Peatland partners work together to raise international profile before COP26

Peatland partners work together to raise international profile before COP26

Nairobi, Kenya, and North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, UK
October 2021 

A media campaign has been raising the profile of undervalued peatlands across the world in the lead up to COP26.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI) and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership launched their Global Peat Press Project (GP3) in summer 2021. This campaign was designed to promote the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the work of organizations throughout Europe with a special emphasis on peatlands.

Healthy peatlands are one of the most important tools in international collective efforts to reach the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal of keeping the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F).

The health of our planet is at stake; healthy peatlands are a major remedy
Peatlands are the world’s largest terrestrial carbon stores and are essential to global efforts to fight climate change. While healthy peatlands become carbon retainers and take in greenhouse gases, damaged peatlands do the reverse, turning them into dangerous carbon emitters which add to further climate change.

Worldwide, near pristine peatlands (>3 million km2) hold approximately 550 gigatonnes of carbon, exceeding the quantity of carbon stored in all other vegetation types, forests included (IUCN, 2021). When degraded, however, peatlands contribute disproportionately to emissions as just 0.4% of the world’s land surface is covered with degraded peatlands but they emit as much as 5 to 6% of global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions annually (IPCC 2019). These figures do not count the effects of burning peatlands, which can double the number.

Vulnerable but valuable
The Global Peat Press Project (GP3) campaign brings together international partners to highlight the importance of peatlands as vulnerable but valuable ecosystems. It helps them to demonstrate the role that peatlands play in the fight against climate change, the importance of restoring degraded peatlands to healthy ecosystems, whilst also giving site managers the opportunity to showcase their work and demonstrate their success so that others can learn from it and be inspired to do more.

The GP3 story
Together the peat partners have issued a champions’ relay of stories from peatland projects from countries all across the world, celebrating the success of ongoing restoration efforts, strengthening experience-sharing, and fostering networking between different stakeholders. To date, the GP3 has generated 14 media announcements and stories from 10 countries over 15 weeks and has several partners ready to publicise further successes. The relay of stories from peatland projects worldwide started in the UK as the host of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP26) in Glasgow this November; for the first time ever, the COP will host a ‘Global Peatland Pavilion’ highlighting peatland action, opportunities and knowledge.

Paul Leadbitter, Peatland Programme Manager for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “We came up with the idea of sharing peatland stories across the globe in the lead up to COP26 and we’re really pleased to see so many peatland restoration partners joining us. This reflects growing international recognition of the value of peatlands and their role as major global stores of soil carbon but also, in their damaged state, as large sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The organisations that have shared peatland success stories are:

  • North Pennines AONB Partnership (UK)
  • Care-Peat (Belgium)
  • NUI Galway (Ireland)
  • Bax & Company (Spain & the Netherlands)
  • Lancashire Wildlife Trust (UK)
  • Global Peatlands Initiative and Eurosite (Global and Germany)
  • NABU – LIFE Peat Restore (Germany)
  • Moors for the Future Partnership (UK)
  • Metsähallitus – Hydrology LIFE Project (Finland)
  • Natural Resource Wales – LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs Project (Wales)
  • Community Wetlands Forum (Ireland)
  • Landscape Finance Lab, Terra Motion (UK)
  • GRI – Green Restoration Ireland (Ireland)
  • Restoration effort in Belarus (Belarus)

Organisations sharing stories in the next few weeks include Greifswald Mire Center (Germany), University of Warwick (UK), Francis Muller Conservatoire D’Espace Naturelle (France), Cairngorms Peatland Action (Scotland) and Žymantas Morkvėnas Baltic Environmental Forum (Lithuania).

Peatland Pavilion
The Peatland Pavilion, has been created and coordinated by the Global Peatlands Initiative partners including the United Nations Environment Programme, Wetlands International, IUCN UK Peatlands Programme, Greifswald Mire Centre, Michael Succow Foundation, National Trust for Scotland, Scotland’s Rural College, and the University of East London. It will provide a hub for highlighting the important role that peatlands play around the globe.


The Pavilion will host a broad range of side events and daily networking opportunities to stimulate discussion and urgent action around key thematic areas linked to the negotiations and advocating the importance of peatlands as a key nature-based solution to the climate and ecological emergency. Events will encourage dialogue about the importance of peatlands across a range of sectors, including governments, policy makers, scientists and business, through to youth groups and other participants.

Dianna Kopansky, Global Peatlands Coordinator at UNEP, said: “Conservation and restoration of peatlands deserves a prominent place when exploring opportunities to tackle the climate and nature crisis – peatlands are a dark horse in the fight against climate and this is why the Global Peat Press Project (GP3) and the Peatland Pavilion are so timely and crucial in raising the profile of peatlands at UNFCCC COP26 and far beyond.”

Join us – share, learn, inspire, experience and act for peatlands, people and the planet. Follow and share using #PeatlandsMatter and #GenerationRestoration


For more information, please contact:

Sarah Hudspeth, Communications Lead, North Pennines AONB Partnership 07768 123247

Dianna Kopansky, Global Peatlands Coordinator, UNEP

Notes to editors

Images from all partners in the GP3 project are at:

About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising future generations.

About The Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI):

The Global Peatlands Initiative is an international partnership launched at the UNFCCC COP in Marrakech, Morocco, in late 2016. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), our goal is to protect and conserve peatlands as the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted into the atmosphere.


About the North Pennines AONB Partnership

  1. The North Pennines is one of England’s most special places – a peaceful, unspoilt landscape with a rich history and vibrant natural beauty. It was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1988. The purpose of this nationally recognised designation is the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the area.
  2. At almost 2,000 sq. kilometres the North Pennines is the second largest of the 46 AONBs (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and is one of the most peaceful and unspoilt places in England. Visit for information about the AONB Family.
  3. The North Pennines lies between the National Parks of the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and Northumberland with the urban centres of County Durham away to the east. Parts of the AONB are within the boundaries of five local authorities; the three counties of Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland, Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council.
  4. The North Pennines AONB Partnership is an alliance of public, statutory and voluntary sector bodies with an interest in the future of the AONB. The work of the Partnership is carried out by its Staff team which takes action to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area, to raise awareness of its special qualities and to improve the quality of life for local people.
  5. UNESCO Global Geopark – As well as being an AONB the North Pennines is a UNESCO Global Geopark. This puts the area’s Geopark status in the same UNESCO family as World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves. UNESCO Global Geoparks are places with outstanding geology where special effort is made to make the most of geological heritage to support community and economy. Locally this includes producing geo-trails, developing projects with school and community groups, producing displays for visitor attractions and holding geology festivals and events.

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