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Foto av Terese Thoni

Terese Thoni


Foto av Terese Thoni

Blue Carbon and Ecosystem-based Adaptation : Mapping of Arenas


  • Terese Göransson

Summary, in English

This mapping provides an overview of different types of arenas where the two concepts Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and Blue Carbon (BC) are discussed. EbA has been defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as “The use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.” (CBD, 2009). BC has been defined as “the carbon stored, sequestered or released from coastal ecosystems of tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrass meadows” (Herr, Pidgeon, & Laffoley, 2012). Both issues have been raised at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, as well as in the context of other United Nations bodies and various international frameworks. This report looks at where these topics are negotiated and contextualised, and displays how different arenas and actors are interlinked within and between these two issues.
The material used to compile this report comprises official documents and communication from the UNFCCC website and web-based material from around 60 different entities. The report is also based on observations from UNFCCC workshops and negotiations between 2013 and 2015, which have helped to identify relevant material, arenas and actors. 
A large number of international organisations, conventions, and other bodies are engaged in the conceptualisation of these two issues. The report focusses, in particular, on the UNFCCC, and demonstrates which negotiation tracks are of interest for EbA and BC. The report also identifies other relevant conventions and UN-bodies that address these issues, or are in other ways relevant, at the stage of international politics. The report describes how EbA was first introduced at the level of international politics through the CBD and later to the UNFCCC. Today, the three so-called Rio Conventions, the CBD, the UNFCCC and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) cooperate in the area of EbA (CBD, UNCCD, & UNFCCC, 2012).
In the context of the UNFCCC, Blue Carbon was first specifically discussed at the 34th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in 2011. The results suggest that the most relevant arenas under the UNFCCC for Blue Carbon are REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries) and LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry), which is in line with the general framing of BC as mainly related to climate change mitigation. There are also reflections of Blue Carbon in NAMAs and INDCs. However, there are EbA-projects that focus on Blue Carbon ecosystems (mangroves, tidal salt marshes, wetlands, and seagrass meadows), and propose very similar actions as projects that are specifically framed as Blue Carbon-projects. Thus, framed as an adaptation project, BC- and EbA-projects are interlinked and could both be addressed in the context of the Nairobi work programme, which is the negotiation track where discussions regarding EbA are most topical today, as National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), or under the Adaptation Fund. The report identifies several UNFCCC agenda items with linkages to both BC and EbA, as well as other members of the UN-family and NGOs active in the conceptualisation of both issues.
How EbA and BC are considered in policy have implications for prioritising between different ecosystem services. Subsequent benefits and trade-offs, including on how the UNFCCC can best address land-use activities related to climate change, is identified as an important knowledge need.


  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • Miljövetenskap
  • Centrum för miljö- och klimatvetenskap (CEC)






CEC Report






Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University


  • Social Sciences


  • ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Blue Carbon
  • Systematic mapping study




  • ISBN: 978-91-981577-7-2