Our group, the Biodiversity Pod, has been tracing the inclusion of wetlands and peatlands protection in the climate negotiations throughout the semester. Our primary stakeholders have been ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and Wetlands International. Last night, Wetlands International held a side event on peatland conservation and the importance of these areas for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The event attracted a fair number of people from a variety of NGO’s and a few country delegations. Presentations by Wetlands International scientists were interesting and informative, especially for providing a background on the effect of peatlands on carbon sequestration. The most notable aspect of the event was the presence of a representative from Indonesia.
Indonesia, the highest emitter of carbon dioxide from peatland degradation, was represented by a scientist from Bappenas, the National Development Planning Agency. The presentation, about a multi-disciplinary study on reducing peatlands emissions in Indonesia, was preceded by a statement clarifying that Indonesian policy would not be addressed at the event. True to her word, the scientist reported only on the scientific data generated by the study.
Even so, the presence of an Indonesian representative at the event addressing the shortcomings of the country’s peatlands protection was a positive step towards increasing awareness on this topic.
From here, the focus will turn to the fate of peatlands protection in the negotiating text. There is only one mention of peatlands in the text but supporters will nevertheless keep a close eye on the issue.