Bantay Kalikasan

ASEAN confab Focuses on Biodiversity

ALKFI
February 17, 2016

A big biodiversity event in Southeast Asia will happen on 15-19 February 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand with the staging of the ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity (ACB2016), a premier international conference on the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity in Southeast Asia. The event is organized by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) in cooperation with the Royal Thai Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, through the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning.

With the theme Biodiversity for Sustainable Development, ACB2016 is expected to draw some 500 delegates from ASEAN national governments; private sector companies; international, regional and national institutions; non-governmental organizations; academic, science and research community; students; media; and ACB partner countries and organizations.

Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, Executive Director of ACB, said the conference will report the progress and gaps of the ASEAN region in meeting the 2020 global biodiversity targets, known as Aichi Targets; showcase innovative policies, good practices and experiences in meeting such targets in the ASEAN region; and provide a platform for ASEAN governments and relevant stakeholders to discuss and recommend ways forward to meet the Aichi Targets.

“We hope to provide an opportunity for biodiversity stakeholders to enhance partnerships and form new alliances; discuss ways and means to financially sustain biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region through the ASEAN Biodiversity Fund; and engage more sectors, particularly the business community, in biodiversity conservation and advocacy,” Director Oliva added.

Explaining the reason for holding the conference, Director Oliva said the ASEAN region is home to four of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots which are characterized both by exceptional levels of plant and animal endemism and by serious levels of habitat loss.

“Land conversion, forest fires, shifting cultivation, large-scale mining, wildlife hunting and trading, population growth and poverty, climate change, and lack of appropriate conservation management policies all contribute to habitat destruction and the consequent loss of biological diversity. Biodiversity loss could trigger enormous effects on health and wealth. The conference will give stakeholders an opportunity to unify conservation efforts from all fronts,” explained Director Oliva.

ACB2016 will be conducted through plenary and breakout sessions, panel discussions and presentations to facilitate exchange among participants. There will be parallel events, exhibits, and fun events.

Clarissa Arida, ACB Director for Programme Development and Implementation, said the conference will feature plenary presentations on issues to be taken up at the forthcoming 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in in Mexico in December 2016. She added that these will cover will be thematic area discussions on Access and Benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, Climate Change and Biodiversity, health and biodiversity and other key biodiversity concerns. The conference will also highlight ASEAN Member States’ progress in updating and implementing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and progress in achieving the CBD Strategic Plan.

She further added that the Conference will also highlight the way forward in advancing the ASEAN biodiversity agenda within the context of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and the newly adopted global mandate on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Dr. Sheila Vergara, ACB Director for Biodiversity Information Management, said a major highlight of ACB2016 is the soft launch of the Second Edition of the ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook (ABO2). ABO is the flagship publication of ACB showcasing developments on biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region.

She added that ABO2 will provide a mid-term report on the progress of ASEAN Member States towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Director Oliva announced that the conference will have a Business and Biodiversity Forum with representatives of private corporations in Asia discussing the link between business and biodiversity. There will be presentations on good practices on business engagement on biodiversity conservation through the CBD Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity.

Completing the features of ACB2016 are exhibits by the ASEAN Member States on their achievements under their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. International and conservation organizations will showcase their conservation work.

There will be will be an optional visit to some best nature parks in Thailand.

For more information, contact: E-mail: [email protected] or log on to https://www.aseanbiodiversity.org/acb2016/.