EU envoy sees ‘bright spots’ in ASEAN biodiversity upkeep
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna –– There are worrisome trends, but there are also “bright spots” in Southeast Asia, home to 18 percent of the plant species in the world, so said Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Drismans visited the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) here Tuesday.
“Southeast Asia is a very critical region in terms of biodiversity, home to 18 percent of the plant species globally even though it’s only 3 percent of the landmass,” Driesmans said.
Driesmans, with other EU delegates, and the ACB team led by executive director Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, discussed updates on the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project, a five-year program started in 2017 to address biodiversity concerns in the region.
“Here in the ASEAN region, we have seen some worrying trends and at the same time some bright spots … and it’s these bright spots that we want to support and nurture. And this is why we’re here and this is why we’re doing all the support programs,” the ambassador added.
The BCAMP project, which is funded by the EU, aims to improve the management of protected areas in the region, to develop and distribute knowledge and scientific basis for biodiversity conservation, and to strengthen the regional capacities in biodiversity conservation.
“Now that we are faced with an unprecedented rate of species decline, we have to further intensify our efforts towards transformative change,” Lim said.
“This entails a system-wide change in attitude, values, goals, and ways of living that would lead to the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources,” she said.
The BCAMP project is supporting the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) Program, which includes nine Philippine natural parks, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and forest reserves.
The project also has a youth biodiversity program, where the youth can participate in fellowships and internships in AHPs, among others. Kimmy Baraoidan /lzb
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