International Development News
Development News Edition

Historic agreement signed to protect the world’s largest tropical peatland

Republic of the Congo and the DRC are in the process of planning economic concessions for agriculture, oil and gas mining, and logging.


Historic agreement signed to protect the world’s largest tropical peatland
The declaration was signed on the sidelines of the Third Partners Meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative, taking place in Brazzaville. (Image credit: Flickr)

In an unprecedented move to protect the Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin, the world's largest tropical peatlands, from unregulated land use and prevent its drainage and degradation, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo and Indonesia jointly signed the Brazzaville declaration that promotes better management and conservation of this globally important carbon store

There is a lot at stake in the protection of these peatlands: the equivalent of three years of global greenhouse gas emissions are stored in the Congo Basin, emissions that could be released if the peatlands are degraded or the natural wetlands drained.

To preserve the future of these valuable natural peatlands – which are about the size of England, and were only mapped scientifically in their entirety for the first time last year – the DRC and the Republic of Congo established a transboundary collaboration agreement. The agreement noted the importance of good land use and infrastructure planning that takes the nature of peatlands into account.

"Conservation and development can go hand in hand," said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. "We will manage to conserve the peatlands if we put people's needs first. We can help countries to better understand the unique nature of the peatlands, and plan very carefully for any potential use.&rdquo

Peatlands are wetlands that contain a mixture of decomposed organic material, partially submerged in a layer of water, lacking oxygen. The complex biodiversity of the peatlands means they are home to a variety of species, but their high carbon content makes them uniquely vulnerable to incineration if they are drained. The declaration recognizes the importance of the scientific breakthrough of mapping the world's largest tropical peatland area.

Both the Republic of the Congo and the DRC are in the process of planning economic concessions for agriculture, oil and gas mining, and logging. Unregulated exploitation of the peatlands could potentially be detrimental to the environment and to the climate, as it could release the carbon emissions that have been locked in for millennia.

"Peatlands have grown over the course of 10.000 years, and they can be destroyed in a matter of days if the land use is not sensitive to the nature of the peatlands," said Tim Christophersen, Head of Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch at UN Environment.

The declaration was signed on the sidelines of the Third Partners Meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative, taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, on 21-23 March 2018. The meeting was opened by Clément Mouamba, Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, together with Erik Solheim

The meeting also fostered a deep collaboration between Indonesia and the countries of the Congo Basin. Indonesia, the nation in the world with the most experience on peat management issues, stepped up as a valuable partner in South-South development cooperation.

"Indonesia has extensive experience in managing tropical peatlands, both in positive and negative terms. We are keen to share our experience with the Congo Basin and other countries through South-South Cooperation" said Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment of Forests of the Republic of Indonesia. "The main peatland management principle is to keep the peatlands wet."

"Destroying the peatlands would be a grave assault on the Paris Agreement and the climate. We need to find sustainable alternatives, and traditional management practices are important," said Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Environment and Tourism of the Republic of the Congo. "We are taking action with the Brazzaville Declaration signed today&rdquo

(This is a reproduced UN news as it is. Devdiscourse bears no responsibility towards grammatical or factual errors that may have been presented in the report.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....

Videos

Latest News

Seismometer, other key devices at Jayakwadi go 'out of order'

The seismometer, which helps in measuring the magnitude of an earthquake, and several other key instruments installed at the Jayakwadi dam in the district, have stopped functioning properly, an official said on Sunday. According to the offi...

First time: Naxals use drones over CRPF camp in Bastar; shoot at sight orders issued

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued to security forces deployed across LWE affected states after a serious and new threat of possession and operation of drones by Maoist cadres came to light recently, officials said on Sunday. The latest...

UPDATE 1-Russia begins moving captured Ukrainian ships before possible handover

Russia began moving three captured Ukrainian navy ships on Sunday after a Russian newspaper reported Moscow would return them to Ukraine ahead of a four-way summit on eastern Ukraine next month, a Reuters reporter said.The reporter in Crime...

There is a 'de facto' stay on SC Sabarimala verdict: Ker Minister

Kerala Law Minister A K Balan on Sunday said there was a de facto stay of the Supreme Courts September 28 order on Sabarimala womens entry issue and the state government could act only on the basis of the courts verdict. Amid tight security...

Give Feedback