ASEAN, Google Arts & Culture launch online exhibit on Southeast Asia’s natural and cultural heritage
ACB and Google Asia-Pacific formally launched their partnership at the side event of the ASEAN Business and Investment Week 2023 in Jakarta. (From left to right) Ms. Michaela Browning, Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Asia-Pacific; Ms. Clare Brooks, Program Manager, Global Lead for Sustainability at Google Arts & Culture; Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director of the ACB; Ms. Putri Alam, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy, Google Indonesia; and Mr. Ryan Rahardjo, Head of Public Affairs Southeast Asia and South Asia Frontiers, Google Asia Pacific.
While people are aware of the triple planetary crisis—pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss—biodiversity remains an abstract concept to many. In simple terms, biodiversity refers to all forms of life on Earth and their interactions. Biodiversity provides all basic needs to survive, such as food, shelter, clothing, medicines, and natural defense from diseases and extreme weather events. Despite its utmost importance, biodiversity loss is a problem that receives less attention and requires more public education.
Hence, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Southeast Asia’s response to biodiversity loss, is collaborating with Google Arts & Culture, to bring the region’s rich natural heritage and biodiversity on a global stage through an interactive virtual exhibition. The project called Southeast Asia: The World’s Habitat was launched during the side event called #ExploreASEAN: A Sanctuary for Biodiversity and Natural Wonders during the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum held on September 6 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia.
“Our online exhibition ‘Southeast Asia: The World’s Habitat’ is a testament that harnessing communication technology to boost our conservation efforts is a powerful tool in reaching our intended stakeholders in today’s fast-paced world,” said Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, executive director of the ACB as she opens the launch ceremony.
“Biodiversity is key to building a sustainable future for all. We hope this digital collection with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity will inspire more appreciation and awareness to protect these natural treasures. We are committed to making sustainable choices easier for everyone powered by technology and creative ideas. We look forward to more meaningful projects with partners across the region,” Clare Brooks, Program Manager at Google Arts & Culture.
People from around the world can now virtually explore the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) – the cream of the crop natural parks, protected areas, and nature reserves in the region that have exemplary wilderness and conservation values.
To date, there are 57 AHPs across the ASEAN region, with the two latest officially recognised parks being Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary and Phu Kradueng National Park, both in Thailand. These protected areas of high conservation importance help preserve a complete spectrum of representative ecosystems of the ASEAN region.