Singapore-based wetlands carbon sequestration developer Bioeconomy has announced a 25-year Jurisdictional Nested REDD+ (JNR) agreement with Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the protection of the region’s peatlands.
The exclusive agreement was signed in the regional capital Mbandaka between the Province of Equateur, Bioeconomy as lead technical partner, WATICO and Société Environnementale de l’Équateur.
The deal covers monitoring and protection of the region’s forest, peatlands, and biodiversity, development of land use plans, and promotion of sustainable agriculture and forest management practices.
In addition, carbon credits will be generated through a mechanism for tracking and verifying emissions reductions, which is expected to bring significant benefits to the local community.
“With carbon finance, we can make a positive impact on the lives of the communities in Equateur and the region’s rich biodiversity supports opportunities in genomic mapping for new discoveries in medicine and scientific research with benefits flowing to the people of Equateur. Putting nature at the heart of the value equation is the best way to create a virtuous circular economy, that is the Bioeconomy model,” Bioeconomy’s CEO, Dorjee Sun, said in a statement.
Peatlands in the DRC are considered under threat by potential oil and gas exploitation, as well as agricultural purposes. As of today they are considered intact but scientists have been warning that should they undergo rapid change, they could turn into a “carbon bomb” – an ecosystem that originally removed carbon from the atmosphere that becomes a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after it begins degrading.
The DRC is one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, and Equateur Province, with a total area of 103,902 km2, is home to three-quarters of the country’s peatlands.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that “Peatlands in the DRC, which are severely damaged by oil and gas exploitation as well as appropriation by people for agricultural purposes, are considered a “carbon bomb””. This has been edited to reflect that peatlands in the country are considered intact and have not been subject to large-scale impacts from the oil & gas industry, as well as human activity.