ASEAN to heighten public awareness of biodiversity issues

Manila – Government communication officers and biodiversity experts from the ten ASEAN Member States  are in Manila for a three-day workshop on heightening public awareness of biodiversity issues and concerns.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Workshop is being conducted from November 24 to 26 at the Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City. The opening program was addressed by Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, executive director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Atty. Roberto Oliva, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB); and Dr. Bertholt Seibert, project director of the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP).

The workshop aims to strengthen the capacity of ASEAN Member States in promoting public awareness of the values of biodiversity to help reduce the rate of biodiversity loss. “The workshop is a contribution of the ASEAN Member States and ACB in realizing Target No. 1 of the global biodiversity Aichi Targets. Target No. 1 states that by 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably,” ACB Executive Director Roberto Oliva said.

Organized by ACB and supported by the Government of Germany through the BCCP, the workshop aims to assist ASEAN Member States in strengthening their CEPA strategies to enable them to meet their commitments as Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; share good CEPA practices from the ASEAN region and other parts of the world; identify challenges and discuss actions to strengthen ASEAN Member States’ capacity to communicate biodiversity; enhance the participants’ skills in preparing national CEPA strategies; draft an outline of the ASEAN Regional CEPA Strategy; and establish a network of communicators who will take the lead in promoting biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN Member States.

The key resource speakers are Dr. Jinie Dela from Sri Lanka, Director, Probe for Nature (Pvt) Limited, and Member, Commission on Education and Communication of the International Union for Conservation of Nature; and Ms. Durudee Sirichanya, Head of Public Outreach and Civil Society Division, ASEAN Secretariat.

The workshop will be followed by the awarding ceremony for the 2014 ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity, which recognizes outstanding projects on biodiversity conservation and advocacy in the ASEAN region.  The ceremony includes the launching of Stats and Stories: Storytelling for Biodiversity Southeast Asia & Beyond, a compilation of feature stories by Philipp Gassner of Germany, which explains biodiversity issues and concerns in layman’s term.