IGAD calls for conservation of seaweeds, mangroves in climate change fight


  • World
  • Saturday, 15 Jun 2024

NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, on Friday called on regional countries to conserve seaweeds and mangroves in the fight against climate change as the coastal plants capture carbon and guard against rising sea levels.

IGAD's Climate Change Technical Working Group said in a report released in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the region faces many climate challenges, but amid the threats, seaweed and mangroves offer hope.

"Seaweeds serve as nature's efficient carbon capture agents. Their natural and sustainable solution offers significant carbon sequestration potential, far exceeding that of terrestrial forests," the group said.

On the other hand, it noted that mangrove forests protect coastal communities from storms and floods and serve as natural barriers against rising sea levels, because their "intricate root systems trap sediments, preventing coastal erosion and maintaining healthy beaches."

"In light of the recent cyclones in the Horn of Africa, it is crucial to recognize the role of mangroves in mitigating the impacts of such extreme weather events. Preserving and restoring mangrove forests is essential for enhancing resilience against future climate-related disasters," said Vicky Jebet, a member of the team.

The World Bank estimates that some 4.1 million small-scale fishers rely on mangroves for their livelihoods in the region. The plants generate employment opportunities, filter water ensuring it remains clean, are habitats for wildlife, and shield coastal communities from climate disasters.

The IGAD group thus urges countries in the Horn of Africa to tackle plastic pollution and invest in community-driven innovations to benefit from seaweeds and mangroves as they step up the fight against climate change.

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