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Valuing Congo Basin Peatlands for the Planet and People

Published by: on March 20, 2018 Author:

Third Meeting of the Partners of the Global Peatlands Initiative
21-23 March 2018

Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Recently, scientists mapped the world’s most extensive tropical peatland complex lies beneath the forest floor in the Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin. Despite thier size, these peatlands have received little research attention until now.

Early in 2017, there were reports that scientists had mapped this 145,000 km2area for the first time. It turns out to be five times larger than originally estimated and bigger than England (Dargie et al., 2017).

The peatlands in the Cuvette Centrale are estimated to hold about 30 billion tonnes of carbon – equivalent to more than 15 years of carbon dioxide emissions from the United States. The new maps make the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo the second and third most important countries in the tropics in terms of peatland area and carbon stocks after Indonesia. The near-pristine peatlands of the Congos are globally signicant and are an important source of ecological stability for the entire region and home to unique animals and plants. The Congo Basin has been inhabited for more than 50,000 years and today is home 75 million people who need it for shelter, food and fresh water.

This week government officials from the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will host a meeting of the partners of the Global Peatlands Initiative in Brazzaville with representatives of international organizations and researchers. The meeting will have three parts:

  1. Technical knowledge exchange: Global Peatlands Initiative partners and experts will share knowledge, tools and approaches.
  2. Ministerial-level policy dialogue: Global Peatlands Initiative Partner Countries share knowledge on decision-making, policies, legal and institutional frameworks and opportunities.
  3. Global Peatlands Initiative Partners meeting to discuss planned joint action, including developing an outline for the Peatlands Global Assessment.

The meeting will also see the release of the French translation of Smoke on Water – Countering Global Threats from Peatland Loss and Degradationreport by the Global Peatlands Initiative partners.

List of Global Peatlands Initiative Partners:

Countries Represented

  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Republic of Congo
  • Republic of Indonesia
  • Peru

International Organizations

  • UN Environment
  • Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • UN Convention on Biological Diversity
  • RAMSAR Convention
  • UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  • GRID-Arendal
  • Greifswald Mire Centre
  • Wetlands International
  • World Resources Institute
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • European Commission – DG Joint Research Centre Land Resources Unit
  • Global Green Growth Institute
  • International Peatland Society
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Centre for International Forestry Research
  • Global Environment Centre

Related items

  • Tropical peatlands
  • English