Washington: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a project to support the Government of Indonesia in enhancing the management of mangroves and livelihoods of local communities.
The Mangroves for Coastal Resilience Project will focus on strengthening the policy and institutions for mangrove management and rehabilitation, promoting sustainable mangrove management, as well as improving the livelihood opportunities for Indonesian coastal communities living around mangrove forests in selected areas.
Spanning about 3.4 million hectares, Indonesia’s mangroves account for over 20 percent of the global mangrove area and cover 40 of the 54 species of true mangroves – currently recorded as the richest diversity in the world.
Indonesia’s mangroves store 3.14 billion tons of CO2 (commonly referred to as "blue carbon") or equivalent to GHG emissions from approximately 2.5 billion passenger vehicles driven for one year.
Mangroves are a key component of livelihoods in coastal communities, providing important sources of food and income.
About fifty-five percent of the total fish catch biomass in Indonesia consists of mangrove-dependent species, the total annual production of which is valued at US$825 million. Mangroves also have tourism value of almost US$30 million a year.
Recent World Bank research suggests that mangroves have annual values from US$15,000 to almost US$50,000 per hectare in Indonesia.
Given their significant value, Indonesian mangroves need to be rehabilitated.
In the last 20 years, Indonesia lost approximately 13,000 hectares of mangroves every year (larger than the size of Paris), driven by indirect factors including global demand for products such as shrimp (which is often cultivated in areas which were mangrove before) as well as overall lack of perceived mangroves economic value.
Coastal communities that depend on mangroves for their resilience and livelihoods are among the most vulnerable in Indonesia.
They have limited access to services such as secondary schools, safe water, electricity, and transportation, and experience 1.27 percent higher poverty rate compared to communities living in non-coastal villages.
Now with an extended COVID-19 imposed crisis, poverty rates are likely to increase – emphasizing the need for targeted policies and investments to reach these coastal communities.
"We commend the bold steps taken by the Government of Indonesia to reverse mangrove losses and rehabilitate both degraded and deforested mangrove areas, and therefore stand to support those efforts. Conservation of Indonesia’s healthy mangroves ecosystems and targeted rehabilitation using global best practices brings significant economic returns to the country in the forms of coastal resilience, fisheries productivity, tourism potential and climate mitigation. Through the project, the World Bank supports the country in promoting green, resilient, and inclusive development among coastal communities, including by strengthening national and sub-national institutions and policies managing mangroves and adding value to mangroves by enabling future payments for blue carbon contained in mangroves," stated Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, in a press release on Tuesday.
"By integrating sustainable resource management into village-level planning and increasing the role of women in mangrove management and village leadership, we expect to witness increased mangrove cover and reduce mangrove loss," Kahkonen added.
The project is designed to support the Government’s National Mangrove Rehabilitation program that aims to rehabilitate 600,000 hectares of mangroves by 2024.
Initially focused on four provinces that contain a significant portion of existing and degraded mangroves areas, namely East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, North Sumatra and Riau, the integrated conservation, rehabilitation and livelihood improvement model can be replicated throughout the country.
The project is also supportive of the World Bank Group’s Climate Action Plan (FY 2021-25) and Gender Strategy (FY 2016-23), particularly the strategic objectives related to economic opportunities and enhancing women’s voice and agency.