Delegates at the launching ceremony (Source: https://asean.org/)
This new initiative supports the objectives of the ASEAN Peatland Management Strategy through collective actions and enhanced cooperation that improves sustainable peatland management, mitigates the impacts of climate change, manages the risk of wild fires and reduces trans-boundary regional haze.
It also supports and sustains local livelihoods while contributing to global environmental management.
The programme is also critical in tackling the root causes of peatland fires in mitigating the impacts of climate change, especially in the wake of recent peatland and forest fires in the region in 2019, with a total of 857,755 hectares burned, an increase from the 529,266 hectares that was destroyed in 2018 and on top of the 2.6 million hectares that went up in flames in 2015.
The EU’s support is composed of two mutually reinforcing main components, namely a governmental approach and a non-state actor approach.
The governmental approach is being implemented by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) while the non-state actor approach is being implemented by World Resources Institute Indonesia in collaboration with Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre Malaysia and the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative. The two components will work collaboratively to help ASEAN address the root causes of forest fires.
Speaking at the launch, EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans hopes that this new programme will encourage the ASEAN region to become more resilient and proactive in sustainable peatland management. Although much has been achieved since 2015, to fully realise the ASEAN Transboundary Haze Agreement, efforts to mitigate peatland fires and curb the adverse impacts of climate change require sustained attention.
The Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi said that together with the ASEAN-EU High-Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change held earlier this month in Bangkok, and the project on Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN, the SUPA initiative is another opportunity provided by the ASEAN-EU cooperation framework which will act as foundation of knowledge to help ASEAN member states and relevant institutions to achieve enhanced capacity and regional coordination in sustainable management of forest and peatland./.