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  • Southeast Asia Government Roundtable Discussion on Business and Biodiversity

    7 March 2024


    Distinguished guests,

    Participants from the ASEAN Member States and colleagues, good afternoon! 

    Let me start by expressing my sincere gratitude for your presence in this roundtable discussion on “Integrating the Role of Business and Finance in the Development and Implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.” 

    I commend Business for Nature led by CEO, Eva Zabey, and the Malaysia Platform for Business and Biodiversity (MPBB) with Mr. Syed Mohazri Syed Hazari, as Interim Chair, for taking the lead in gathering all of us here today. The triple planetary crisis—the interlinked issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution—intensifies the need for strategic and holistic actions involving various sectors at all levels. One of the major players acknowledged to play a valuable role in addressing biodiversity loss and advancing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KM GBF), in particular Targets 14, 15, and 18, among other targets, already mentioned earlier by Pallavi,  is the business sector.  

    As the current chair of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity (GPBB), the ACB has been able to assist the CBD Secretariat and represent the Partnership in various fora to share the business sector’s perspective on how it can be better engaged in contributing to biodiversity goals and objectives. At the Bern III Conference in January 2024, we participated as a representative of the GPBB—providing insights on biodiversity mainstreaming in the business sector,  during this global discussion on the synergies among multilateral environmental agreements or MEAs. 

    In the group facilitated by the ACB in Bern, on the role of business in MEA synergies, among the outcomes of our discussion included 1) the proposal for the creation of a business and biodiversity flotilla as platform to share updates on the subject; 2) and recognising the importance of capacity building and awareness-raising for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as integral part of a biodiversity-based value chain. The Bern III Meeting, as a whole,  acknowledged that indeed, businesses play a crucial role in meeting not only the KM GBF targets,  but targets across other MEAs, as well, such as under the UNFCCC, and those of the International Chemical Conventions (Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and Minamata Convention on Mercury), thus gaining multiple benefits and realising a number of global aspirations. 

    At the ASEAN regional level, engagement with the business sector on biodiversity has been made stronger with ACB’s partnership with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, when we launched the groundbreaking ASEAN Business and Biodiversity Initiative or ABBI, under the ASEAN Chairship of Indonesia last year, with the theme, “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’. This Initiative aims to support and strengthen the legacy programs of the ASEAN business sector by mainstreaming biodiversity in the program action plans, such as through the adoption of nature-based solutions to achieve net-zero emissions.

    The ABBI establishes a robust regional platform for the ASEAN business sectors or groups to share best practices and business models that are environment-friendly, encouraging more investments in nature and biodiversity. Moreover, its plan of action will promote science-based methods, while considering traditional knowledge in transitioning to a greener, bluer, and sustainable future for ASEAN, while creating a strong network of nature-positive business alliances among the AMS.  

    We expect that the outcomes of today’s roundtable discussion will be an excellent contribution to the ABBI planning workshop later this March, where the ACB and the ASEAN BAC Secretariat, will jointly convene key stakeholders of ABBI to frame the ABBI mission and consult on the draft joint work programme and activities.

    Concurrently, we, together with the CBD focal points in the ASEAN Member States, are also crafting the Regional Biodiversity Action Plan, where business and biodiversity will certainly be one of the important elements of the Plan. We therefore look forward to your active participation in the discussions, including by sharing your thoughts on impactful public and private partnerships and articulating how governments can incentivise nature-positive actions in the business sector. These conversations will be particularly relevant as we move towards the full implementation of the ABBI and sustain its gains as Lao PDR takes over the ASEAN Chairship this year, with the theme “ASEAN: Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience”. 

    Looking forward to a lively and productive discussion ahead. Thank you very much!

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    OPPORTUNITY: Finance Specialist

    POSITION TITLE: Finance Specialist
    DEPARTMENT: Programmes
    DURATION OF CONTRACT: One year (renewable)
    DUTY STATION: ACB Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

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