German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


The BfN at the World Climate Summit

View to the Federseegebiet


Bonn, 6 November 2017: From the 6 to 17 November the UN Climate Change Conference 2017 will take place in Bonn. The BfN is contributing to this conference with a side event under the topic "peatland conservation is climate protection". Peatlands cover only 3% of the land surface but they contain twice as much carbon as the entire biomass of the world's forests. Drainage of peatlands however leads to a loss of its function as carbon sink. Therefore, peatlands are increasingly a major source of greenhouse gases, accounting for around 5% of global emissions. Regarding the international goals to reduce greenhouse gas emission, peatlands are of particular interest.

Right at the beginning of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn on 6 November, the BfN organized a side event entitled "Towards a new Compact on Peatlands for Climate Protection", together with the "Global Peatland Initiative", the NABU, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Greifswald Mire Center.

The aim of the event is, to provide a platform to discuss opportunities and challenges for peatlands in the context of global climate protection. Yet, it is also important to decide on further joint efforts at the interface of peatland conservation and climate protection. For the implementation of joint activities, the Global Peatland Initiative (GPI) with its current 22 members offers a helpful forum. The initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech in November 2016, with the aim of promoting the protection and conservation of peatlands, and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emission. Various multilateral organizations, NGOs and national governments have joined forces in the initiative. Germany-based institutions and actors also play an important, advisory role. Among the countries of the global South, particularly Indonesia has taken more and more leadership in the protection of peatlands in recent years. It has the world's largest tropical peatland areas and seeks to ensure their protection through ambitious projects.

The side event marks the start of a series of events addressing peatland conservation at the UN Climate Change Conference. This shows that the potential of peatlands for climate protection is of increasing importance. In line with this also stands, the presentation of the "UN Climate Solutions Award", in which 19 projects are awarded. Among them is a German - Russian project currently implemented by Wetlands International, the Michael Succow Foundation and partners in Russia. This project aims to preserve and rewet peatland areas in the Moscow region. In 2010, devastating peat fires caused great damage in this region and the resulting smog doubled the mortality rate in the city of Moscow. Against this background, the project was established, based on the existing German-Russian cooperation. With over 35,000 hectares of rewetted peatlands, it is today one of the most successful projects of its kind.