Message: Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

September 12, 2023

Founding Anniversary of the ACB
10 September 2023
ACB Headquarters, UPLB

ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Kao Kim Hourn, ACB Executive Director Mundita Lim, and other guests:

Warm greetings to all who made it personally to the verdant surroundings of the headquarters of the ASEAN Biodiversity Center in Los Baños for this 18th Anniversary celebration of the ACB. I wish I could have been there for the forest air, and all its health benefits.

The Philippines has indeed played a significant role in supporting the work of the ACB. Increasing funding support over the years reflects the country’s commitment to addressing the biodiversity crisis in the ASEAN region. Since ASEAN countries host some of the highest biodiversity and endemic species on the planet, it is crucial to have the necessary resources to protect and conserve these unique ecosystems.

The ACB’s partnerships with various organizations are also instrumental in advancing its mission. These partners recognize the importance and criticality of the ACB’s work, not only for the region but also for the multiple endangered species that rely on protected habitats. Programs like ASEAN Heritage Parks and other national or subnational means of protection contribute to safeguarding these species and their ecosystems.

I was just at the ACB’s event recently where the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were flown in to inspire young communicators to tell stories on biodiversity. I think this emphasis on telling stories, along with innovative and multidisciplinary programs justifies the quote in the Jakarta Post that “if there was a ranking of the most effective ASEAN institutions, the ACB would probably top the chart”.

The ASEAN Green Initiative, Access and Benefit Sharing, Business and Biodiversity, the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and other programs are all proof that ACB refuses to be boxed into a mere discipline that only a sliver of attention by a handful of experts must pay attention to. It is bringing biodiversity out of the fringes. I was surprised to find that even the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), the world’s largest plurilateral trade agreement, has provisions for compliance with the Convention on Biodiversity.

Mainstreaming biodiversity must be at all levels.

I wish ACB many more years of great work, I wish our countries great success in this UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, and I hope I can join you in person for next year’s celebration for more good news on the biodiversity front in our region.

Thank you very much. Isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat!