From peatland restoration to climate action: UN-Indonesia collaboration shared at COP28
15 December 2023
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) hosted a high-level panel discussion at COP28 to dive into Indonesia’s peatland restoration experiences and explore how the best practices could contribute to broader efforts in climate change mitigation.
The event featured senior officials and experts from the Government of Indonesia, the United Nations, international research institutes and local partners, with a shared interest in protecting peatlands for Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Indonesia holds nearly 40 per cent of the world’s tropical peatlands, one of nature’s most effective ways for carbon absorption. The country faced significant challenges in 2015 when wildfires destroyed 2.6 million hectares of forest and peatland, affecting 43 million people and releasing 1.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.
Recognizing peatland’s crucial role, UNOPS, with funding from Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, launched a Results Enabling Facility (REF) programme to support Indonesia’s Peatland and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) from 2018 to 2022. BRGM-REF worked to restore peatlands while improving education, awareness, institutional capacity building and sustainable livelihood options for local communities. 159 peat villages across 22 districts and 30 peatland hydrological units benefitted from the project.
During the conversation, representatives from BRGM and Indonesian civil society organizations shared insights on the strategies, best practices and challenges faced during the UNOPS-BRGM cooperation, emphasizing the importance of national commitment, community engagement and the development of alternative livelihood opportunities.
Sharing his perspective, Dr Didy Wurjanto, Head of Cooperation, Law and Public Relations Working Group Peatland & Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) emphasized,
"Efforts on restoring degraded peatland ecosystems in Indonesia will only be sustainable and impactful with collaboration at all levels - local, national and international levels. We appreciate the collaboration with UNOPS and hope that our international partners continue to support our efforts through funding, institutional capacity enhancement and technical expertise."
Putting BRGM-REF in the national and international contexts, UN and international experts also discussed the current global collaboration on peatland research, monitoring and management as well as the role of peatland restoration and management in achieving Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and other climate commitments. They noted the potential for applying the BRGM-REF model in other climate-related initiatives at the national and international levels.
The session was moderated by Akira Moretto, Head of Partnerships at UNOPS South East Asia Pacific Multi-Country Office. To conclude the event, he said:
“We are proud to see our partnership with BRGM has led to an effective peatland restoration model, replicable for wider climate initiatives. At UNOPS, we recognise the significant implementation gap that we must bridge to respond to the climate emergency. We are ready to play our part, and committed to delivering practical solutions for our partners and the communities.”