Tripathi, Assistant Secretary Gen-eral of UN Environment, recalled in Bonn. “That tells you the gravity of the challenge and the situation we are facing.”

Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, added that the 2.6 million hectares that had burned included some 800,000 hectares of peatland. Respond-ing to the fires, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo had promised at the Paris climate summit in 2015 that radical steps would be taken to tackle the problem of peatland degra-dation. “The main principle of the measures taken since is to keep the peatlands wet,” Siti Nurbaya Bakar explained. “Companies obtaining concessions for agricultural and forest-ry activities are obliged to control the hydrology.”

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands provides a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources. Signed in Ramsar/Iran in 1971, it came into force in 1975 and is supported by almost 90 per cent of the UN member states.