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Celebrating Ten Years of Cooperation on Biodiversity Conservation

Governments of the Philippines and ASEAN Member States have increasingly recognized biodiversity's extreme importance to human survival. National and local governments are taking individual steps to preserve flora, fauna, and other biological resources. With biodiversity knowing no boundaries, ASEAN Member States acknowledge that working together is crucial to addressing common problems.
In 1999, the need to establish an ASEAN institution to promote knowledge sharing about best practices and common efforts in the biodiversity sector had become apparent. It led to the first regional conservation initiative:  the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) Project, with funding from the European Union (EU).  The five-year project conducted researches on biodiversity and promoted biodiversity conservation collaboration among ASEAN Member States and with relevant EU institutions.
Before the end of the ARCBC Project, the ASEAN Member States agreed on the need for a permanent institution that will institutionalize the gains of the project and create a regional mechanism in response to the challenge of biodiversity loss. This promptly translated to the creation in 2005 of a regional institution of excellence – the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
This year, ACB is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its establishment. The Centre continues to strengthen the capacity of the Philippines and ASEAN Member States in reducing the loss of biodiversity, fulfilling their obligations to relevant multilateral environmental agreements, and promoting the sustainable use of biological resources.
Through a Host Country Agreement signed in 2009, the Philippines is home to the ACB Headquarters at the campus of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna.
Since its establishment, ACB has supported the Philippines and other ASEAN Member States through a variety of programs covering a range of biodiversity thematic areas of global and regional importance. For the past 10 years, ACB has contributed to the enhancement of policy cooperation on biodiversity across the ASEAN region; strengthened institutional capacity within the ASEAN on regional and global biodiversity issues; promoted biodiversity information management and sharing; and boosted public and leadership awareness of the values of biodiversity and the need for conservation and sustainable management.
"At the core of these accomplishments is our strong collaboration with the ten ASEAN Member States. We thank the Government of the Philippines, most especially the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Foreign Affairs, for supporting ACB. We thank the ACB Governing Board for providing us the much-needed policy guidance and the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity for giving us technical support. We also express our gratitude to our National Contact Points for their active participation in ensuring the success of ACB activities in their countries," Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, ACB executive director, said.
According to the ASEAN biodiversity chief, 2015 is expected to be another milestone year for ACB. "As we celebrate the 10th founding anniversary of the Centre, we will continue to build upon prior activities and lessons learned, while providing a long-term perspective for biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region," Atty. Oliva said.