ACB, GIZ celebrate 14-year partnership for ASEAN biodiversity

MANILA, Philippines—Driven by a shared vision to conserve, sustainably manage, and equitably share benefits from biodiversity for the well-being of people in Southeast Asia, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Federal Government of Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH celebrated the success of their 14-year partnership through a three-day Closing Forum held from 19 to 21 March 2024.

With the theme, “From Vision to Action: Celebrating 14 years of cooperation for ASEAN Biodiversity”, the forum highlighted the gains from the longstanding cooperation between ACB and GIZ, which started in 2010 with the Biodiversity and Climate Change Project. This was followed by the Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection Project and the Institutional Strengthening of the Biodiversity Sector in ASEAN I and II.

From 2010 to 2024, the Federal Government of Germany has provided a total of EUR 18 million for the four projects, EUR 4 million of which was dedicated to the recently-concluded ISB II Project. The latest project significantly contributed to the regional institutional strengthening efforts at conserving natural resources by strengthening the organisational management of the ACB, the development of the Operations Manual of the ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) Programme, flagship programme of the ASEAN on protected area management, facilitating joint ASEAN positions in international environment agreements, and mainstreaming biodiversity in the development sector.

“With a more strengthened ACB, you can all be assured that we will sustain the gains of this project, and will continue to scale up regional efforts for sustainable development. In the last three years, the ACB has mobilised more than USD 24M (24,810,035.60) from various sources—development and dialogue partners, private sector and multilateral funding entities, to support current and future regional level biodiversity projects,” said Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, executive director of the ACB.

Such strategies borne out of this ACB-Germany cooperation translate into actions to effectively address climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, improve livelihoods, and engage stakeholders in various sectors through cross-pillar and multisectoral collaborations.

His Excellency Dr. Andreas Michael Pfaffernoschke, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Philippines, said in his welcome remarks, that in the ASEAN region, Germany is currently supporting bilateral projects on biodiversity in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, and regional projects together with the ASEAN Secretariat.

“In the Philippines alone, the German Government supports projects  on climate change and biodiversity conservation with over EUR 50 million  funding. Germany is committed to multilateral solutions to ensure the resilience of ecosystems and societies, and stability of the whole global order. Preserving biodiversity in ASEAN, therefore, is in all our global interest from economic, social, ecological, and moral perspectives,” His Excellency said in his speech at the ISB II Closing Forum.

“I believe that the coming days will not signal the end of a successful partnership but will only mark the beginning of more collaborative efforts for ASEAN biodiversity. Let this series of events allow us to reflect on how far we have achieved together, and explore how we can further scale up our cooperation for sustainability, building on the gains from this project’, said Dr. Lim.

Dr. Lim added that the ACB-GIZ partnership led to the now more robust and responsive organisational structure of the Centre, through ISB II’s support for its Comprehensive Institutional Review. Under our new structure, the ACB’s priority programme areas, namely, biodiversity conservation; knowledge management; capacity development; mainstreaming biodiversity; partnerships; communication, education, and public awareness; have been our primary approaches in meeting the new global biodiversity targets under the Biodiversity Plan and other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Ky-Anh Nguyen, Director of the Sustainable Development Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat, hopes the ACB-Germany partnership will continue to evolve and will build a broader list of partners from the government, private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders in ASEAN championing biodiversity conservation and addressing the multifaceted global challenges, including climate change.

“We at the ASEAN Secretariat, commit to steadfast support for the work of the ACB and its partners, such as the Government of Germany, and will continue to amplify the importance of well-balanced ecosystems and their proper management for sustainable economic development in the ASEAN region,” Mr. Nguyen said.


Prospective collaboration on business and biodiversity 

As part of the three-day ISB II Project Closing Forum, the ACB facilitated a multistakeholder planning workshop of the ASEAN Business and Biodiversity Initiative (ABBI), a pioneering effort of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and ACB to mainstream biodiversity and nature-based solutions in the strategic priorities of the business sector for a greener and more sustainable future for ASEAN.

In collaboration with the ASEAN-BAC Secretariat, the said workshop convened leading green business advocates and stakeholders of the ASEAN region to craft the future direction of the ASEAN Business and Biodiversity Initiative (ABBI)—the first of its kind as a pivotal regional platform for sustainable and nature-positive business practices.

Participants include representatives from the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN BAC, Malaysia Platform for Business and Biodiversity, Thailand Environment Institute, Business for Nature, Thailand’s Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (BEDO), Non-Timber Forest Products – Exchange Programme, and the Global Environment Centre, among others.


This workshop was part of the activities being facilitated by the ACB as Chair of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity (GPBB) from 2022-2024. GPBB links various initiatives and stakeholders to cooperate on common biodiversity projects and concerns into business operations, and connect ASEAN with the global business and biodiversity leaders on achieving the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.

The ABBI is a potential area of collaboration for prospective projects of the ACB and GIZ to integrate biodiversity in business plans and processes.

Launch of the new ACB website, knowledge products 

Part of the project accomplishments of the ISB II was enhancing the information-sharing capacity of the ACB to support the development of ASEAN positions in international agreements and dialogues as well as to provide more accurate scientific information to guide the ASEAN Member States in their policy formulation and decision-making on biodiversity conservation. This has led to valuable accomplishments such as the development of the ASEAN Multisector Biodiversity Mainstreaming Framework, which will chart the path for the region’s efforts towards integrating biodiversity considerations across sectors at all levels; mainstreaming action plans for the tourism, fisheries, and infrastructure sectors;  as well as e-learning modules on mainstreaming biodiversity in the agriculture sector, to name a few.

All of these milestones were put on visual display at a showcase on 21 March at the ACB Headquarters, marking the end of the three-day activities of the ISB II Project Closing.

Officials and staff from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, GIZ and the Federal Government of Germany, ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Member States, dialogue and development partners, with some Philippine media in a group shot at the closing ceremony of the ISB II Project.
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