Legarda recognized as ASEAN Biodiversity Hero

November 7, 2022

For her significant contributions to biodiversity efforts in the country, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda was recognized as an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Biodiversity Hero on November 2 in Bogor, Indonesia.

Joining the awarding ceremony virtually, Legarda, who is known as a long-time advocate of environmental protection and a champion of green development, thanked ASEAN for the recognition and for acknowledging the efforts of individuals from various sectors who fight for the environment.

She also expressed gratitude to the European Union and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation for supporting and making the second staging of the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards possible.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the ASEAN as one of this year’s ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes. It is heartening that what I advocated to do by being a planetary inhabitant has impacted not only my fellow Filipinos but also the peoples of ASEAN and hopefully the world,” Legarda said in her acceptance speech.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards, a flagship initiative of the ASEAN, is one of the commemorative activities for the 55th anniversary of ASEAN and the 17th anniversary of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB).

Initiated in 2017, the award was designed to recognize individuals from ASEAN member states who contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation in their countries and the region, raise awareness about biodiversity, and support ASEAN’s vision of ‘One Community.’

It has showcased the work of outstanding individuals from different sectors such as business, academe, non-profit, and government to make the world a healthier place for future generations.

Aside from Legarda, the awardee from the Philippines, citizens with outstanding achievements in biodiversity advocacy from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand also received the award.

“The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are being challenged further to get political consensus for habitat integrity. The task ahead of us is to ensure that the ASEAN is ahead of the pack in demonstrating that equity and planetary stewardship are built into our every decision, individually and collectively,” Legarda stated.

“We must never lose sight of the fact that, as expounded on in recent evolutionary work, survival of the fittest is not on the level of the individual but at the level of social groups working together for the common good. The ones that cooperate instead of competing, and exhibit care instead of violence, are the ones that thrive,” she added.

During the ceremony, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes submitted their commitments on how they will help protect the ecosystem.

Legarda pledged to “further improve the policy environment that will see full implementation, transition the country towards a blue economy, sustainability and climate resilience for future generations.”

As a senator, Legarda has authored numerous environmental laws, including the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Philippine Clean Air Act, Renewable Energy Act, Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, National Environmental Awareness and Education Act, Climate Change Act, and Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, among other measures.

In 2017, she sponsored the Philippines’ concurrence in ratifying the Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty adopted in 2015 by members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as former Chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Paris Agreement under the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Aside from this, she leads the Philippines into assenting to the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which aims to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean by the year 2030.

Above and beyond being a legislator, Legarda is the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Champion for Resilience, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) National Adaptation Plan Champion, and the Commissioner of the Global Commission on Adaptation and Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Ambassador for Parliaments.

Her dedication to her craft was acknowledged through numerous global recognitions, such as the Global Leader for Tomorrow given by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She is also a United Nations Environment Programme Laureate, and the Global Ambassador for Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change, and Environment of the Women Political Leaders. (end)