Environment Minister, Edwin Poots MLA has visited the Peatland Pavilion at COP26 in Glasgow, to see the global significance of peatlands in tackling climate change and the critical role that restoration of Northern Ireland’s peatlands to a healthy state will play in reversing carbon and biodiversity loss.
The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Peatland Pavilion, which is supported by DAERA, aims to bring together climate negotiators, peatlands experts and enthusiasts from around the world to exchange their knowledge and experiences on peatlands policy, practice, research, and innovation. A virtual Peatland Pavilion is also available for people to access, showcasing peatland projects from around the world, including Northern Ireland case studies such as the CABB (Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity) and CANN (Collaborative Action for the Natural Network) projects, funded through Interreg VA to restore important lowland raised and blanket bog sites; as well as the National Trust’s restoration work on Divis and Black Mountain.
Globally, peatlands are one of the most valuable ecosystems, holding more than twice as much carbon as the world’s forests and providing a wide range of benefits for biodiversity and society. Restoration of Northern Ireland’s peatlands will be key to our plans to address the climate and biodiversity crises, with peatland habitats and peat soils covering 18% of Northern Ireland.
Minister Poots was invited to visit the Peatland Pavilion in Glasgow by John Martin, RSPB Head of Policy and Advocacy in Northern Ireland, who presented the findings of the RSPB “Valuing our Peatlands” report at the Pavilion.
The Minister said: “I am delighted to visit the Peatland Pavilion at COP26 and to see the importance of Northern Ireland’s peatlands and some of our exemplar peatland restoration projects showcased on a global stage. Working collaboratively with partner organisations, such as RSPB, demonstrates how we can protect and restore these valuable ecosystems. Peatland restoration will play a key role in our plans to reduce carbon emissions and lead to a low carbon, high nature future, as envisioned through the draft Green Growth Strategy, which I recently launched on behalf of the NI Executive.”
The Minister continued, “My Department has also recently consulted on a draft Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy. This Strategy, which we hope to publish in the New Year, will provide a framework for peatland conservation and restoration in Northern Ireland over the next two decades, ensuring we deliver a low carbon, high nature future. I would encourage everyone to visit the Virtual Peatland Pavilion to find out more about the value of peatlands and the positive work being delivered in Northern Ireland and around the world to restore and protect this valuable ecosystem.”
John Martin, RSPB said: “Peatlands are our rainforest. They provide vital eco-system services such as water filtration, habitat for wildlife and are an important carbon sink when functioning correctly. Peatland restoration is a clear example of a nature based solutions which can help us in the fight against climate change and research has also shown that peatland restoration is value for money."
Notes to editors:
- The virtual Peatland Pavilion can be accessed at Peatland Pavilion UNFCCC COP26 - Peatland Pavilion for COP26 (globalpeatlands.online)
- DAERA ran a public consultation exercise on the draft Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy from 9th June to 1st September 2021.
- DAERA officials participate in the IUCN UK Peatland Partnership Steering Group which oversees the implementation of the UK Peatland Strategy and provides advice on peatland conservation and restoration. IUCN UK Peatland Programme along with partners, Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre, Wetlands Int., University of East London, Global Peatlands Initiative are co-ordinating the Peatland Pavilion at COP26.
- The DAERA Environmental Challenge Fund provided £28,000 at 75% of project costs to RSPB to enable them to write the RSPB “Valuing our Peatlands” report.
- Alongside providing part funding (£10,000) for the IUCN live and virtual Peatland Pavilion at COP26, NIEA are part of the UK Interagency Climate Change Group which has a presence at COP26. The UK Nature Positive 2030 report, co-authored by NIEA, will be showcased at COP26, including at a panel session on Nature Day.
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