National Forest Monitoring

Enhancing climate action through peatlands

FAO and partners launch a series of events to support country efforts to integrate peatlands into national climate contributions and their implementation

FAO and partners will launch the series of events “Peatlands and climate commitments” on  Thursday, 23 June 2022. These events come at a very timely moment, as countries are enhancing their climate commitments, and as the unique potential of peatlands is starting to be recognized. This series aims to explore the opportunities countries have to integrate peatlands into their national climate contributions, and develop participants’ knowledge and capacity on the topic.

Climate commitments

The 193 parties to the Paris Climate Agreement share the common goal to limit global warming as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible above pre-industrial levels, compared to pre-industrial levels. As part of this process, countries are requested to regularly communicate their updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) including the actions they will take to limit their emissions, enhance greenhouse gas (GHG) sinks, and build resilience to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

An important step for advancing climate commitments includes country’ reporting on progress, as well as identifying lessons learned and needs for support, such as needs for capacity, technology or other resources. To further contribute to the Paris Agreement, countries are recommended to develop long-term goals, referred to as long-term strategies (LTS). These strategies are useful in helping countries formulate their national vision, while setting targets in line with their development goals.

Peatlands supporting climate action

In order to achieve low emissions and build climate-resilient pathways, countries must identify how climate actions will be implemented. Nature-based solutions, such as improved peatland management, have been identified as key means to achieve climate, and other socio-economic and environmental goals. Covering only 3 percent of land on Earth, peatlands represent the largest terrestrial carbon storage in the world, storing twice as much carbon as all forests combined. Consequently, when peatlands are drained, they contribute to an estimated 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

It is clear that peatland conservation and restoration have immense mitigation potential. What’s more, pristine peatlands support the adaptive capacity of local communities by filtering water, regulating water flows, and reducing the risk of fires, among other ecosystem services.  

Materializing the potential of peatlands

The first session of “Peatlands and climate commitments”, taking place online on Thursday 23 June 2022, will be a participatory session for countries to identify the type of support needed to increase the inclusion of peatlands in climate commitments. The subsequent events will be organized in September by Wetlands International. This series will be followed by related hybrid side events in November during the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 27 in Egypt. All information regarding these events will be shared through the online community of practice focusing on peatlands and climate change.

This event series and related knowledge products target the participation of practitioners, NDC Partnership members, academia, private sector and civil society actors involved in peatlands and wetlands management.Are you working on national climate commitments, NDCs and LTSs? Would you like to hear how peatlands as the largest terrestrial carbon storage can be part of climate action? Join us and register at:   

The “Peatlands and climate commitments” series is organized through the project “The Global Peatlands Initiative: Assessing, Measuring and Preserving Peat Carbon” (GPI project) implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Greifswald Mire Center (GMC). The project is generously funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Ministry of the Environment, the Conservation of Nature and Nuclear Safety of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMU). The series of events are organized in partnership with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Wetlands International and CIFOR, and in close collaboration with other partners, such as the NDC Partnership.