Blue carbon includes carbon stored in open ocean carbon pools. The dynamics are controlled by global ocean currents and weather circulation patterns and are affected by direct and indirect human interventions in marine and coastal ecosystems. Increasing sea surface temperatures have significantly affected thermohaline and associated temperature-dependent biota. This will impose significant challenges for Indonesia as a maritime country with vast resources. The first point of the Nawa Cita Agenda clearly stipulates the determination of the national leaders to develop Indonesia as a maritime nation – an identity that has been forgotten for a long time and hinders Indonesia in considering the opportunities of the blue economy.

Fishery and marine tourism industries are among major economic activities that generate significant revenues. The yields of caught fishes and aquaculture are closely associated with the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems. Actions for their conservation and restoration in order to achieve healthy, productive and sustainable oceans and coastal ecosystems are urgent.

Indonesia has globally significant coastal blue carbon ecosystems, which consist of mangroves (ca. 3,000,000 ha) and seagrass meadows (ca. 300,000 ha). The importance of coastal blue carbon has gained significant attention from the international community regarding its roles in climate change mitigation and adaptation. These ecosystems demonstrate their effectiveness in carbon capture and storage, and hence, their high potential for mitigating climate change when conserved and restored. Their ability in land building, proves that mangroves can cope with sea level rises – through adaptation to climate change. It is timely to consider coastal blue carbon ecosystems as part of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).