Working for a shared and sustainable future
International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated on May 22 every year, with the aim to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
For this year’s occasion, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced the slogan of ‘Building a Shared Future for All Life’, to highlight the importance of biodiversity for many sustainable development issues.
According to a CBD press statement, “Action oriented and fitting within the context of the ongoing United Nations (UN) Decade on Restoration, which highlights that biodiversity is the answer to several sustainable development challenges, the slogan conveys the message that biodiversity – from ecosystem-based approaches to climate and/or nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security and sustainable livelihoods – is the foundation upon which we can build back better.
“The slogan builds on the momentum generated in 2020 and 2021 in support of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, due to be adopted at part two of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) in Kunming, China, later this year.”
Meanwhile, in conjunction with International Day for Biological Diversity, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ADB) Dr Theresa Mundita S Lim in a statement noted the theme of ‘Building a shared future for all life’, and said, “At this point, the call has become clearer – we need to act fast, together, to build a more resilient future.
“And in this endeavour, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can all build back better.
“This year, we are bound to make history as we are set to finalise and eventually implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework: an ambitious plan composed of 21 targets and 10 milestones that will serve as a guide to transform and mend our broken relationship with nature,” said Dr Lim.
“The road to living in harmony with nature is never without bumps, but every step we will take, from this day forward, counts. Raising people’s awareness on today’s challenges is of paramount importance as all our efforts will be futile if the root causes are not known and identified.”
Dr Lim highlighted that as a regional centre of excellence for biodiversity mandated to facilitate cooperation in the region, the ACB supports the ASEAN member states by providing up-to-date biodiversity knowledge that can be used for informed and science-based decision- and policymaking.
The executive director added that the ACB is proud to introduce the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard, which is an online platform that presents trends and geographic differences in biodiversity data and indicators used worldwide in a visual format.
“Through this interactive and ergonomic platform, shareable biodiversity information relevant to ASEAN can be accessed easily with just a few clicks. In the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard, you will be able to view trends in the status of biodiversity in the ASEAN region through time.”
She shared that the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard is a collaboration between the ACB and non-profit organisation NatureServe, supported by the European Union (EU) through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN project, with technical inputs from regional experts convened through an Informal Advisory Group.
The regional dashboard, with support of the ACB and its partners, also builds on the ongoing efforts of the ASEAN member states to strengthen their respective national biodiversity information systems.
As is stated on the ASEAN Biodiversity Dashboard website, “The ASEAN member states have committed to taking coordinated and bold action to prevent species extinction across the region and in line with their commitments and participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other multilateral environmental agreements.
“These commitments call on ASEAN member states to take effective and informed action on biodiversity conservation driven by current and accessible data that supports forward-looking actions and allows for the evaluation of conservation efforts and tracking of targets.”
Dr Lim explained that the platform serves as a repository of biodiversity data and information from the ASEAN member states, underscoring the importance of comprehensive transboundary information and knowledge sharing among the ASEAN member states to better understand the status of the region’s biodiversity.
“We cannot protect and conserve what we do not know,” she said. “By having the means to measure and approximate the state and health of our ecosystems and species, we can develop concrete and more practical solutions and actions towards achieving not just our national targets, but contributing to regional and to a more ambitious global biodiversity targets.
“We are hopeful that with actions and policies formulated and backed up by science, building a better future for life is not an impossible feat – because we at ASEAN, ‘ACT: Address Challenges Together’ and recognise that we are part of the solution,” she added.