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Wanted: Biodiversity Champions

Laguna, Philippines — The search is on for youth organizations, corporations and media who have outstanding biodiversity conservation and advocacy initiatives in the ASEAN region. A regional awards program– the ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity–was recently launched by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) to recognize and honor exemplary biodiversity conservationists and advocates. ACB’s partners in this search are the ASEAN Foundation (AF), the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), the European Union (EU), GTZ, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity seeks to generate greater leadership, public and media awareness of the problems facing the region's rich but highly threatened biodiversity. Countries covered are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

Nominations are open for three categories: Most Outstanding Biodiversity Conservation Project by a Private Business/Corporation; Most Outstanding Biodiversity Conservation Project by a Youth Organization; and Most Outstanding Biodiversity Reportage by a Media Organization.

The nomination forms and details may be downloaded from www.aseanbiodiversity.org or www.aseanfoundation.org. Deadline for submission of nominations is on 28 February 2011.

"Through the awards, we will identify leaders among the corporate sector, media, and youth from which a group of champions will be selected to serve as Ambassadors of Goodwill for biodiversity," Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of ACB, said.

Winners will receive a cash prize of US$5,000 each, and will be recognized in an awarding ceremony and forum to be held in the Philippines on 22 May 2011 – the International Day for Biodiversity. "The winners will be featured as speakers during the forum. After the awarding ceremonies in 2011, regional and national winners will be given opportunities to speak before business, youth, and media leaders during ACB-sponsored workshops and conferences in ASEAN Member States. They will also be featured in the websites and relevant publications of the project sponsors," Mr. Fuentes said.

For more information on the ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity, e-mail champions@aseanbiodiversity.org.