Connecting Global Priorities | Borneo Online Newsletter

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Daniel Norjidi

Healthy and protected conservation areas can make valuable contributions not only to coping with the impacts of climate change, but also for well-being and healing, especially in the context of recovery from the COVID pandemic. -19.

This was underscored by the Executive Director of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), Dr. Theresa Mundita S Lim, in a message delivered during the opening ceremony of the seventh ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference. ASEAN (AHP7) held in Bogor, Indonesia on November 1.

The message was shared by CDA in a press release issued on One Health Day, marked November 3.

In the message, the CDA Executive Director noted that outlier storms are becoming more frequent. “Just last month, a super typhoon, with the international name ‘Noru’, hit the Philippines with strong winds and heavy rains. It is the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, bringing sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour accompanied by heavy rains affecting all of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.

“What was most interesting was what was captured by satellite – as soon as Typhoon Noru hit a protected area along the eastern coast of the Philippines – the Northern Sierra Madre National Park, including the southern part of the entire mountain range, the super typhoon has been seen to have weakened significantly.This is nature at work, a great example of how ecosystems can contribute to climate action.

Inlay Lake Wildlife Sanctuary – an ASEAN heritage park in Myanmar. PHOTO: ASEAN CENTER FOR BIODIVERSITY

Dr. Lim also pointed out that nature as a solution is being demonstrated across ASEAN. As an example, she noted that in Indonesia, the Raja Ampat Marine Conservation Area is a group of islands known for its megadiverse marine life, which is home to 75% of the world’s total coral species, while by having unique mangrove areas and by being a multitude of important seagrasses.

“It is this diversity of ecosystems – all coastal and marine habitats combined that would be most effective in moderating the impacts of high waves and better protecting coastal communities,” she said.

“In fact, the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area recently received the Blue Park Award from the Marine Conservation Institute during the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, along with Apo Natural Park. Reef in the Philippines. The Blue Park Award recognizes outstanding efforts in marine biodiversity conservation, and we couldn’t be prouder that ASEAN has two winners this year alone. We commend these conservation areas for their designation as thriving emblems of the remarkable marine biodiversity of the ASEAN region.

However, Dr Lim added that it is not only in the face of the worsening effects of climate change that healthy protected areas can make a valuable contribution. “Our ASEAN Heritage Parks also have their own stories to tell of how these protected areas across the region have contributed to wellness and healing, especially as we recover from the COVID pandemic. -19.”

The Executive Director recognized the opportunity to come together at the conference to share AHP stories and to discuss the valuable links between protected areas and healing.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our abilities to connect face-to-face, it has given us the opportunity to innovate and be creative in finding ways to communicate and act together to achieve a goal. common – to heal nature and to heal ourselves.

“That is why, as the world charts a course towards building a better normal, ASEAN has called for coordinated contributions as the ultimate goal towards a more inclusive and sustainable recovery, stressing the importance of promoting solutions based on nature to increase the resilience of the region”.

Dr. Lim went on to note that in November 2020, ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) or regional exit strategy from the COVID-19 health crisis which recognizes the use of nature-based solutions, referring to actions to conserve, restore and sustainably manage nature, including biodiversity as part of the region’s recovery path and building resilience against future pandemics.

“As part of our contribution to achieving the goals of the ACRF, we convene this conference – to give everyone a stake and a voice to demonstrate how nature – how biodiversity has and can help us meet the challenges such as new and emerging diseases, the increasing incidence of climate-related natural disasters and world hunger.

“Our home, the ASEAN region, despite occupying only 3% of the world’s total land area, is home to nearly one-fifth of all known plant and animal species in the world.

ASEAN’s rich biodiversity – from diverse species to forest, wetland, coastal and sea ecosystems – exemplifies the richness and uniqueness of our region’s natural heritage.

“We find ourselves immersed in this complex web of life in an innate way, without which our cultural heritage and our survival would not be possible. As the world recovers from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while dealing with the looming threats of continued biodiversity loss, intensifying effects of climate change, and possibilities for new pandemics, we are come to understand our broken relationship with nature.

Dr Lim said the conference theme, “Healing Nature and People,” emphasizes the value of ASEAN Heritage Parks and Protected and Conserved Areas as part of our community-based solution. nature to build a sustainable future for all.

She also said that the conference discussions were designed to highlight the strong connections that make nature make biodiversity all the more valuable for all – for human health and pandemic resilience.

“The wealth of biodiversity in protected and conserved areas, if managed effectively, can indeed be a game-changer and turn the tide against emerging diseases by acting as buffers to contain pathogens, and also as pools of natural genes that can be sources and inspiration for primary and adjunctive treatments of diseases.

The Executive Director said that as the global community prepares to finalize the new biodiversity agenda at COP15, ASEAN as a region brings with it hope for an ambitious yet realistic framework that can be used to guide their paths and measure their progress.

She added that it will also come at a good time as the ASEAN High-Level Task Force prepares to work on the region’s post-2025 vision.

Dr. Lim went on to stress that ACB, as the region’s response to biodiversity loss, stands ready to remain a reliable partner to support ASEAN’s determination to achieve global and regional biodiversity targets. .

According to the press release, ACB and Indonesia, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry-Directorate of Species Biodiversity Conservation and Genetics, organized the AHP7 in Bogor, in Indonesia, from October 31 to November 3, in line with the region’s efforts to adopt the One Health Approach, an integrated strategy to address public health issues, fostering increased cross-sectoral and cross-pillar cooperation on human health issues, environmental or ecosystem.

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