International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is observed annually on 26 July | https://en.unesco.org/

The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, adopted by the General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015 and celebrated annually on 26 July. It is aimed to raise and enhance awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as “a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem” and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation, and uses.

History of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

The first World Mangrove Day was officially observed on 26 July 2016.  On 6 November 2015, at its 38th session of the General Conference in Paris, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially declared 26th July of each year, in response to the request of Ecuador, as the International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, through the resolution 38C/66. This Day is also known as World Mangrove Day.    The date was chosen to commemorate Greenpeace activist Hayhow Daniel Nanoto, who died of a heart attack on the 26th of July 1998 during a massive protest to re-establish the mangrove wetlands in Muisne, Ecuador.

How mangrove is important for human sustainability?

Mangrove is a rare tree that grows in saltwater. Mangrove forest is a rare but spectacular and prolific ecosystem, which is usually found along sheltered coastlines in tropical and subtropical regions.  Globally, mangrove forests represent less than 1% of all tropical forests and less than 0.4% of the total forest estate. However, mangrove forests are extraordinary, with some featured and even unique functions:

Mangroves can offer an appropriate ecosystem to contribute towards the wellbeing, food security, and safety of the coastal communities. Mangroves can protect coastlines from storm surges, tsunamis, and rising sea levels. They also protect coral reefs, seagrass beds, and shipping lanes against siltation and erosion. Thus, mangroves increase resilience to natural hazards. Mangroves can support or conserve rich biodiversity since they provide nursery habitat, spawning grounds, and nutrients for a variety of fish, shellfish, migratory birds, and insects as well as countless endangered mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  Mangroves are also an important tool in the fight against climate change. They take up to five times more carbon out of the atmosphere than forests on land.

Significance of World Mangrove Day

World Mangrove Day is a reminder of the vital role of mangroves in preserving ecosystems. Since 2015, different parties, non-governmental organizations, and interested stakeholders have celebrated this day with outreach activities worldwide on July 26 each year, in order to raise and spread awareness of the need for international cooperation to conserve the mangrove ecosystem and promote innovative solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses. Unlike other international days, there is no annual theme for each International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

In order to promote large-scale mangrove conservation, restoration, and sustainable use, a number of organizations have come together to form the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA). This alliance brings together NGOs, governments, industries, and local communities to not only stop mangrove degradation but also to increase mangrove cover by 20% by 2030.

OV Digital Desk