In 2015, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem to be celebrated each year on July 26. The main goal of the event is to spread awareness about the significance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special, and vulnerable ecosystem. Also to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation, and uses.
The mangroves are rare and copious ecosystems. It is found on the boundary between the land and the sea. It helps in the wellbeing, food security, and protection of coastal communities worldwide. It also functions as a form of natural coastal defence against storm surges, tsunamis, rising sea levels, and erosion. Their soils are highly effective carbon sinks, sequestering vast amounts of carbon. However, in recent times, the mangroves are disappearing three to five times faster than the overall global forest losses. This is resulting in serious ecological and socio-economic impacts. As per the recent data, it is estimated that mangrove cover has been divided by two in the past 40 years.
On the occasion the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay said that the day signifies the value of Mangroves as the foundation of coastal life and advocates for support and awareness of the communities dependent on their conservation. It also serves as an opportunity to reflect on the personal commitment to climate and biodiversity conservation and promote global action for a sustainable future.
To solve the crisis, UNESCO is involved in the conservation of the mangroves while advancing the sustainable development of their local communities. The inclusion of mangroves in Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage sites and UNESCO Global Geoparks contributes to improving the knowledge, management, and conservation of mangrove ecosystems throughout the world.
The UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Shamila Nair-Bedouelle commented that there is a need for an action to be taken as mangroves have great importance in the wellbeing of the population. One should conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems with the support of environmental education and community involvement. Strengthening coastal UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and establishing new ones as a step to restore what we have lost she added