Partnering for Peatlands: new Agreement of Cooperation with Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency
The importance of protecting the world’s remaining peatlands has become increasingly recognised. Beyond purifying water and providing habitats for endangered species, these valuable ecosystems are also one of the world’s most effective carbon sinks, therefore offering significant potential for mitigating climate change. However, many of the world’s tropical peatlands are being drained, burnt and cleared to make space for agricultural expansion.
As home to some of the largest areas of peat, Indonesia has made several significant steps to protect and restore their peatlands in recent years, not least with the establishment of the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) which aims to restore 2.4 million hectares of degraded peatlands by 2020. One of BRG’s flagship programmes is the Peat Care Village programme (Desa Peduli Gambut or DPG in Bahasa Indonesia) – a new framework for aligning existing economic, environmental and social interventions for peat restoration in priority villages across Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua islands. A new cooperation with BRG will see Proforest and Daemeter, with funding from Musim Mas and Cargill, supporting the DPG programme for 4 of these villages in Riau, Sumatra – and piloting a novel approach that integrates the DPG programme with the community-based identification and protection of High Conservation Values and High Carbon Stock forest.
Work on this has begun already, with two village facilitators with community-based conservation project experience being hired at the beginning of the year. Special training on the DPG programme, its objectives, HCV-HCS requirements, participatory mapping and community engagement was delivered to the facilitators by BRG and Proforest. Equipped with their new knowledge and skills, the facilitators have now travelled to Riau and are based in one of the villages. The first task was to spend a week in each of the villages in order to introduce the project, observe what economic activities and peat restoration interventions were already being implemented, and identify the obstacles and opportunities for further interventions. This stage of the process was crucial in gaining support from village members and ensuring that they were all sufficiently represented through community consultations and village-level planning.
The next step will bring together experts in community engagement, botany, birds and mammals from Proforest and Daemeter to implement the pilot integration of the HCV-HCS approach in the village of Sungai Linau, and further support the facilitators in engaging with village members.
It is hoped that cooperation from Cargill and Musim Mas on this pilot will support the roll-out of BRG’s wider DPG programme, and will build stronger links between BRG and the private sector that accelerates implementation of shared commitments. As a first step towards expanding this collaboration with the private sector, a coalition of companies in the Siak-Pelalawan landscape initiative is exploring scaling up this model in other BRG priority villages.
For more information on Proforest’s commitment of cooperation with BRG, contact Langlang Tata Buana.