|Philippine President launches UN Decade on Biodiversity for Southeast Asia|
Montreal 30 May 2011— The President of the Philippines, Benigno S Aquino III, has launched the United Nations (UN) Decade on Biodiversity for Southeast Asia and has issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring a National Decade.
The event took place on 30 May 2011 at the
In support of the UN Decade, President Aquino’s proclamation of 2011-2020 as the National Decade on Biodiversity in the
As a further demonstration of his country’s commitment to the objectives of the Decade, the President declared "the strangler fig tree, known in the
“In declaring the Balete as a Heritage Tree, we will constantly be reminded of our obligations as citizens of this planet to protect, conserve and sustainably use our biodiversity resources," President Aquino said.
Prior to the Southeast Asia launch of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, President Aquino launched a National Greening Program which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in more than 1 million hectares of land across the
The ceremony followed the successful launch of the UN Decade for Asia and Pacific held in New Delhi, India on 23 May, as well as the national launch by the Republic of Korea, held in Sangjo on 20 May.
Recently, on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, the Philippines expanded the protection of 109 threatened species in about 400,000 hectares of conservation sites through the New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP). The project was made possible through the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Following his meeting with the President, Mr Djoghlaf stated, “Responding to the biodiversity challenges calls for the full engagement of all stakeholders without exception. Last week in
The Southeast Asia launch of the UN Decade on Biodiversity coincided with the week-long celebration in the Philippines of the International Day for Biological Diversity, on 22 May, and the awards ceremony for the ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity. The winners were HSBC in
Mr. Rodrigo Fuentes, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity said the launch of the UN Decade on Biodiversity in the
Regional launches for the UN Decade on Biodiversity are planned throughout the coming months. The Caribbean launch will take place in
“Last year as a contribution to the celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity, the Philippines was the sole country of the world to proclaim 2010 as their national year on biodiversity. Today the President of the Philippines, HEM Benigno S Aquino III has become the first leader of the world to proclaim 2011-2020 a national decade on biodiversity. I sincerely hope that many others leaders of the world will do the same" said Ahmed Djoghlaf.
Information on the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, including the logo, can be found on the official website at: www.cbd.int/2011-2020
President Benigno S. Aquino III declared 2011-2020 as the National Decade on Biodiversity in the Philippines as the country hosts the historic launching of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and International Year of Forests in Southeast Asia in Malacañang.
In his statement, the President called on everyone to act now in the preservation and protection of vulnerable species and habitats because the region is quickly losing a significant number of these endangered plants and animals due to deforestation, wildlife hunting, climate change, pollution and population. He also said that the government has begun several programs like the National Greening Program to sustain the balance of the country’s biodiversity. The administration will also continue to pursue regional conservation efforts, such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, the Greater Mekong Program, the Heart of Borneo Initiative and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Heritage Parks.
UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary and ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Executive Director Rodrigo Fuentes and Undersecretary Antonio Rodriguez called on President Aquino earlier to discuss the goals and targets of the said 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity.
Together with the some of the ambassadors in the ASEAN member countries, they also joined the President in the unveiling of the commemorative marker for the Malacañang Heritage Tree. The event is to demonstrate the commitment of the Philippines and ASEAN toward the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. The “balete” or strangler fig tree contributes immensely to biodiversity conservation as a great food source and habitat for birds, small mammals and other wildlife. It is considered a sacred tree by Filipinos and also believed to be resided by supernatural beings. Famously called as Mr. Brown, the heritage tree is over a century old and stands just outside the Palace entrance.
Notes for Editors
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in
The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity is an intergovernmental organization mandated to coordinate regional efforts of ASEAN Member States in conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity resources and ensuring access and benefit sharing of biodiversity resources in Southeast Asia. The Centre facilitates cooperation and coordination among the ASEAN Member States and with relevant national government, regional and international organizations, on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such biodiversity in the ASEAN region. For more information visit: www.aseanbiodiversity.org