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The First National Blue Carbon Sink Assessment for South Africa

The country is globally recognised for its marine heritage. Its marine ecosystems are not only beautiful and diverse: they also bring economic and social benefits through job creation and contributing to food security. This makes it an imperative to implement targeted climate change policies for marine and coastal ecosystems – and to centre blue carbon in these plans. While national blue carbon stocks are naturally limited by the distribution of mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses; South Africa does have existing policies that can be used to protect and restore these ecosystems. But it will require a concerted effort across all spheres of government (local, provincial, and national) to prioritise and mainstream blue carbon ecosystem protection and sustainable use. A study identified principal climate change mitigation opportunities with co – benefits for adaptation and biodiversity conservation. These include conservation and rehabilitation activities that can be used under article 6 of the Paris Agreement under marked based approaches to service Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use sectoral targets of the climate change mitigation system for South Africa.