Date: Tuesday, 26 July 2022, 7th Anniversary
Full Name: International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem
Convener: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The World Mangrove Day is annually observed for the following purposes:
- to raise 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.
Mangrove is the only tree that grows in saltwater. Mangrove forest is a rare but spectacular and prolific ecosystem, which is usually found along sheltered coastlines in the tropical and sub-tropical 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 a considerable array of ecosystem goods and services, so contribute to the wellbeing, food security, and protection of coastal communities.
- Mangroves can protect coastlines from storm surges, tsunamis, and rising sea levels. They also protect coral reefs, sea grass beds and shipping lanes against siltation and erosion. Thus, mangroves increase resilience to natural hazards.
- Mangroves can support or conserve a 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.
Globally, mangroves are at a high risk of being destroyed altogether. Exploitation and pollution are important drivers of mangrove loss. According to Global Mangrove Alliance, an estimated 67% of mangroves have been lost or degraded to date, and an additional 1% is lost annually. Overall, mangroves are disappearing 3 to 5 times faster than global forest losses. Thus, it is important to protect or conserve the mangrove ecosystem.
Inception of World Mangrove Day
The first World Mangrove Day was officially held 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 26 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 26 July 1998 during a massive protest aiming to re-establish the mangrove wetlands in Muisne, Ecuador.
Significance of World Mangrove Day
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.
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 celebrated this day with outreach activities worldwide on 26 July 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.