14 August 2019, Bangkok – Blue Carbon Society (BCS), led by its President, Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), led by Ms. Lovita Ramguttee, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Thailand, at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) to develop a masterplan to sustainably nurture 24 km2 of mangroves in the western Thai province of Phetchaburi.
The many honored guests and witnesses included Dr. Pinsak Suraswadi, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), and Mrs. Thippaporn Ahriyavraromp, Vice President of Blue Carbon Society.
“Mangrove forests not only serve the well-being of our planet,” said Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp. “They are also vital for local communities. Biodiversity-rich mangroves are nurseries and hatching grounds for species that are key resources for fishery and tourism. A key goal of the masterplan is thus to empower local communities to be custodians of their mangroves.”
Blue Carbon Society commits on implementing this 3 year-year project in collaboration with UNDP. The initiative is expected to complement the development plan of the DMRC under Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The Masterplan project aims to create a world-class ‘Urban Mangrove Forest Showcase’ at East Bang Taboon. This showcase will turn 400,000 sqm of mangrove forest into an inspiring model of ecotourism and sustainable development. Reclamation here will also tackle river-borne plastic waste, which is known to harm marine animals such as Bryde’s whales.
The project includes a further ‘pilot’ reclamation at Pak Thale to find ways to sustainably rehabilitate salt farm areas.
Ms. Lovita Ramguttee said the project could provide huge benefits for Thailand’s coasts and seas.
“The Masterplan will address the biggest barriers to preserving critical coastal ecosystems,” she said.
“We need to involve local communities and local government in developing and implementing the project from the start. UNDP can play an important role in engaging stakeholders locally and globally in knowledge sharing and implementation. These efforts will contribute to the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14 (Life below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).”