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  • 2023 Biodiversity Science Forum & Ninth Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee

    Mr. Johannes Kerner, Counsellor for Economic Affairs at German Embassy Bangkok

    Esteemed members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, forum speakers, biodiversity custodians, members of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) Thailand,

    Experts, colleagues from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, participants, and guests,

    Good morning to all.

    We thank Thailand for allowing us again to have our venue here in the bustling city of Bangkok, a commercial district, yet also a showcase of cultural richness and diversity. 

    We also extend our gratitude to Germany, a development partner of the ASEAN on capacity-building and development cooperation, for its support to this very important forum. 

    With great pleasure and privilege, I extend a warm welcome to every one of you to the inaugural Biodiversity Science Forum organised by the ACB and its Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).  ACB’s SAC was established in 2008 to provide scientific guidance for the ACB Joint Research Initiatives (JRI) through the European Union (EU) support for the ACB for five years (2005-2010). The JRI was carried over to the Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP) implemented by ACB with support from Germany through the GIZ. The SAC, serving as the scientific panel, reviewed the proposals and project results of the BCCP to ensure that these initiatives generate mutual benefits to the AMS and the region. Its potential ,  however, has not yet been fully harnessed.

    At the 21st Meeting of the Governing Board of the ACB in Bangkok, Thailand in July of 2019, the SAC was reactivated and re-invented to become more responsive in addressing scientific information gaps relevant to the priority needs of the ASEAN Region. We  thank the valued members of the SAC, our guests, and the official representatives from the ASEAN Member States for finding the time to be here today. We hope to use this forum as a platform to strengthen the scientific knowledge base of experts within the ASEAN region, and foster a dynamic information-exchange in the field of science, among the best minds in the ASEAN Region to help guide our way forward towards a more informed, science-based decision making process on how to strike the balance between conserving our rich and diverse natural wealth and the rapidly increasing rate of economic recovery and growth in the region. 

    The ASEAN has a variety of ecosystems that serve as sources of food, livelihoods for communities, pharmaceuticals, and raw materials for industries,   as well as contribute to our  resilience against climate change impacts and disasters.  One of these precious ecosystems are our fascinating karsts and ultramafic habitats. Not only do they contribute to the region’s endemism, but these habitats also hold high significance in other fields such as in mining and geology, hydrology, and many more. 

    Today, we will go on a technical expedition of knowledge-sharing, scientific discourse and hopefully, eventual collaborations that would protect these very precious threatened ecosystems, in the face of expanding requirements for urbanisation and technological advancements. 

    Over the weekend I was pleased to have participated in the successful Sustainability Expo 2023 here in Bangkok, upon the invitation of C ASEAN. The Expo showcased sustainable practices and innovations of the public and the private sector, as well as international organisations. With the increasing awareness of the implications of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution on our socio-economic sustainability, there is a growing trend among the private sector to employ approaches that will reduce their environmental footprint. Science must have an important role in the planning and development of actions that will address these interlinked issues, also known as the triple planetary crisis. 

    I am personally anticipating positive outcomes out of this initial Biodiversity Science Forum back-to-back with the Ninth Annual SAC Meeting knowing that you, our very able and competent scientific advisers and partners, are taking the lead. The knowledge that will be shared in these events will serve as the keystone from which our regional plans and programmes will be refined towards the  sustainable use of our  rich natural capital, and the mainstreaming of biodiversity into the socio-economic development processes within the ASEAN region. 

    Thank you and I wish you all a fruitful meeting. Khop khun ka!

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