Recognising that biodiversity is a cross-cutting concern, environment leaders of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) are set to collaborate with other sectors such as tourism, infrastructure, health, agriculture, cities and urban development, and business, in working towards the sustainability of the Region’s biological resources.
As part of the 30th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN), the 21st Meeting of the Governing Board of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), was held from 8 to 9 July 2019 at the Sukosol Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Some of the meeting highlights include discussions on: mainstreaming biodiversity; new ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) nominations; protected area management; preparations for the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP 15); ASEAN’s inputs to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework; and other updates on the operations of the ACB as the regional hub for biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region.
“Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN 2019 emphasises that though coming from various interests and sectoral areas, we need to move forward together as one community, towards sustainable security, sustainable economic growth, and sustainable development,” said Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, ACB executive director, as she thanked Thailand for hosting the ACB Governing Board meeting.
Regional cooperation in protected area management
The year 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the AHP Programme, a flagship programme of the ASEAN that was established to recognise national parks and nature reserves with outstanding wilderness and biodiversity values. It offers opportunities to strengthen regional connectivity and cooperation, as ecosystems and their services transcend national borders. The ACB serves as the Secretariat of the AHP Programme.
Five protected areas from Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam were nominated to join the growing network of AHPs. These are Hat Chao Mai National Park and Mu Ko Libong Non-hunting Area (Thailand); Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park (Thailand); Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park (Viet Nam); Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve (Viet Nam); and Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary (Myanmar).
To facilitate sharing of good protected area management practices, and to explore ways on how to collaborate with various sectors in conserving the now 44 AHPs in the Region, the Sixth AHP Conference (AHP 6) will be held from 21 to 24 October 2019 in Pakse, Lao PDR.
With the theme Sustainability and Innovation for Parks and People, AHP 6 is set to convene representatives from the environment, government, economic, and education sectors, as well as from development partners such as the European Union (EU), GIZ, International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to name a few.
The first day of AHP 6 is the ASEAN-EU Policy Dialogue on Protected Areas and Wildlife that aims to bring together members of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB), ASEAN Working Group on CITES and Wildlife Enforcement (AWGCITES-WE), the EU Delegations in ASEAN, and other development partners. This will be spearheaded by the ACB and the EU as part of the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) Project.
Parallel sessions will focus on the following: accelerating progress on Aichi Biodiversity Target 11; species and wildlife conservation; innovative financing; business and biodiversity; women, youth, and indigenous peoples and local communities; sustainable livelihood and biodiversity-based products; and ecosystem-based solutions.
One ASEAN, 2020 and beyond
Nearing the timeline for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the ASEAN is solidifying its position on and inputs to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The Post-2020 global biodiversity framework is a universal framework for action that is aimed at supporting the transformational changes needed to realise the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity—Living in Harmony with Nature.
“Transformational change is needed for biodiversity to address the needs of a warming world, expanding population, and increasing economic inequality in an effective way. We have to work closely together and make a unified statement as one ASEAN— a strong bloc in the upcoming CBD COP 15 in Kunming, China,” said Dr. Lim.
An opportunity to prepare for ASEAN’s position in COP 15 will be the Third ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity or ACB 2020, the biggest biodiversity event in the Region, to discuss the status of biodiversity in the ASEAN region and synthesis of progress made by the AMS to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. ACB 2020 will be held from 16 to 19 March 2020 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
The ACB was established in 2005 by the AMS as a response to biodiversity loss in the region. It supports and coordinates the implementation of activities in the ASEAN region leading to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, for the benefit of the region and the AMS. The ACB was tasked by the CBD Secretariat as the node for the Regional Implementation Support Network on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets on protected areas and endangered species.