October 12, 2018
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reiterated its support to an ongoing research project identifying blue carbon strategies to help preserve coastal ecosystems in the Coral Triangle and mitigate climate change.
The Comprehensive Assessment and Conservation of Blue Carbon Ecosystems and their Services in the Coral Triangle (BlueCARES) Project is a 5-year (2017-2022) trilateral research project under JICA and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) in partnership with the Philippines and Indonesia. It aims to help boost local efforts to conserve and improve the resilience of the coastal ecosystem in the Coral Triangle to help curb global warming. The Coral Triangle, the global center of the marine biodiversity, includes the waters of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Islands.
"We look forward that the project will create greater awareness, understanding, and action among various stakeholders in the importance of environmental management and in contributing to the body of research on blue carbon strategies," said JICA Section Chief Flerida Chan during the 1st National Blue Carbon Symposium held recently in Subic, Zambales.
Participants at the 1st National Blue Carbon Symposium view posters of studies relevant to blue carbon. The symposium promoted information sharing and collaboration among experts from government, private, and academic organizations in the Philippines.
(Photo courtesy of the University of the Philippines)
Blue carbon refers to the carbon captured by the world's oceans and coastal ecosystems like seagrasses and mangroves. When these systems are damaged, an enormous amount of carbon is released to the atmosphere, adversely contributing to climate change. Research has shown that the degradation of these ecosystems can increase the risk of coastal communities to natural disasters and food security issues.
The BlueCARES project covers more than 80% of the total area of blue carbon ecosystems in Indonesia and in the Philippines. Project pilot sites include Palawan and Panay islands in the Philippines, as well as Derawan Islands, Northern Sulawesi Peninsula, Nusa Penida Islands, Karimunjawa Islands, and central northern coast of Java Island in Indonesia, and Japan's Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa.
The Philippine counterpart of the project, IAMBlueCECAM (Integrated Assessment and Modelling of Blue Carbon Ecosystems Conservation and Adaptive Management Program), is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
JICA added that the project intends to identify policies and encourage partnerships among government agencies, non-government organizations, and other academic institutions.
Under JICA, the assistance is under a scheme called Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) Program that promotes Japanese technology in partner countries specifically on areas such as environment, energy, disaster risk reduction, and infectious disease control issues among others.