Global Peatlands Initiative: Indonesia leading to Save the World’s Peat
Drained and burnt peatland is responsible for 5 per cent of anthropogenic carbon emissions
Indonesia, the global peatland restoration leader, will reduce up to one gigaton of greenhouse gas emission
The 2nd Global Peatlands Initiative Partner Meeting is attended by the Governments of Indonesia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru, the United Nations, academia and civil society.
The importance of peatland for humanity is undeniable. This is a notable lesson we have learned since the devastating forest and peat fires in 2015 in Indonesia. Experts estimate that drained and burnt peatland is responsible for 5 % of anthropogenic carbon emissions, which affects climate change, and peat fire-caused haze has a negative impact on the economy and human health. This lesson learned is not limited to Indonesia. Indonesia has the world’s largest tropical peatland, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, and other tropical countries. To conserve and restore peatlands globally, UN Environment (UNEP) initiated the Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI) whose membership includes forest and tropical peat countries, multilateral organizations, and non-governmental organizations that have committed to the protection, restoration and sustainable management of peatland.
“Indonesia is the first country ever to undertake peatland restoration on such a massive scale and will reduce up to one gigaton of greenhouse gas emission. They are on their best way to do more for the Paris Agreement than any other nation. The Global Peatlands Initiative provides a platform for other countries to learn from Indonesia’s exemplary efforts to restore their peatlands. The commitment of the Government of Indonesia to host the GPI Partner Meeting is fundamental to the initiative,” said Tim Christophersen, Senior Programme Officer for Forestry and Climate Change at UN Environment.
On a global level the issues around peatland management oftentimes result from insufficient knowledge of the value of peatland ecosystems. Consequently, peatlands as a vulnerable, mega-biodiversity ecosystem tend to be converted for agricultural and forestry use, which entails massive peat drainage. Land-use change policy of this nature is misguided and unwise. Governments of vast peatland countries should, therefore, protect peatlands decisively. This effort aligns with the commitment of countries to limit the increase of global average temperature as agreed in the Paris Agreement.
The Minister of Environment and Forestry of the Government of Indonesia, Siti Nurbaya, who gave her opening remarks at the meeting emphasized that “The Indonesian Government is not going to backslide on peatland preservation and degraded peatland restoration. Strong law enforcement is necessary. Our government is committed to walk hand in hand with national and international partners to improve governance of peatlands, including civil societies and private enterprises. The Global Peatlands Initiative is a critical platform for us to advance peatland protection which serves a crucial wider public interest.”
The GPI 2nd Partner Meeting is attended by the Government of the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru, UN agencies, donor institutions, academia, and civil society. The meeting is instrumental for updating the database of global peatlands and compiling best practices of sustainable peatland management as well as peatland restoration strategies.
“The Global Peatlands Initiative creates a big opportunity for the Peatland Restoration Agency to share with and learn from other countries regarding effective and efficient peatland conservation and restoration. We, therefore, believe that this type of fora is crucial for the future of our fight against climate change and humanity as a whole. I am hoping that the number of GPI partners will continue to rise for a significant ripple effect of the initiative,” said Head of Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), Nazir Foead.