A fund and/or finance mechanism is needed to restore peatlands worldwide, but with a priority on South-east Asian peatswamps.
Current finance mechanism foresee in short-term funding only, often limited to a few years and maximally a period of 5 years, while many of the solutions t environment-poverty issues involve longer-term (social and capacity building) processes, as well as the time needed for successfully bridging the gap between the replacement of unsustainable exploitation gains with sustainable alternatives. In these situations, multi-donor trust funds can provide a means for longer term commitments and financial sustainability. The new funding approach called ‘Bio-rights’ is an example of the kind of mechanism that can provide the means for achieving both the objectives of poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation, by capitalising on the immediate socio-economic advantages of integrated biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management, allowing its value to contribute directly in monetary terms to local and national incomes. This mechanism is already successfully practiced in the Central Kalimantan Peatland Project.
Initiative: the Global Peatland Fund by Wetlands International
Wetlands International has during the UNFCCC conference in Bali launched the Global Peatland Fund with the goal to invest in the restoration and conservation of peatland projects. With the fund, Wetlands International aims for large scale restoration of degraded tropical peat swamp forests in order to prevent further greenhouse gas emissions. The projects supported by the Global Peatland Fund will generate Voluntary Emission Rights (VERs) by reducing carbon emissions from the destruction of peatlands.
For investment opportunities in this fund, please contact Marcel Silvius at +31 317 478861
See also CNN's broadcast about The Global Peatland Fund.
While billions of dollars are being invested worldwide to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, no international mechanism exists to prevent the release of huge quantities of precious carbon stocks currently stored in wetlands, especially peatlands. This is despite recognition by the IPCC of the vital importance of protecting peatlands in tackling climate change and growing political pressure from both northern and southern countries to take urgent action. Protecting peatlands from degradation through poor land use would provide a financially efficient way of reducing massive carbon dioxide emissions.
An alternative financial mechanism should be developed to trigger and support peatland protection and restoration as an urgent action by nations within their suite of climate change strategies. The voluntary carbon trade could play an important role in delivering this.
Bloomberg Media calculated in their recent article, that by curbing the drainage of these peatswamps and using their stored carbon to offset emissions elsewhere (carbon trading), could be worth as much as 29 billion euros ($39 billion) per year. This was based on the UN’s current estimate that traded carbon is worth € 14.59 per tonne, and on research by WL/Delft Hydraulics and Wetlands International (PEAT-CO2) that shows that 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are being lost from ’s tropical peatswamps each year.
The benefits of a global finance mechanism to trigger large-scale restoration and management of peatlands would be carbon storage, poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation. The funds generated would be used to sustain the carbon stocks in tropical peatswamps. This new and growing international support for peatland protection and restoration opens the door to possible solutions supported by both the private and public sector. A market mechanism of this nature should have a step by step approach, thus begin with relatively small pilot projects and it must be underpinned by commitment of countries like to actively protect and restore a substantial share of their peatlands.