Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Asean can be role model in biodiversity conservation


Asean countries can be role models for other countries in biodiversity conservation, particularly within protected areas. Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Rodrigo U Fuentes said with enhanced regional cooperation among Asean members, the loss of biodiversity had been markedly reduced. He said this was made possible after the environment Ministers of all Asean member countries (AMCs) signed an agreement establishing the ACB in 2005, paving the way for enhancing AMCs’ collaborative capacity to fulfill obligations to relevant treaties and conventions. Asean has designated 1,523 protected areas and declared 27 areas as Asean Heritage Parks, including the Kinabalu National Parkas World Heritage Site. In this respect, Fuentes said the ACB would continue to host biodiversity management courses in the Asean region — home to seven of the world’s 25 biodiversity hot spots. “That’s why, the ACB in cooperation with Universiti Malaysia Sabah, is holding a regional workshop for the development of course programmes and training for the protected area staff from today to Oct 24 at UMS’s Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC),” he told reporters, here yesterday. Fuentes said the workshop was for, among the objectives, identifying and prioritising course programmes and training to raise the competence of officials and staff of protected areas and conservation agencies in the Asean region. “While there are protected areas and community-conserved areas in Southeast Asia, park managers and staff still need to enhance their technical expertise to effectively manage these key environmental on biodiversity conservation in Sabah, Fuentes said he was impressed with the State Government’s initiative in designating large tracts of land as protected areas and community-conserved areas, thus contributing to the reduction of current rate of loss of biodiversity, especially endangered species. A community-conserved area or community-used zone refers to the natural or modified ecosytem containing significant biodiversity values, ecological services and cultural values voluntarily conserved by indigenous, mobile and local communities through customary laws or other effective means. - Bernama