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ASEAN Strides Toward the Achievement of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework

10 December 2022 | Montreal, Canada

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Under the umbrella of the COP 15 theme "Ecological Civilization-Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," the side event engaged key policymakers from ASEAN Members States to highlight progress in achieving biodiversity goals in the ASEAN region, including challenges and innovative solutions to contribute to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

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Image credit: Atharva Kanekar

Southeast Asia is home to almost 20% of plant and animal species and a third of the coastal and marine habitats on the planet. However, the region remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and emerging diseases. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States have adopted a roadmap to ensure the region’s rich biological resources are sustainably managed toward enhancing social, economic, and environmental well-being through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

Under the umbrella of the COP 15 theme: Ecological Civilization-Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth, this side event engaged key policymakers from ASEAN Member States to highlight progress in achieving biodiversity goals in the ASEAN region, including challenges and innovative solutions to contribute to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF).

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Pamela Q. Reblora, ACB

Addressing participants, Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), emphasized that despite only representing 3% of the world’s total land area, the ASEAN region is home to almost 20% of all known species in the world, endowed with close to 30% of the world’s coral reef species, 60% of the world’s tropical peatlands, and more than 40% of the world’s mangrove areas. She lauded the fact that at least 50% of ASEAN Member States are on track to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, noting that being aware of this progress helps identify areas to scale-up efforts to maximise contributions to the post-2020 GBF.

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Theresa Mundita S. Lim, ACB

Ekkaphab Phanthavong, ASEAN Secretariat, welcomed the Member States’ contributions to the GBF, including through the third ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook (ABO 3). He underlined the importance of a multi-stakeholder, participatory approach to achieve the GBF targets, and highlighted the need to implement nature-based solutions (NbS) to this end. He said forests are at the heart of addressing biodiversity loss and climate change but lamented the rise in illegal logging threatening biodiversity, linking this to the spread of zoonotic diseases. He thanked ASEAN partners, and welcomed continued cooperation among Member States to protecting biodiversity for many generations to come.

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Ekkaphab Phanthavong, ASEAN Secretariat

Khairul Naim bin Adham, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Malaysia, highlighted key objectives and outcomes of the Third ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity (ACB2020). On conference objectives, he identified documenting the status of biodiversity in the ASEAN region and to synthesizing progress by ASEAN Member States. In terms of conference outcomes, he identified, inter alia: the need for realistic targets and indicators in the GBF, while accounting for national considerations; support for mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors; and recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and the role of women and youth in efforts to implement the framework.

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Khairul Naim bin Adham, Malaysia

Badiah Achmad Said, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, shared key messages of the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) Conference, which took place in November 2022 in Bogor, Indonesia, and provided insights on how it can contribute to achieving the GBF. She noted the theme of this year’s AHP as “Healing Nature and People: The Role of AHPs in Ecosystem Protection and Pandemic Recovery,” noting the conference cast a spotlight on the interconnectedness of human beings and nature. She underlined that the AHP enshrines women, youth, and local communities in protected area management, and highlighted the need to address funding gaps for protected areas.

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Badiah Achmad Said, Indonesia

Ernesto Adobo, Jr., Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines, stressed that it is not possible to implement climate action and pandemic recovery and prevention without addressing the cross-cutting issue of biodiversity loss. He underscored the ambitious, yet realistic and implementable, aspects of the GBF to ensure that common but differentiated responsibilities are respected.

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Ernesto Adobo, Jr., the Philippines

Lena Chan, National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore, lauded the growth of the ACB, underlining that it represents a success in regional cooperation, with ASEAN countries taking the global lead. She welcomed further cooperation and called for transformational change to achieve the GBF. She also highlighted the importance of the AHP, underlining the role of regional cooperation, as “biodiversity knows no bounds.”

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Lena Chan, Singapore

Benchamaporn Wattanatongchai, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, Thailand, stressed the importance of: mainstreaming biodiversity into agricultural practice; and ensuring coordination among agencies focused on conservation and sustainable use of agricultural resources, while also remaining aware of the ways in which trade policies can present a barrier for this coordination.

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Benchamaporn Wattanatongchai, Thailand

Masha Kalinina, Pew Charitable Trusts, welcomed the commitment of some ASEAN Member States to the High Ambition Coalition to support the 30X30 goal to conserve 30% of terrestrial and marine habitat by 2030. She also pointed to the Blue Nature Alliance, whose goal is to catalyze the conservation of 18 million square kilometers of the Ocean by 2030.

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Masha Kalinina, Pew Charitable Trusts

Launch of ABO 3

Clarissa C. Arida, ACB, introduced the ABO 3, which, she said, draws the attention of the collective, responsible, and pragmatic actions for biodiversity using the most recent available information, progress on achievements to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and areas for improvement on these Targets in the ASEAN region. She stressed the importance of a proactive approach in calling for NbS for climate action, improved focused on regional capacity, knowledge platforms and resources, and engagement with national clearinghouse mechanisms, including the ASEAN Clearinghouse Mechanism, the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard, and the ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook.

Arida, concluded with a video presentation of the ABO 3, which highlighted that biodiversity loss requires collective action within and beyond the ASEAN region as well as synergies with a range of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The video also emphasized the need for urgent and ambitious action, including: the expansion of other effective conservation measures (OECMs), in addition to protected area expansion; and the establishment of ecological networks through transboundary networks, including through the AHP programme, that contribute to interconnected ecosystems across a larger landscape and seascape network.

The side event closed with a ceremonial handing over of the e-copies of the newly launched ABO 3.

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Speakers shake hands at the conclusion of the event.

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Ekkaphab Phanthavong, ASEAN Secretariat, and Theresa Mundita S. Lim, ACB

Organizers: ASEAN

Contact: Pamela Q. Reblora, ASEAN email [email protected]

For more information: https://www.cbd.int/side-events/4821

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For this event, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz

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