The ASEAN Peatland Media Award has been launched to promote sustainable management of peatlands in Southeast Asia.

The contest was announced by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) with the support from the IFAD/GEF-ASEAN Peatland Forests Project (APFP) and of EU-SEApeat Project.

Themed "Peat for Life", the contest will honour individuals or journalists for their reporting on peatlands that covers sustainability, biodiversity, community livelihood and environmental issues in Southeast Asia region.

Peatlands was one of the focal areas under the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution to tackle the root cause of transboundary haze caused by peat fire, said Raman Letchumanan, Director of the Environmental Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, who is also Project Director of the APFP project.

The ASEAN Peatland Media Award aims to raise awareness on issues and challenges in peatland management in the region and bring success stories of government action and grassroots peatland conservation efforts in ASEAN countries to the public's attention, he added.

The contest is divided into 2 categories, Print and New Media and submission is open to all individuals and organisations for articles on peat related topics published between January 1-December 31, 2013.

The prizes totaling 3,600 USD in cash and a stay in the award winning resort of Frangipani Langkawi worth 1,000 USD will be presented to the winners of both categories for their outstanding reporting.

Submission will be accepted from April 1-December 31, 2013.

More than 24 million ha of peatlands are found in the Southeast Asian region. Peatlands are naturally forested and provide valuable goods and services including timber and non-timber forest products, fish, water supply, flood control, carbon storage and climate regulation.-VNA