World Peatlands Day: raising awareness though music and pictures

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In a significant event leading up to World Peatlands Day, we hosted an evening that combined art and music to celebrate the importance of peatlands. This event, held at Flagey in Brussels, served as a precursor to global efforts to raise awareness about peatlands, underscoring their vital role in the environment. 

Gathering over 100 people, the evening began with a captivating photograph exhibition by Kevin Feytons, showcasing the beauty and diversity of peatlands, offering guests a visual feast and an intimate look at these often-overlooked ecosystems. 

The audience was then introduced to the unique characteristics and benefits of peatlands, highlighting their roles in climate regulation, biodiversity conservation, water management and the urgent need for global efforts to protect these valuable ecosystems from degradation. 

Jasmina Al-Qaisi, artist known for her innovative approach, presented a unique sound piece inspired by these ecosystems. The highlight of the evening was a piano concert by Serge Giacomotto. 

Peatlands are among the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, providing numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits. Covering only 3% of the Earth’s land surface, peatlands store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined, making them crucial in the fight against climate change. In addition to their climate benefits, peatlands are biodiversity hotspots, home to a wide array of plant and animal species, many of which are rare or endangered.  

Despite their importance, peatlands are under threat from human activities such as drainage for agriculture, peat extraction, and infrastructure development. These activities lead to the degradation of peatlands, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. 

In a landmark effort to address these challenges, the Venice Agreement on Peatlands Conservation and Restoration was established in June 2022. Signed by multiple countries and organizations, this agreement calls for the implementation of sustainable land management practices, the restoration of degraded peatlands, and the integration of peatland conservation into national and international climate policies. The Venice Agreement emphasizes the need for collaboration between governments, NGOs, scientists, and local communities to achieve its goals.

As we move forward, the lessons from Peatlands Day and the commitments of the Venice Agreement provide a strong foundation for global efforts to safeguard peatlands. These initiatives remind us that peatlands are not just natural resources but integral parts of our ecological heritage that need to be cherished and protected for future generations.