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The ASEAN BIODIVERSITY UPDATES is published monthly by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) to keep stakeholders informed of news about biodiversity concerns and efforts that are relevant to the ASEAN region, including about the work of ACB. 

Vol. 5, No. 4  I  April  2012

www.aseanbiodiversity.org

NEWS

Search for best biodiversity and
climate change reporting is on

The hot issue of biodiversity and climate change received a much-needed public awareness boost when the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ, and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) launched the special award on “Best in Biodiversity and Climate Change Reporting” at the 16th National Press Forum on April 24 at Traders Hotel Manila. The launch of the special award was announced at the press forum by Rolando Inciong, head of ACB’s Communication and Public Affairs.

Read More

Earth Day: Mobilize for Mother Earth

Earth Day is celebrated all over the world every year on April 22, and this year marks the 42nd anniversary of the event. After decades of both celebrating and fighting for the environment, many are becoming frustrated with the failure of governments and citizens alike to take stronger steps towards protecting and preserving the environment. Earth Day 2012 thus aims to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them towards quantifiable outcomes. Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to renew calls for actions to protect the world’s ecosystems, curb climate change, focus on renewable energy, and save the world’s endangered species.

Read More

GBIF reports successes in access
to biodiversity data

In its 2011 annual report released this month, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) highlights current achievements and compares them with the original aims of the body. The report features the growing use of data mobilized by GBIF’s global network of participant countries and organizations, in a wide range of peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Read More

World ocean summit set in December 2012

The World Ocean Council’s second “Sustainable Ocean Summit” (SOS) will be held December 3-5 in Washington D.C. to further advance leadership and collaboration among the diverse ocean business community in addressing marine environment and sustainability challenges. The SOS is the only international, cross-sectoral ocean sustainability conference designed by and for the private sector. The 2012 event builds on the highly successful SOS 2010, held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which drew together more than 150 representatives from a wide range of ocean industries.

Read More

World Malaria Day 2012: Invest in biodiversity
and keep malaria at bay

April 25 marks World Malaria Day and was established to recognize the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. It also provides an opportunity for affected countries to learn from each other's experiences and support each other's efforts, create new partnerships, and showcase scientific advances in the fight against malaria. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – calls for greater investments in malaria control as this has created a momentum and led to remarkable decreases in malaria cases around the globe. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Read More

Biodiversity Barometer 2012 off the press

The Union for Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT) launched the latest Biodiversity Barometer in Paris this month. The 2012 biodiversity barometer finds that 76 percent of all respondents from around the globe were aware of sustainable development, 64 percent of biodiversity. Of the top 100 beauty companies in the world, 54 mentioned sustainability in their reporting and website, while 31 referred to biodiversity. The barometer provides insights on evolving biodiversity awareness among consumers and how the beauty industry reports on biodiversity. It also illustrates the progress towards achieving the targets of the Strategic Plan of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. This year, the survey was conducted among 8000 consumers in eight countries - Brazil, France, Germany, India, Peru, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Read More

 


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FEATURE

CAMBODIA

Mondulkiri
Protected Forest

Mondulkiri Protected Forest (MPF) is a protected area of nearly 400,000 hectares located in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Mondulkiri province, Cambodia.

Read More

BIODIVERSITY NEWS
SOUTHEAST ASIA

Kalimantan palm plantations threaten last pygmy elephants. WWF Indonesia states that with no more than 80 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Indonesia, the massive clearing of forests to make way for palm oil plantations poses a major threat to the survival of the species. 

Read More


Search for best biodiversity and climate change reporting is on

The hot issue of biodiversity and climate change received a much-needed public awareness boost when the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ, and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) launched the special award on “Best in Biodiversity and Climate Change Reporting” at the 16th National Press Forum on April 24 at Traders Hotel Manila. The launch of the special award was announced at the press forum by Rolando Inciong, head of ACB’s Communication and Public Affairs.

“The relationship between biodiversity and climate change cannot be translated into a gut issue that the man on the street will understand without the help of media, especially the newspapers. GIZ and ACB recognize media’s significant role as a partner in demystifying biodiversity and promoting the link between biodiversity and climate change and highlighting their importance to humans,” Dr. Berthold Seibert, Project Manager of the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, said.

In recognition of media’s key role in generating a greater awareness of biodiversity, ACB and GIZ are partnering with the PPI for the special award, which will be part of the 2012-2013 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards. Hosted by PPI and The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, the awards is an annual event that aims to recognize community papers excelling in the field of civic journalism in the Philippines.

“By opening this special category, ACB, GIZ and PPI will recognize the efforts of community journalists who have taken the initiative to educate more people about biodiversity and climate change,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of ACB, said.

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Earth Day: Mobilize for Mother Earth

Earth Day is celebrated all over the world every year on April 22, and this year marks the 42nd anniversary of the event. After decades of both celebrating and fighting for the environment, many are becoming frustrated with the failure of governments and citizens alike to take stronger steps towards protecting and preserving the environment. Earth Day 2012 thus aims to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them towards quantifiable outcomes.

Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to renew calls for actions to protect the world’s ecosystems, curb climate change, focus on renewable energy, and save the world’s endangered species.

Rodrigo U. Fuentes, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, says Earth Day should highlight the need to strengthen biodiversity conservation efforts all around the world. Biodiversity essentially refers to the variety of life on earth. It encompasses variations in the ecosystem, species, and the genetic make-up of these organisms. Biodiversity embraces the relationships between and among life forms and ecosystems, and the ecological services they generate.  The state of biodiversity is thus a measure of the health of ecosystems.

Show your concern for your community and the environment and mobilize for Mother Earth. For more information about Earth Day 2012 visit http://www.earthday.org/2012. Learn about Southeast Asia’s biodiversity at www.aseanbiodiversity.org.

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GBIF reports successes in access to biodiversity data

In its 2011 annual report released this month, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) highlights current achievements and compares them with the original aims of the body. The report features the growing use of data mobilized by GBIF’s global network of participant countries and organizations, in a wide range of peer-reviewed scientific studies.

GBIF successes include: being cited as the source of data for more than
200 peer-reviewed scientific papers in 2011, making available more than 300 million individual records; new incentives for publishing biodiversity data with the introduction of the "data paper" describing datasets in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal; regional training events and mentoring grants, enabling the publication of several biodiversity datasets, portals and decision-making tools in African countries; and making available information on invasive alien species under a new joint work program for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

In Asia, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity is a regional partner.

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World ocean summit set in December 2012

The World Ocean Council’s second “Sustainable Ocean Summit” (SOS) will be held December 3-5 in Washington D.C. to further advance leadership and collaboration among the diverse ocean business community in addressing marine environment and sustainability challenges.

The SOS is the only international, cross-sectoral ocean sustainability conference designed by and for the private sector. The 2012 event builds on the highly successful SOS 2010, held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which drew together more than 150 representatives from a wide range of ocean industries.

The conference will address priorities for cross-sectoral industry leadership and collaboration in ocean sustainability, including: ocean policy, regulations and governance; marine spatial planning; the role of industries in ocean and climate observations; biosecurity and invasive species; fisheries and aquaculture interaction with other industries; cross-sectoral collaboration in responsible use of the Arctic; port waste reception facilities and marine debris; marine mammal interactions; and the role of finance, insurance and legal sectors in ocean sustainability.

Limited opportunities are available for speakers to address the themes above. Experts interested in being considered as speakers are encouraged to contact the WOC: paul.holthus@oceancouncil.org. WOC News

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World Malaria Day 2012: Invest in biodiversity and keep malaria at bay

April 25 marks World Malaria Day and was established to recognize the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. It also provides an opportunity for affected countries to learn from each other's experiences and support each other's efforts, create new partnerships, and showcase scientific advances in the fight against malaria. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – calls for greater investments in malaria control as this has created a momentum and led to remarkable decreases in malaria cases around the globe.

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. Transmission also depends on climatic conditions that may affect the number and survival of mosquitoes, such as rainfall patterns, temperature and humidity. In many places, transmission is seasonal, with the peak during and just after the rainy season. Malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions suddenly favor transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria.

Malaria control will benefit from investments in biodiversity conservation.  Widespread changes to terrestrial ecosystems have led to the reemergence of a number of infectious diseases such as malaria. A number of studies have shown the interrelation between ecosystem changes and diseases, and specifically the correlation between forest quality and the incidence of malaria. 

Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said investments in forest protection and biodiversity conservation will contribute to reduced cases of malaria. 

“Biodiversity conservation may not provide direct and immediate relief, but it should be considered as part of long-term solutions and cost-effective interventions.  Governments and businesses, and the health sector must invest in biodiversity conservation to help sustain malaria control efforts,” Director Fuentes emphasized.  

Sources:

Pattanayak, Subhrendu K., Catherine G. Corey, Yewah F. Lau, Randall A. Kramer. 2010.  Biodiversity Conservation and Child Malaria: Microeconomic Evidence from Flores, Indonesia. Economic Research Initiatives at Duke Working Paper Series.  ERID Working Paper Number 85.  Duke University. 

World Health Organization  (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/annual/malaria/en/index.html)

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Biodiversity Barometer 2012 off the press

The Union for Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT) launched the latest Biodiversity Barometer in Paris this month. The 2012 biodiversity barometer finds that 76 percent of all respondents from around the globe were aware of sustainable development, 64 percent of biodiversity. Of the top 100 beauty companies in the world, 54 mentioned sustainability in their reporting and website, while 31 referred to biodiversity.

The barometer provides insights on evolving biodiversity awareness among consumers and how the beauty industry reports on biodiversity. It also illustrates the progress towards achieving the targets of the Strategic Plan of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. This year, the survey was conducted among 8000 consumers in eight countries - Brazil, France, Germany, India, Peru, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Twenty years after the United Nations Earth Summit significant levels of awareness have been reached. UEBT found that global awareness on sustainability is 76 percent. Yet, over the last years, the growth curve has flattened. Rio+20, the UN Summit on Sustainable Development that will be held in Brazil later this year, is aiming to provide new impetus for sustainable development.

A significant number of people surveyed (75 percent) assign an important role to private sector in achieving sustainable development, in addition to their governments. This highlights the needs to consider the private sector in the outcomes of Rio+20 and the importance of business to take action towards the future we want. For more information, visit: www.ethicalbiotrade.org.

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FEATURES

CAMBODIA

Mondulkiri Protected Forest

Mondulkiri Protected Forest (MPF) is a protected area of nearly 400,000 hectares located in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Mondulkiri province, Cambodia. The area is considered an important representative sample of the Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion and was designated as a Protected Forest by The Royal Government of Cambodia in July 2002.

Mondulkiri Protected Forest contains many wildlife species characteristic of the Lower Mekong Dry Forest ecoregion within the Eastern Plains. This protected areas still holds the three wild cattle species banteng, gaur, and wild water buffalo. Deer species include the endangered Eld's deer, and wild pigs are abundant, seen in groups of as many as 100 individuals. Cats are well-represented in the area including small numbers of tiger, an increasing number of leopard, relatively many jungle cats, and possibly a few clouded leopards and fishing cats. Other carnivores include Asiatic jackal and dhole, or Asian wild dog, as well as sun bears and several civet species. The forest also contains a rich diversity of primates including black-shanked douc and Germain's silver langur as well as pig-tailed and long-tailed macaque.

The trapeangs (watering holes) provide breeding habitats for threatened water birds including sarus crane, critically endangered giant and white-shouldered ibis as well as lesser and possibly greater adjutant. Three critically endangered vulture species, slender-billed, white-rumped, and red-headed vulture, maintain nesting populations in the protected area.  Other charismatic bird species observed in the area include great and oriental pied hornbills, green peafowl, silver pheasant, and great slaty woodpecker.

Reference:

WWF Cambodia (http://cambodia.panda.org/wwf_in_cambodia/dry_forests/mondulkiri_protected_forest/)

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BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA

n BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Designation of protected waters by mid-2012 eyed. The Fisheries Department announced its plan to establish and implement marine protected areas (MPAs) on Brunei waters by middle of 2012. The MPAs are part of the department's enforcement strategies under the National Plan of Action in combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (NPOA-IUU).  A new patrol boat was also purchased to enhance the department's monitoring, control and surveillance operations to curb illegal maritime activities.

The Brunei Times

n CAMBODIA

Sun bear caretaker earns global prize.  Chuon Vuthy, country program manager of Free the Bears, became the first Cambodian to win the Future for Nature Award at a ceremony in the Netherlands. Free the Bears is an Australia-based NGO that works to rescue endangered bears and educate people about the need to protect them and their environment. The €50,000-euro award will be used to help fund three projects run by the NGO, which cares for 118 sun bears and Asiatic black bears at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province. The Future for Nature Award is a global award given to three outstanding young conservationists who have a real impact in protecting endangered species.  Chuon Vuthy has been with Free the Bears since its inception in Cambodia in 1997.  Free the Bears in Cambodia now cares for 118 sun bears, and is described as the world’s biggest sanctuary for the world’s smallest bear species.  The Phnom Penh Post

n INDONESIA

Kalimantan palm plantations threaten last pygmy elephants. WWF Indonesia states that with no more than 80 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Indonesia, the massive clearing of forests to make way for palm oil plantations poses a major threat to the survival of the species. A four-year survey showed that all of the elephants were in northern East Kalimantan on the border with Malaysia’s Sabah state. Expanding plantations were driving the elephants out of their natural habitat and forcing them into more frequent conflict with villagers in Nunukan district. WWF called for support for human-elephant conflict mitigation and the protection of remaining populations of pygmy elephants through sound forestry management activities. The Jakarta Globe

n LAO PDR

Communal land titles could save more than forests. With pressure on natural resources increasing in Laos, the first community land titles granted to five villages in Vientiane Province could provide a national model for environmental protection while safeguarding the livelihoods of villagers. The communal land titles can give communities the right to access and harvest natural resources, and overcome land concessions to companies. The title deeds cover an area of 2,189 hectares of bamboo-producing forest. Government statistics note that non-timber forest products, such as bamboo, contribute about 40 percent of rural income. Giving ownership of more of the land to the villagers who earn their living from it could be critical to the government’s stated ambition of restoring forest cover to 65 percent of the country by 2015.  EC-FAO Food Security Programme

n MALAYSIA

Malaysia to restrict trade in big-eyed sugar gliders. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) announced that Malaysia will tighten controls on the trade in sugar gliders, a big-eyed gliding possum increasingly popular in the pet trade in Southeast Asia and the United States. Perhilitan will move to protect sugar gliders under Malaysia's Wildlife Conservation Act. Currently, sugar gliders are subject to quotas in Malaysia, but the 225 annual harvest limit appears to be grossly exceeded. mongabay

n MYANMAR

Environment law deterrents not strong enough: activists. Environmentalists warn that fines and jail terms specified in a new law designed to safeguard the country’s natural environment may not be strong enough to deter foreign and local businesses. While individuals who violate the law face a jail term of up to five years, fines range from just K100,000 to K2 million (about US$2500).  Though the Environmental Law was designed to deal with large projects implemented by local and foreign investors, the fine is minimal compared to the size of the investment. The Environmental Law contains 14 chapters that define the rights and responsibilities of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, environmental standards, environmental conservation, management in urban areas, conservation of natural and cultural resources, process for businesses to apply for permission to engage in an enterprise that has the potential to damage the environment, prohibitions, offences and punishments. Government officials responded that amendments to the law would be made based on the suggestions of environmental specialists and other experts. Myanmar Times

n PHILIPPINES

Endangered eagle hatched in Philippines. A Pinsker's hawk-eagle chick hatched at the Philippine Eagle Foundation wildlife center in the Philippines is the first example of the species to be born in captivity. The Pinsker's hawk-eagle, a genus of eagles found mainly in tropical Asia and in the Philippines, is considered endangered due to the loss of its natural habitat of subtropical lowland forest. Pinsker's hawk-eagles are slender-bodied, medium-sized birds with rounded wings, long feathered legs, barred wings and crests and are usually found in forest habitats.  UPI

n singapore

Singapore’s eye in the sky. One year in space, and Singapore's first locally designed and built satellite has not only captured images of Sumatra's forest fires and the Bangkok floods, but also had a few near misses with floating debris. Since May 2011, X-Sat, which hovers 800kilometers above ground, has taken and beamed back more than 1,000 satellite images from space to help researchers on the ground monitor the effects of environmental changes.  The National Environment Agency and environmental consultancy Sentinel Asia have benefited from X-Sat's images since the red-and-black photographs beamed by the satellite – with red denoting vegetation and black representing bodies of water – can be used to measure soil erosion, sea pollution and environmental changes within an area of 50 x 30km.

Wild Singapore

n THAILAND

Thailand wins three PATA Awards 2012. A community-based homestay project located in Sukhothai province was one of three Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) awards picked up by Thailand at the annual PATA conference held in Kuala Lumpur.  The “Ban Na Ton Chang Community” project won a PATA Gold Award in the Heritage category. The other two were the PATA Grand Award won by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for its environmental project, “7 Greens Concept” and another Gold Award won by the Organic Agriculture Project, Sukhothai Airport, in the Environment Ecotourism Category. Although the TAT and the Thai tourism industry often win awards for marketing campaigns, this is the first time that all PATA awards have been related to environmental and heritage projects and campaigns.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

n viet nam

Sea level rise threatens Mekong rice. With Vietnam’s fertile Mekong delta threatened by rising sea levels and saltwater ingress, the country’s future as a major rice exporter depends critically on research underway in the Philippines.  Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are working with Vietnamese counterparts to develop a new strain of rice that can withstand submergence for over two weeks and also resist salinity. A flood-tolerant variety, dubbed ‘scuba rice’, which has the submergence rice gene, already offers half the solution. The Mekong delta accounts for nearly 50 percent of the 42 million tons of unmilled rice produced in Vietnam – the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand – with three annual harvests.  In 2011, Vietnam exported a record seven million tons of rice, mainly to the Philippines and other Asian markets. IPS

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About ACB

The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is an intergovernmental regional centre of excellence that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the members of ASEAN, and with relevant governments and organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.  Protecting Southeast Asia’s rich but highly threatened web of life is its main goal.

Vision

Biodiversity is protected, conserved, managed and sustainably used, and its benefits are fairly and equitably shared for the social, economic and environmental well-being of ASEAN Member States.

Mission

ACB champions biodiversity conservation in the region and enhances its global standing as a center of excellence for biodiversity conservation.

Components

1.  Programme development and policy coordination

2. Human and institutional capacity development

3. Biodiversity information management

4. Public and leadership awareness of biodiversity values

5. Sustainable financing mechanism.

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Contact Us

Communication and Public Affairs

ACB Headquarters
3/F ERDB Building, Forestry Campus
College, Laguna 4031, Philippines

Tels: +6349-5362865
           +6349-5361044

Website:
www.aseanbiodiversity.org

General Inquiry:
contact.us@aseanbiodiversity.org

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