International collaborations to support our seas and oceans.
The way in which marine and coastal habitats such as saltmarshes and seagrass store carbon is to be explored and tested through a new Scottish-led initiative to help tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge will make awards of 10,000 available for up to five successful projects that can demonstrate how they will establish policy blueprints for domestic and international action after COP26.
The challenge seeks to bring together private, public and third sector organisations from across the globe to increase our knowledge of blue carbon and identify how to move from research to action.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon announced the challenge at the Blue Carbon Conference in Edinburgh - run by the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum (SBCF) in partnership with the University of St Andrews and the Scottish Government.
Ms Gougeon yesterday said:
There is increasing recognition across the international community of the role of the carbon stored in our seas and ocean for enhancing action on climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.
Scotland is already playing a leading role in research on blue carbon. Given the size of our seas, our commitment to marine conservation and our well established work on blue carbon, as well as our decisive action to address climate change, I am keen that continues. We must move as fast as we can from research into testing and taking action.
I hope that innovative projects supported through this challenge fund will do just that. We all want to see greater resilience for coastal communities and marine ecosystems and need to work out how to both adapt to global warming in our seas and mitigate its impacts to achieve that.
Chair of the SBCF Professor William Austin yesterday said:
We are delighted to be hosting the international blue carbon community at Scotland's national academy during the final week of COP26.
On behalf of the Forum, I welcome the Cabinet Secretary's announcement of the Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge, which highlights our shared commitment to blue carbon nature-based solutions that can deliver for climate, people and biodiversity.
We have much to learn and much to offer. This new initiative will raise Scotland's international profile and highlight the Scottish Government's commitment to the COP26 process.
The Blue Carbon International Policy Challenge will be coordinated by the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum. It will run from January to March 2022.
The announcement was made at the Blue Carbon: Beyond the Inventory Conference, held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Blue Carbon Conference | SBCF with opportunities still available to view online. Bringing together experts from around the world, the Blue Carbon Conference is exploring research on the potential of blue carbon as a nature based solution to climate change and how scientific findings can be used to deliver practical solutions.
The Scottish Blue Carbon Forum was set up by the Scottish Government in 2018.