ASEAN, Amazon bloc sign MoU for cooperation

3 December 2021–The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) have inked an agreement that will enable them to work together on key areas of cooperation and exchange experiences, knowledge, and technologies on biodiversity conservation across the Amazon and ASEAN regions.

ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim and ACTO Secretary-General María Alexandra Moreira López led the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a virtual ceremony broadcast on social media on 3 December 2021.

Under the MoU, the two parties, which are subregional organisations working with countries to conserve large and biologically-rich ecosystems, will carry out collaborative initiatives on areas of mutual interest, such as ecosystem restoration, biodiversity mainstreaming, and resource mobilisation, as well as multi-country, transboundary biodiversity conservation governance.

The ACB and ACTO will also facilitate dialogues for the exchange of strategies, technologies, and experiences in developing policies, programmes, and projects to support the strengthening of biological diversity in the ASEAN and Amazon regions.

The Amazon is known as the world’s largest reservoir of biodiversity while the ASEAN hosts ecologically-important habitats and megadiverse countries.

ACTO is a socio-economic bloc in Latin America formed by the eight Amazonian countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The ASEAN, on the other hand, is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

“Partnership and cooperation are the backbone of our collective efforts, and are crucial, now and in the years to come,” Dr. Lim said in her remarks.

“This partnership brings together two subregional organisations that are mutually interested in multi-country approaches to conserve large and biologically rich ecosystems that are not only vital to their Member States, but are also considered globally important,” she added.

López said the rapprochement between ACTO and ASEAN will generate a series of shared and learned experiences, and produce technical and scientific information for decision-makers.

“(This cooperation will) develop greater capacities for the management of our biodiversity resources and joint undertakings of projects and programs,” she said.

She added that the first tasks to be undertaken by ACTO and ACB include efforts related to information systems on biodiversity.

“We, through the Amazon Regional Observatory, and you, through the ASEAN Clearing-House, hope to provide our systems with greater innovation and technology, with the generation of modern tools for public management, and with the valuable information that can be made available to the governments, of the countries and stakeholders for the conservation and better use of our biodiversity,” she said.

The livestream of the signing ceremony can be accessed here: on the ACB’s Facebook page.

Viet Nam