Approved Methodology Expert to the verified Carbon Standard. He leads the U.S. interagency/science community Coastal Wetland Carbon Working Group, incorporating coastal wetlands within the U.S. Inventory of GHG emissions and sinks. He also co-chairs the carbon advisory panel for the Global Environmental Facility Blue Forest Project and is the co-founder of International Blue Carbon Initiative.

Dorothée Herr is the Manager for Oceans and Climate Change at the Global Marine and Polar Programme (GMPP) at IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature. She joined IUCN in 2009 and is now leading the IUCN’s international policy engagement on marine climate change issues including ocean acidification and Blue Carbon, especially within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Ms Herr has authored and co-authored a suite of articles and reports on ocean acidification in the context of the UNFCCC, Blue Carbon as well as on coastal and marine Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). Ms Herr is also working on developing new innovative financing tools for coastal and marine conservation efforts, and has developed with a team of financial experts the Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF). Ms Herr received her masters degree in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University, UK.

Ben Scheelk manages The Ocean Foundation’s Blue Resilience Initiative, Fiscal Sponsorship Program, and other internal programs related to protected areas, high seas governance, and sustainable tourism. Ben joined TOF after working as the project manager and executive assistant for Alexandra Cousteau at Blue Legacy International. Ben holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The George Washington University. He graduated from Northern Michigan University with a BA in Earth Science and International Studies with Honors. Ben serves as Chairman on the Board of Directors for The Commons, a 501(c)(3) that empowers restoration stakeholders with access to high quality digital services and open tool kits. He also serves as Treasurer on the Advisory Board for Ocean Connectors, which uses classroom activities, field trips, and “knowledge exchanges” to connect youth and build global stewardship in San Diego and Mexico.


Steven Lutz – GRID-Arendal, Blue Forests Project Coordinator

James Ellsmoor and Christian Zacchino – Island Innovation, Event Coordinator

Olivia Polkinghorne – GRID-Arendal, Blue Forests Research Associate

Isabelle Vanderbeck – UNEP, GEF IW Task Manager

Jill Raval – UNEP, Associate GEF Task Manager

Please register for the event here

Release date: 04 Jun 2021


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