THE efforts of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) in fighting climate change have been recognized by no less than President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
In a press statement on Tuesday, ACB executive director, Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, said it was crucial that Marcos himself underscored their roles in conserving biodiversity, particularly in preserving the rich natural heritage of the region through the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP).
Marcos called on EU member countries and the rest of the world to act together to fight the effects of climate change and to ensure sustainable development at the opening ceremony of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union (ASEAN-EU) Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 14,
“We are currently losing huge chunks of our natural resources at a rate difficult to repair and impossible to replenish in our lifetime. The ACB’s work is vital in preserving and growing ASEAN’s rich natural heritage which serves as a main pillar of our culture and our economy,” Marcos said in his speech.
Lim said the ACB and EU’s long-standing partnership has supported the AHP and other nature conservation initiatives in the region to address biodiversity loss, improve community livelihoods, and increase resilience against climate change and future pandemics.
“As we recalibrate our gears and navigate towards these new and realistic targets, the ASEAN will need all the support that we can get from our national governments and our international partners to achieve these goals. We are indeed grateful for the strong support from our host country, the Philippines, in our regional conservation efforts,” Lim said.
The ACB’s headquarters is located in Los Baños,Laguna.
Established in 2005 as ASEAN’s response to the challenge of biodiversity loss, it is an intergovernmental organization that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the 10 member-states and with regional and international organizations.
Marcos said that as the coordinator of the ASEAN-EU Dialogue on GreenTech and Innovation Mapping until 2024, the Philippines would pursue collaboration and coordination with the EU to meet the aim of facilitating green technology transfer and cooperation between the two regions.
The EU-backed Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in the ASEAN Project provides the AHPs and protected areas with support for capacity development, monitoring and law-enforcement technology, and communication, education, and public awareness, among others.
Lim said Marcos’ call for stronger ASEAN-EU cooperation is timely as biodiversity targets for the next decades are being agreed upon and finalized at the ongoing UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada to advance regional goals and priorities for the conservation and sustainable use of the region’s rich natural resources.
During the 19th ASEAN-India Summit held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November, Marcos likewise pitched the need to curb biodiversity loss to mitigate the destructive effects and impacts of climate change.
Conservation.org noted that the Philippines hosts one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife species in the world with at least 20,000 which cannot be found elsewhere. (Maritz Moaje/Philippine News Agency)