Verra has registered its first “blue carbon” conservation project, a critical step to scaling up climate action. The Blue Carbon Project Gulf of Morrosquillo in Colombia will sequester almost one million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 30 years by conserving and sustainably managing 7,561 hectares of coastal mangrove ecosystem, marshes, and associated streams.

“Blue carbon” refers to carbon dioxide stored in coastal wetlands, including mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes. These ecosystems have a disproportionately high carbon sequestration and storage capacity compared to terrestrial forests and other ocean ecosystems. Although they cover less than 2% of total ocean area, mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes account for half of the carbon stored in oceans due to their ability to draw down atmospheric carbon and trap it for long periods of time. Scaling up blue carbon activities is therefore critical to solve the climate emergency.

Blue carbon activities also provide important economic, social, and environmental benefits for local communities. This project will:

  • Strengthen local governance through local municipality and community participation in sustainable management practices;
  • Rescue, rehabilitate, and protect the habitat of several endangered species such as manatees and otters;
  • Reduce social barriers related to poverty by promoting jobs and activities such as bee-keeping and ecotourism; and
  • Introduce sustainable food sources such as community gardens.

The Blue Carbon Project Gulf of Morrosquillo was developed by Conservation International with the technical support of South Pole, using a Verra methodology (VM0007) that was revised in September 2020 to include tidal wetland conservation and restoration activities. Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (INVEMAR), Regional Autonomous Corporation of Sinu and San Jorge Valleys (CVS), Regional Autonomous Corporation of Sucre (CARSUCRE), and Fundación Omacha are implementing and monitoring the project with validation conducted by AENOR. The Colombian General Directorate of Maritime Affairs (DIMAR) provided valuable input and support for the project.