ASEAN calls for sustainable management of protected areas

on Friday, 04 October 2013. Posted in 2013

4th ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference

ASEAN calls for sustainable management of protected areas

TAGAYTAY CITY, PHILIPPINES – 4 October 2013 – As human pressure on the planet’s resources intensifies, experts are increasingly looking at an effective protected area system as one of the best hopes to conserve key ecosystems, habitats, and species.

The ASEAN Member States, home to more than 1,300 nationally designated protected areas, are participating in international efforts to improve the management of protected areas, particularly the globally significant biodiversity areas such as the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs).

About 300 key biodiversity stakeholders from the ASEAN region gathered in Tagaytay City, Philippines from October 1 to 4 for the 4th ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference. They will develop strategies that will improve the management of AHP sites and other protected areas.

The theme of the four-day conference is Integrating Global Challenges for Sustainable Development and Effective Management of ASEAN Heritage Parks. The event is spearheaded by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) with support from the GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP) and the Government of the Philippines through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The conference came at a time when countries are discussing issues on biodiversity, in the context of the outcomes of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve the Aichi Targets and contribute to the successful implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020 and enhance benefits for people.

In his keynote message, Philippine Environment Secretary Ramon J.P Paje lauded the management boards and staff of the 33 ASEAN Heritage Parks as well as the local governments and surrounding communities for their commitment to conserve the parks’ rich biodiversity. “I encourage you to further strengthen your already significant efforts. Your efforts today will surely benefit the generations to come.  After all, they are the inheritors of these places that we all strive to protect,” he said.

“In the next four days, we will update ASEAN park managers on recent knowledge and tools in addressing biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation and the preservation of the region’s natural heritage. We will also identify further cooperation opportunities towards capacity building for effective management of AHPs and other critical ecosystems and biodiversity to contribute to poverty reduction,” Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, Executive Director of the ACB, said.

The biodiversity chief urged the ASEAN Member States to continue working together toward sustainably managing the ASEAN Heritage Parks – protected areas of high conservation importance, preserving in total a complete spectrum of representative ecosystems of the ASEAN region. “Let’s work together toward preserving our shared natural heritage,” he said.

“The 4th AHP Conference is part of the ASEAN’s effort, through the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, to unify actions aimed at abating environmental degradation by implementing measures on protected area management. As we know, establishing protected areas remains one of the key cornerstones of biodiversity conservation,” Atty. Oliva said.