• Saturday, 1 December 2018
  • 16:00-17:30 | Bonn time (GMT+1)

Side Event 3.1: High level South South Cooperation in action – Protecting Tropical Peatlands Together – a Triple win for the Climate, People and the Planet

Wien 1-2

The session “Protecting Tropical Peatlands Together – a Triple win for the Climate, People and the Planet” will delve into the collaboration of the Global Peatlands Initiative partners. We will highlight the importance of peatlands as a key and often overlooked ecosystem for climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. We will exchange on innovative climate-smart management and South South cooperation at a global scale within the Global Peatlands Initiative! The partners will share their progress in working together at many levels to tackle the challenge of peatlands protection and restoration. Ministers will share how the Brazzaville Declaration on Peatlands commits the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia to work together with the Global Peatlands Initiative partners to protect tropical peatlands. Ministers will also share actions and experience on peatland management, livelihood opportunities, enabling policy frameworks and on the recently launched International Tropical Peatland Center in Indonesia.

Peatlands are found all over the world, they come in many forms, display many different characteristics and are used in many different ways. Peatlands are highly efficient carbon sinks. Although they only cover less than 3 per cent of global land surface, estimates suggest that peatlands contain twice as much carbon as the world’s forests. Despite their importance and the extent of the threats they face, tropical peatlands are one of the least understood and monitored ecosystems. This lack of knowledge on peatlands must be addressed as peatlands become more accessible through development and as investments in large-scale commodity production increasingly encroaches on them. Historically, throughout many peatland areas, poorly informed policy decisions have created situations resulting in repeated fires and widespread degradation which have long term local and global impacts on sustainable development and human health and well-being.

The Global Peatlands Initiative, launched at COP22 in Marrakech, is focusing on building a better understanding of peat status and trends. With our partner countries and experts, we are working on ensuring the maintenance and restoration of carbon stocks in the key peatland countries of Indonesia, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Global Peatlands Initiative aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the knowledge of peatlands (extent, changes, thickness, drivers of change, etc). We aim to support countries in their efforts to improve policies for peatland conservation, restoration and sustainable management – delivering benefits for water security, biodiversity, people and the climate.

In March 2018, during the 3rd Global Peatlands Initiative partners meeting, the Brazzaville Declaration on peatlands was signed by the Republic of Congo (ROC), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Indonesia – in a bold move to commit to joint action to protect the peatlands of the Cuvette Centrale in the Congo Basin.

This session will highlight Indonesia and the Republic of Congo’s commitments to high level South South Collaboration on management, restoration and protection of peatlands as unique hosts of rare biodiversity and the world’s largest terrestrial carbon stock. The interactive panel discussion between the Ministers of Environment will involve them sharing their diverse experience on the challenges of sustainable development of peatlands, protection of unique and valued biodiversity, and their commitments to climate change action. Ministers will also share news on their individual and collective bold moves for joint action to protect peatlands globally, with the Cuvette Centrale in the Congo Basin as a particularly impressive example.

This session will share details on the steps being taken by key tropical peatland partner countries to tackle urgent and imminent threats to tropical peatlands. The Global Peatlands Initiative partners will present their progress, innovations, discoveries and ongoing commitments to inform the efforts of other peatland countries and partners. The event will celebrate the achievements so far such as the Brazzaville Declaration on Peatlands, partnership commitments, and the launch of the International Tropical Peatlands Centre (Indonesia) and its Paludiculture Platform for managing tropical peatlands. The Global Peatlands Initiative will invite partners to join in to support these ambitious efforts through academic fellowships, technology transfer and best practice sharing.

Contact person:

Dianna Kopansky, UN Environment,, +254 (0) 721530246