14 July 2021 – Peru on July 5 declared its commitment to join the International Tropical Peatlands Center (ITPC) as it seeks to protect and restore its peatlands in an effort to combat climate change, protect nature and promote sustainable development during the fourth meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative Partners organized by the Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Among the ITPC’s objectives includes providing evidence and knowledge to conserve and sustainably manage tropical peatlands throughout Southeast Asia, the Congo Basin and Peru by engaging with and connecting researchers, governments, civil society and other stakeholders.
Peru has recognized the importance of peatlands in national legislation through a Supreme Decree and has begun mapping them, said Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandría.
“We recognized the importance for Peru to engage with ITPC, as an entity whose main objective is to ensure that policymakers, professionals and local communities have access to exchange information, analysis and other tools valid, reliable and legitimate to design and implement actions for the conservation and sustainable management of tropical peatlands,” explained José Alvarez Alonso, director general of Biological Diversity of MINAM, during the online event.
Following the declaration, Alonso expressed the interest in working together with Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to participate in the ITPC’s plans for the second half of 2021.
Exchanging at the high-level Ministerial Dialogue, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, officially welcomed Peru to the ITPC family, remarking that Peru’s contributions would strengthen ITPC ambition to manage the world’s tropical peatlands sustainably.
“One of the missions of the ITPC is bringing governments, researchers, practitioners, civil society and other stakeholders together to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of tropical peatlands,” she said advancing the implementation of the Brazzaville Declaration on Peatlands and the UNEA 4 Resolution on the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Peatlands.
Since its inception in 2018, the ITPC has hosted and participated in many international forums in its effort to promote sustainable management of tropical peatlands, she added. The ITPC has organized various knowledge sharing exchanges in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other GPI partners and is currently working with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) to build a knowledge platform for learning and sharing information and strengthening knowledge capacity on tropical peatlands.
Peatlands a super nature-based solution
In addition to showcasing Peru’s commitments to join ITPC, the high-level ministerial dialogue also provided updates on the latest approaches each Global Peatlands Initiative participating-country has conducted to manage peatlands.
“We know we have a lot of peatlands, but we were unsure about their locations,” said Minister Quijandría, adding that the country had now conducted various efforts to recover degraded peatlands. That work complements efforts to restore peatlands in Indonesia where the national government has made important efforts to work with local communities, according to Minister Nurbaya.
In Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has also begun to recognize the importance of taking peatlands into account in climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, both at the national and international levels, said Sylvie Dzbo, representative of the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment.
The Republic of Congo’s Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, Arlette Soudan-Nonault emphasized the importance of south south collaboration, appreciating the lessons from Peru’s experiences in tropical peatlands management, she said.
“The experience exchanged with [Peru, DRC] as well as Indonesia constitute the opportunity for the Republic of Congo as well as other countries from the Congo Basin – cooperation at political and scientific levels will allow us to fight against global warming,” she said.
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Dr Haruni Krisnawati
Lead Coordinator, ITPC