PERSGA combined efforts with Saudi Arabia in organizing a joint side event at the UNFCCC COP19-CMP9 held in Warsaw 11-22 November 2013. The side event entitled “Carbon Management Efforts and Activities” took place on 14th November at the COP venue (Warsaw National Stadium), and attended by many participants from the delegates of parties, observer organizations, NGOs and media in attendance of the COP.
The side event was moderated by Prof. Ziad Abu Ghararah, the Secretary General of PERSGA, who opened the event by welcoming the audience and provided a brief background on the objectives and themes of the side event. He clarified that the topics comprise two main parts, one focusing on strategies and initiatives for carbon management in oil industry and green economy established in some GCC states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. The other part focused on blue carbon in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA region), demonstrating the blue carbon resource potential, its regional conservation management efforts, policy options; and PERSGA regional blue carbon initiative as a case in point addressing blue carbon habitats for ecosystem based mitigation and adaptation, and integration of blue carbon in climate change and conservation policies. This part also included an update on a related new assessment guidelines developed by IPCC.
Following this brief introduction, the agenda included a series of presentations delivered by the key speakers in the side event, comprising the following:
• Saudi Arabia Carbon Management Roadmap, by Dr. Ahmed A. Al-Eidan, Petroleum Engineer, Upstream Carbon Management Coordinator, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia.
• Opportunities in Green Economy, by Mr. Solaiman Al Rifai, Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, United Arab Emirates.
• GHG Management in Kuwait Oil Sector, by Mr. Atef Al-Jameeli, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Kuwait
• Blue Carbon in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden: Potential and regional conservation management efforts, by Dr. Ahmed Khalil, Regional Program Coordinator, Living Marine Resources and Climate Change, PERSGA
• Regional Blue Carbon policy options, entry points and future perspectives for the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region, by Dr. Axel Michaelowa, Senior Founder Partner, Perspectives Climate Change
• Country Case Study on Integration of Blue Carbon in National Climate Change and Conservation Policies, by Mr. Nagmeldin Goutbi, Coordinator National Climate Change Unit in Sudan’s Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources,
• 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands, by Mr. Ismail Elgizouli, IPCC Vice-Chair.
In the discussion following the presentations, several questions and points were raised, focusing chiefly on how to sustain such national and regional initiatives, carbon policies integration and opportunities for carbon management options in the wider region considering upstream and downstream systems in oil sectors and energy production and consumption, while particular emphasis was also put in conservation and enhancement of blue carbon habitats as natural carbon sinks.
In this connection, it has been highlighted that the coasts of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA region), and the GCC region support rich Blue Carbon ecosystems, including extensive sea-grass beds, salt marshes and mangroves. In addition to carbon capture and storage, these ecosystems also support the renowned marine biodiversity of the region, and its fisheries, as well as providing other services such as coastal protection and soil stabilization. Therefore, their conservation and enhancement is a win-win strategy addressing both ecosystem based mitigation through carbon sequestration and storage, and ecosystem based adaptation, such as moderating CC impacts, support of economic diversification, and reducing coastal vulnerability.
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden