Environment champions awarded as 2022 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes

November 10, 2022

Bogor, Indonesia – The ASEAN has announced the recipients of the 2022 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards, shining a spotlight on the individuals whose exemplary efforts and advocacies make a wave of impact in their respective countries and in their own ways.

A youth leader, a legislator, a marine conservation pioneer, a geoheritage expert, a veterinarian, a marine biodiversity expert and science communicator, an environment officer, and two foresters were honoured at the awards ceremony held in Bogor, Indonesia on 2 November 2022. The awards night was one of the highlights of the Seventh ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference organised by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry-Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation of Species and Genetics.

Launched in 2017, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is a flagship programme of the ASEAN that showcases the impactful advocacies and actions of environmental champions with the goal of inspiring more people to stand up for biodiversity.

This 2022, the 2nd ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are awarded to:

Brunei Darussalam’s Ms. Liaw Lin Ji, Founder, Biodiversity and Natural History Society (BruWILD) and Head of Environmental Solutions and Brunei Country Manager, DHI Water & EnvironmentFor using creative education materials to make biodiversity a fun and relatable topic and inspiring generations of biodiversity champions in children and people of all ages

Cambodia’s Mr. Chak Sokhavicheaboth, Deputy Director of Biodiversity Department, Ministry of Environment, CambodiaFor contributing significantly to  wildlife research in the country

Indonesia’s Dr. Anhar Lubis, Coordinator – Leuser Wildlife Rescue Team and Veterinarian, Leuser Conservation Forum, IndonesiaFor protecting the wildlife of the Leuser Ecosystem and ensuring that biodiversity resources are conserved for Aceh’s future

Lao PDR’s Mr. Khamphay Xayyalad, Manager, The National Eld’s Deer Sanctuary Areas – For devoting his expertise as a forester to protecting the endangered Eld’s deer

Malaysia’s Prof. Ibrahim Bin Komoo, Professor Emeritus, Universiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaFor championing conservation geology and ensuring knowledge transfer to the general public

Myanmar’s Mr. Nay Win Swe, Forester, Inlay Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, MyanmarFor dedicating his life to protecting the Inlay Lake Wildlife Sanctuary and the future of the locals who depend on the lake’s resources

The Philippines’ Senator Loren Legarda, Senate President Pro-Tempore – For championing the environment in the media and legislative arenas

Singapore’s Prof. Chou Loke Ming, Emeritus Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of SingaporeFor making a lasting impact on marine biodiversity conservation and inspiring younger generations to take up the conservation cause

Thailand’s Prof. Suchana Chavanich, Professor, Chulalongkorn University, ThailandFor making groundbreaking strides as a marine scientist and bridging the gap between the science community and society

In his welcome message, Mr. Ary Sudijanto, Chairman ASOEN-Indonesia and Director-General, The Agency for Standardization of Environment and Forestry Instruments (ASEFI), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Indonesia, commended the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes “for their countless dedication, works, and meaningful contributions through many ways and for manifesting concrete actions toward biodiversity conservation.” He also called on the delegates of the Seventh ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference to take concrete actions and enhance knowledge and skills on planning and implementing ecosystem management, restoration strategies, and building resilience.

ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards demonstrate that there are individuals who are concerned about environmental issues and are rising to the challenges of curbing biodiversity losses. These heroes are taking concrete actions and are implementing exemplary initiatives to promote the conservation of biodiversity in our region. Their works bring about to the peoples of ASEAN a better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity and inspire individuals to make real changes and actions for a sustainable future for all of us” said Mr. Ky-Anh Nguyen, Director for Sustainable Development, ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department, ASEAN Secretariat.

Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), lauded the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes for deciding to face the growing problem of biodiversity loss aggravated by a changing climate and choosing to act on it. “The region, with the rest of the world, is experiencing environmental, social, and global health crises that suggest a critical turning point. International communities all agree that decisive and transformative actions must be undertaken now before it is too late. It is but fitting that we recognise the exceptional changemakers during the Seventh ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference—an event that promotes healing and recovery through ecosystem protection and restoration. The work that our ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes do serves as a reminder and inspiration for us to do our part in safeguarding biodiversity for the future. They show us how actions – big or small – are vital contributions to a sustainable future for both people and nature. The diversity in their backgrounds, passion, and advocacies are testimonies that conserving our web of life is everyone’s concern,” she said.

Since its inception, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes has been supported by the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project. This year, the ASEAN partnered with Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).

“As a region with a very high biodiversity, the whole of ASEAN and its member states, together with dialogue and development partners, the private sector, and the public, it must take bold actions. The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards gives recognition to such people, passionate individuals from the ASEAN region who have dedicated their lives to diversity. With the first group of award winners in 2017, we have seen how inspiring the success stories can be. From developing ecotourism programmes that inspire generation of tourists, community leaders and conservation workers, to chairing the intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the 2017 group of Biodiversity Heroes has not only inspired more people in the ASEAN, but also in the rest of the world,” said Mr. Thibaut Portevin, Counsellor / Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to ASEAN. “I’m very pleased that the 2022 ASEAN biodiversity Heroes are diverse leaders in their own rights, researchers and public servants and veterinarians, among others. Their contribution to the bigger cause of inspiring change for people in nature cannot be underestimated. I hope that you will continue to inspire others so that they may follow your example with the same energy and passion for protecting the region’s rich biodiversity,” he added.

Each awardee received a Heroes’ fund worth Euro 5,000 to augment the valuable advocacy efforts they are doing in their respective countries for biodiversity. An ASEAN trophy and a special prize courtesy of MPIC were also given to the awardees. The laureates, who will be known as the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region, will also be invited to share their advocacies in various regional events.

“Championing biodiversity conservation is a collective responsibility. We are committed to set examples and use our huge influence in the private sector to encourage more companies to also take bold and urgent actions to protect, restore, and sustainably manage our natural ecosystems. It is our moral obligation to chart a better future for our people and planet,” said Metro Pacific Investment Corporation’s Chief Finance, Risk, and Sustainability Officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were selected based on the relevance of their contributions to biodiversity conservation, the impact of these contributions to biodiversity conservation efforts in their respective countries and the region, the replicability of their actions, and the recognition they received in communities where they belong.

To know more about the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes, log on to heroes.aseanbiodiversity.org. For questions, send an e-mail to [email protected].

Note: Individual profile stories on the 2022 ASEAN Biodiversity Awardees may be accessed via Profiles of 2022 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes – 29 October 2022.pdf

Source: ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Secretariat