High-Level Ministerial Dialogue, GPI 4th Partners Meeting: “Peatlands: a Super Nature-based Solution”
“Peatlands have huge potential as a Nature-based Solution for solving sustainable challenges. Intact peatlands are critical in addressing climate change and biodiversity issues” Doreen Robinson, Head of the Biodiversity and Land Branch, Ecosystems Division, UNEP
As part of the implementation of the Global Peatlands Initiative’s goals, UNEP and the Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM) worked closely over the past 2 years to organize the 4th GPI Partners’ meeting in Peru. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the GPI partners met virtually on July 5th, 2021, for an engaging Ministerial Dialogue, as a prelude to the in-person 4th meeting of the GPI planned for 2022.
This South-South knowledge exchange between Ministers of Environment the four GPI partner countries of Indonesia, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru highlighted successes and results achieved, as well as sharing challenges for impactful peatlands conservation, restoration, and sustainable management.
During the event, Ministers shared progress of their ongoing efforts to implement the UNEA4 Resolution on peatlands, emphasizing the importance for the global community to recognize, in the run up to the UNFCCC and CBD COPs, Peatlands as a super nature-based solution. Ministers shared the important role peatlands play as carbon stores and the importance of urgent action for peatlands restoration to achieve the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 2°C.
During the dialogue, the Government of Peru announced their interest to incorporate peatlands into their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in order to address and mitigate the effects of climate change. Peru has made recent progress in the regulatory aspect by the enactment of the Supreme Decree on the Multisectoral and Decentralized Management of Wetlands that recognizes the importance of peatlands and promotes their sustainable management. H.E. Gabriel Quijandría, Minister of Environment of Peru, recognized the vast potential of peatlands as a Nature-based Solution and highlighted the ongoing efforts for the restoration of drained Peruvian peatlands through joint projects that explore different financial mechanisms and promote payments for ecosystem services that go in line with Peru’s international commitment for the protection of these valuable ecosystems. H.E. Gabriel Quijandría also emphasized the relevance of peatlands among multiple Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and how they have enabled Peru to raise its ambition for climate action. The incorporation of peatlands into Peru’s NDCs will acknowledge peatlands as an effective nature-based solution to combat climate change and will hopefully inspire other countries to take the same path and protect these precious ecosystems.
H.E. Ibu Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry from Republic of Indonesia, shared their ambitious targets of restoring 2 million hectares of degraded peatlands and the lessons on how they have been working hard to tackle the challenges of peatlands protection. Indonesia has invested many resources towards peatlands mapping and monitoring to design and implement effective restoration at scale, and has been a global champion for peatlands, showing the impact of mobilizing communities and setting up moratoria alongside incentives for rewetting to promote peatland fire prevention and recovery. Agus Justianto , Director General of Sustainable Forest Management and Acting Director General of Environment and Forestry Standardization and Instruments Agency of Indonesia, also joined this high-ministerial dialogue. Mr. Justianto shared the status of implementation of peatland ecosystem protection and management in Indonesia, where he discussed the 29 regulations, guidelines, and standards that promote the sustainable management of peatlands, including paludiculture practices. Indonesia has always been at the forefront of peatlands conservation, including by the establishment of the International Tropical Peatlands Center (ITPC) in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2018. The ITPC was founded by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry; the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Republic of the Congo; the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), UNEP, FAO, and other GPI partners. The ITPC was a commitment forged during the 3rd Meeting of the GPI Partners in Brazzaville in 2018 as captured in the Brazzaville Declaration with an aim to further strengthen South-South Cooperation, exchange knowledge and innovation, and promote best practices for peatland protection through the Global Peatlands Initiative.
H.E. Ève Bazaiba Masudi, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, represented by Sylvie DZBO, highlighted the importance of peatlands as an effective Nature-based Solution to combat climate change, in line with DRC’s vision of “protecting peatlands for people and nature”. They recognized the significant role of peatlands for the livelihood of local and indigenous communities around the Cuvette Centrale, stating that tropical peatlands countries must mobilize focusing on the conservation of peatlands in order to maintain their ecological functionality and on the economic valuation of what the conservation of these ecosystems entails.
H.E. Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin from Republic of Congo, shared the importance of South-South and Triangular Cooperation as being fundamental for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of tropical peatlands. The Republic of Congo, together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, have done an outstanding work for the protection of the Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin, being the world’s largest tropical peatlands. As a result of the Brazzaville Declaration, a transboundary collaboration was created to protect this region from unregulated land use and to prevent its drainage and degradation. This collaboration is an emblematic example for the world as it shows that ecosystems don’t conform to national borders and as such, we need to work together to protect them as a whole, taking action with a landscape and ecosystems approach. H.E. Arlette Soudan-Nonault concluded that “conserving peatlands and protecting them to allow them to continue absorbing carbon in the Congo Basin, and everywhere in the world, is essential to respect the Paris climate agreement”.
Another milestone during the event was Peru’s Declaration of Commitment to join the International Tropical Peatlands Center (ITPC). This is the first step towards strengthening the South-South Cooperation between Peru, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing to work together on peatlands globally to implement the Brazzaville Declaration and the UNEA4 Resolution on Peatlands. As a follow-up to the meeting, José Alvarez Alonso, Director General of Biological Diversity of MINAM released the Declaration of the Ministry of the Environment on “Peatlands: a Super Nature-based Solution” declaring Peru’s commitment to adhere to the ITPC’s framework and to strengthen their South-South Cooperation.
In her closing remark, Luisa Elena Guinand Quintero, Vice Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources of MINAM, highlighted the importance of peatlands as effective Nature-based Solution to combat climate change announcing Peru’s interest to incorporate these ecosystems into the country NDCs. She accurately stressed the importance of international cooperation to foster sustainable development and to promote better practices and capacity building for the conservation of tropical peatlands.
This Ministerial Dialogue brought the GPI partner countries together to strengthen their South-South Cooperation by having Peru consolidating its international relationship with Indonesia, Republic of Congo, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Let us share our experiences and grow together for the protection of our valuable peatlands.
“This high-level meeting hosted by the Government of Peru was an important milestone for the GPI. We are happy to be together to celebrate Peru’s commitment to join the International Tropical Peatlands Center and congratulate Peru and their partners on the work they are embarking on to integrate peatlands into critical policies and plans including in their NDC”, Dianna Kopansky, Global Peatlands Coordinator, UNEP
Read more from MINAM here: “This is what you should know about peatlands”
Watch the full recording of the event here: “Peatlands: a Super Nature-based Solution”