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ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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ASEAN CENTRE B IODIVERSITY www.aseanbiodiversity.org

Conserve Biodiversity, Save Humanity!

ASEAN Region’s Rich Biodiversity Despite occupying only three percent of the earth’s surface, the ASEAN region hosts 20 percent of all known species that live deep in the region’s mountains, jungles, rivers, lakes and seas. The region includes three mega-diverse states (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines); several bio-geographical units (e.g., Malesia, Wallacea, Sundaland, Indo-Burma and the Central Indo-Pacific); and numerous centers of concentration of restricted-range bird, plant and insect species. ASEAN has one-third, translating to 284,000 square kilometers, of all coral reefs, which are among the most diverse in the world. Common land and water borders have allowed the ASEAN states to share many species that are biologically diverse from the rest of the world. All these make the ASEAN region significant to global diversity.

The Threat The region’s rich biodiversity is heavily under threat. Out of 64,800 known species, two percent or 1,312 are endangered. Seven of the world’s 34 recognized biodiversity hotspots are in the ASEAN region. If the rate of deforestation continues, the region will lose up to three-fourths of its forests, and up to 42 percent of its biodiversity by 2100. Some 80 percent of coral reefs are at risk due to destructive fishing practices and coral bleaching. Forest conversion, forest fires, shifting cultivation, large-scale mining, wildlife hunting and trading, population growth and poverty, climate change, and lack of conservation resources greatly contribute to biodiversity loss. Biodiversity loss could trigger enormous effects on food security, health, shelter,

medicine, and aesthetic and other life-sustaining resources. Without a concerted effort to protect and conserve biodiversity, the ASEAN region’s 567 million people and the entire human race would be in danger.

ASEAN’s Response: ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity As an intergovernmental regional organization, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) facilitates cooperation and coordination among the members states of ASEAN, and with relevant national governments, regional and international organizations, on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity guided by fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such biodiversity in the ASEAN region. ACB aims to contribute to the reduction of the current rate of loss of biological diversity by enhancing regional cooperation, capacitating stakeholders, promoting awareness for biodiversity conservation, and maintaining the regional biodiversity database. To contribute to the achievement of socially responsible access, equitable sharing, use and conservation of natural ecosystems and the biodiversity these contain, ACB builds strategic networks and partnerships geared to mobilize resources towards optimally augmenting effective programmes on biodiversity conservation.

Contact Us

ACB Headquarters

3F ERDB Bldg., Forestry Campus

College, Laguna 4031,Philippines Tel/fax: +632.534-4247, +6349.536-2865 Website: www.aseanbiodiversity.org General Inquiry: contact.us@aseanbiodiversity.org

Message from the Executive Director ACB is now a full-fledged International Organization

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ASEAN Biodiversity Expert is 2009 Outstanding Filipino Forester

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Global Conservation News

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Special Reports MEAs: Why the Need for Harmonised Reporting? ASEAN Action on MEAs

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Global Harmonisation of National Reporting to Biodiversity-Related Conventions

TINA MARIE C. DE LEON Filipino amateur photographer This photo with the caption “A little boy with his newborn pet bird” was among the finalists in the amateur category of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity’s ASEAN-wide photo contest “Zooming in on Biodiversity.”

Vol. 8, No. 2 „ May - August 2009

Inside

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Issue-Based Modules for the Implementation of MEAs

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The Ramsar Convention: Issues and Progress in Harmonisation of Reporting

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Indonesia: Using the Modular Approach

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Thailand: Experiences in Harmonisation of Reports to MEAs

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Lao PDR: Case Study on Orchid Exports

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The Development of a Consolidated Reporting Template by Pacific Island Countries

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Profiles Indonesia Ujung Kulon National Park

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Thailand Thungyai - Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries Viet Nam Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park

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Photos by Rolly Inciong

ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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Bookmarks The Intricacies of Sharing the Benefits of Nature’s Resources

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The very first MAD (Mangyan, Aeta, Dumagat) Tribal Games: Wisdom from the Wild

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ACB and PEMSEA to Promote Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation in Southeast Asia

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SEA’s Protected Area Execs Enhance Skills in Conservation and Management

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TV Maria Airs Videos on Biodiversity

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ASEAN to Strengthen Sharing of Biodiversity Information

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ACB joins ASEAN Day Celebration

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Philippine Science Fair Highlights Water and Biodiversity for Human Survival 67 ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

2009 CSR Links Business and Biodiversity

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ASEAN Workshop Promotes Biodiversity Conservation in Business

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Uniting with the World to Combat Climate Change

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ASEAN Workshop Promotes Payment for Ecosystem Services as Tool to Boost Economy and Reduce Poverty

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Forest Management Bureau Hosts ASEAN Social Forestry Network Meeting

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Lao PDR Tracks Progress in Reducing Biodiversity Loss

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IBD 2009 Highlights Invasive Alien Species ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Celebrates the International Day for Biodiversity 2009

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UPLB and Los Banos Youth Leaders Hold Forum on Biodiversity

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ACB, France and Japan Boost Southeast Asia’s Taxonomic Capacity

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ASEAN Countries Participate in the 2009 World Ocean Conference

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ACB and UNESCO-Jakarta Partner to Popularize Biodiversity Conservation

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Surfing the Web of Life

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ABOUT THE COVER. When countries become members of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), they show their commitment to environmental protection and the future of humanity. MEAs can provide more data, better cooperation among stakeholders, and increase efforts to combat environmental issues such as climate change, loss of key species, and destruction of habitats. These agreements thus provide a better picture of the status of global biodiversity, set directions to protect the environment, and ensure a better quality of life for our children.

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MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

Editor-in-Chief Monina T. Uriarte, PhD Managing Editor Bridget P. Botengan Creative Artist Nanie S. Gonzales Writer-Researcher Sahlee Bugna-Barrer EDITORIAL BOARD Rodrigo U. Fuentes Executive Director Clarissa C. Arida Director, Programme Development and Implementation Rolando A. Inciong Head, Public Affairs

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Headquarters 3F ERDB Bldg. Forestry Campus University of the Philippines-Los Baños College, Laguna, Philippines Telefax: +632.584-4247; +6349.536-2865 E-mail: contact.us@aseanbiodiversity.org Website: www.aseanbiodiversity.org ACB Annex Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City 1156 Philippines Printed by: VJ Graphic Arts No. of Copies: 2,000 Disclaimer: Views or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent any official view of the European Union nor the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat. The authors are responsible for any data or information presented in their articles. Letters, articles, suggestions and photos are welcome and should be addressed to: The Editor-in-Chief ASEAN Biodiversity ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity College, Laguna E-mail: mturiarte@aseanbiodiversity.org sbbarrer@aseanbiodiversity.org

ACB is now a full-fledged int’l organization

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stablished in 2005 by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and with support from the European Union (EU), the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity) ACB is regarded as the first regional initiative to save the ASEAN region’s critically threatened biodiversity. It is a regional intergovernmental organization that works with partners to study and advocate, use and save biodiversity. The Centre promotes biodiversity conservation through policy and program development, capacity building, information management and sharing, and public advocacy. The Establishment Agreement of the Centre, however, requires the ratification of majority of the ASEAN Member States for the organization to become a full-fledged international organization. This came into fruition when U Nyan Win, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Myanmar signed the instrument of ratification on 08 July 2009. Following Brunei Darussalam, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Singapore, and Viet Nam, Myanmar is the sixth ASEAN Member State to ratify the agreement. The ACB Establishment Agreement embodies the commitment of ASEAN Member States in establishing ACB as a regional centre that facilitates cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States and with relevant organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of Southeast Asia’s rich but highly threatened biodiversity.

The ratification augurs well for the peoples of ASEAN who depend on biodiversity for food, medicine, livelihood, and shelter. With ACB’s new status as an international organization, we can sustain our efforts in assisting ASEAN Member States in preventing the loss of known animal, plant and marine species that are critical to sustainable food production, health, and livelihood. ACB will be able to mobilize more resources and forge more partnerships that will result in more services to ASEAN Member States. The ratification will further strengthen the momentum gained by ASEAN Member States, the European Union and ACB in working together to build ASEAN Member States’ capability to meet their obligations to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and increase Southeast Asia’s significant role in reducing biodiversity loss by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. We thank Myanmar and all those who ratified the Establishment Agreement. We also look forward to the ratification by Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand this year which will greatly contribute to the One ASEAN, One Community Vision. Rodrigo U. Fuentes Executive Director ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR!

ASEAN Biodiversity Expert is 2009 Outstanding Filipino Forester

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odrigo U. Fuentes, ACB Executive Director, was chosen 2009 Outstanding Professional in the field of Forestry by the Philippines Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The forester and biodiversity expert received the Outstanding Professional Forester Award on 19 June 2009 during the PRC Awards Night after showing exemplary performance in his field. The award is the highest honor bestowed by PRC upon a professional as recommended by peers and colleagues for having ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes (center), Outstanding Forester 2009, with officials amply demonstrated and guests of the Professional Regulation Commission. professional competence of the highest degree. PRC also recognized Fuentes for contributing significantly to UNCCD and the Regional Action Program for the the advancement of the profession. Asian region. Fuentes has been specifically working in the field of Prior to his appointment at ACB, Fuentes environment and natural resources in the past 28 years was engaged by the United Nations Development notably as consultant and technical advisor to various Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines to undertake an intergovernmental and multilateral organizations such independent and thorough assessment and review of the as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asian UNDP Country Program Action Plan (CPAP) on the Development Bank, United Nations agencies, and Environment and Energy Portfolios, within the ambit of World Bank. the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). A sustainable development and urban and He also served as advisor to the Secretariat of the regional planning expert, Fuentes also specializes UNCCD in Geneva, Switzerland, where he established in environmental program design and project the regional network and prepared the regional action development, policy and institutional assessment, plan for developing and pursuing subsequent work in policy and institutional assessment, environmental implementing the commitment of Asian countries to the monitoring and assessment, and capacity development UNCCD. His expertise was also sought by the Overseas in environmental management and sustainable Economic Cooperation Fund’s (OECF) Environmental development. Infrastructure Support Credit Program (EISCP), and by His previous undertakings at the regional and the Asian Development Bank. sub-regional levels included assisting governments to Before getting into the regional and international comply with their commitments to global agreements arena, Fuentes was with the Philippines’ Department of such as the implementations of Agenda 21 and UN Environment and Natural Resources, which he served Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), for 14 years, and became the National Director (1991UN Framework Convention for Climate Change 1994) of the Environmental Management Bureau. (UNFCCC), and Convention on Biological Diversity Fuentes holds a B.S. Forestry degree and a masteral (CBD). He is also credited for developing the degree in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the Regional Framework program for implementing the University of the Philippines.

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MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

GLOBAL CONSERVATION NEWS Wood-pigeon, Slender-billed Curlew, Sulu Bleeding-heart, and White-eyed River-martin. – mongabay.com

The Komodo dragon is endemic to a small number of Indonesian islands. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Gold mining threatens the Komodo dragon August 24 – Critics contend that the proposed development of eight gold mines around Komodo National Park threatens the ecology of the park and the species within. The park is home to the Komodo dragon and the Timor deer, both listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Created in 1980 over several islands, the park contains half of the world’s Komodo dragons: 2,500 individuals. Many also believe that the mines will damage tourism. Komodo National Park brings annual revenues of US$7 million. Mining activities near the park will only ruin the park’s image and diminish the government’s revenue. – mongabay.com

Birders asked to look for extinct species August 24 – Birdlife International has called on birders around the world to keep an eye out for birds classified as extinct. It wants to confirm whether or not 47 species of birds have actually disappeared from the face of the earth. Since 1600, 133 bird species have gone extinct, but, Birdlife International is focusing on 47 species that may still exist. Birdlife is asking birders to look for specific species in specific regions. In Asia, these species are Banggai Crow, Bluefronted Lorikeet, Crested Shelduck, Himalayan Quail, Javan Lapwing; Negros Fruitdove, Pink-headed Duck, Rueck’s Blue-flycatcher, Siau Scops-owl, Silvery

20,000 orangutans killed or poached in 10 years without a single prosecution August 24 – The Indonesian Chainsaw Massacre, a report published by Nature Alert and the Centre for Orangutan Protection, states that at least 20,000 orangutans have been killed or captured for the illegal pet trade in the past 10 years in Indonesia without a single prosecution. The report urges the Indonesian government to enforce existing laws designed to protect endangered species; immediately stop issuing new permits, and cancel existing permits for logging and plantation concessions in forests that contain orangutans; and ban new roads that bisect orangutan habitat. – mongabay.com

50 Philippine crocodiles released into the wild August 18 – Fifty critically endangered Philippine crocodiles have been released into Dicatian Lake, Isabela Province on Luzon Island. Ten crocodiles were fitted with radio transmitters, so their movements can be monitored by the Mabuwaya Foundation, an NGO devoted to saving the crocodile, and the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The groups hope to gather information that will be helpful in future reintroductions of the crocodile. Dicatian Lake was chosen as a reintroduction site since it

rests within the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, one of the Philippines’ most important parks. Nearby communities are supportive of the reintroduction and are working to develop a community-based ecotourism project with the Mabuwaya Foundation. – mongabay.com

Rat-eating plant discovered in Philippines August 17 – A carnivorous pitcher plant that eats rats and insects has been discovered in the Philippines and named Nepenthes attenboroughii after wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. The plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is believed to be the largest meat-eating shrub, dissolving rats with acid-like enzymes. The team of botanists, led by British experts Stewart McPherson and Alastair Robinson, found the plant on Mount Victoria in the municipality of Narra, Palawan, Philippines. The team published details of their discovery in the Botanical Journal of Linnean Society following a three-year study of all 120 species of pitcher plant. The Philippines is home to 17 Nepenthes species, 16 of which are endemic. Other discoveries were made during the expedition, including a new species of sundew, strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms, as

well as another pitcher plant Nepenthes deaniana, which is said to have not been visible in the wild for a hundred years. – abs-cbnNEWS.com

Palawan’s highest peak now a protected area August 15 – Mt. Mantalingahan, towering over Palawan, Philippines at 6,800 feet above sea level, has been officially declared as a protected site. The 120,457hectare Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape is a key biodiversity area. A survey by Conservation International (CI) has recorded about 861 plant species in the area, including eight that were “previously undescribed by scientists” and five newly discovered ones in the province. CI also counted 169 species of vertebrates, 26 of which are in varying stages of threat or near-extinction, and 90 bird species, making it one of 11 important bird sanctuaries in Palawan. – GMANews.TV

Nearly half of Sabah is protected forest August 3 – Nearly half of Sabah’s 7.6 million-hectare land area is now under permanent forest cover following amendments to a state law that has seen the creation of 12 new forest reserves. About 3.6 million ha are now preserved as forests, thus exceeding the national forestry policy requiring states to preserve 47 percent of their land under forest cover. – the star online

Hope of freedom for orangutans dashed

Rat-eating pitcher plant. Photo by Stewart McPherson

July 27 – A program by the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to release orangutans into the forests of Kalimantan suffered a blow when the mining company BHP Hilton announced its withdrawal from Indonesia. BHP Hilton had been supporting ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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GLOBAL CONSERVATION NEWS

Conservationist Lone Dröscher Nielsen interacts with a baby orangutan. Photo by AP

the rehabilitation centre by airlifting and releasing endangered orangutans into forests that were concessions of the mining company. 650 orangutans are currently housed in the rehabilitation center and 48 were set to be released into the wild. A plan for BHP to create a 250,000-hectare wildlife reserve in central Borneo that could have sited 1,000 orangutans is now unlikely. Some conservationists fear that orangutans could be wiped out in the wild in little more than a decade due to the destruction of their habitat for logging, mining and palm oil plantations. – The Independent

World’s biggest cave found in Viet Nam July 24 – Measuring 262-by262 feet in most places, the Son Doong cave in Phong Nha-Ke National Park in Viet Nam beats the previous world-record holder, Deer Cave in the Malaysian section of the island of Borneo. Explorers walked 4.5 kms into the cave before being blocked by seasonal floodwaters and the passage may be even

Photo by BARM/Fame Pictures

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longer. Its largest passageway has been measured at 460 by 460 ft. The cave features an underground river, poisonous centipedes, and monkeys that enter the cave through various skylights. A more extensive survey will be done in 2010. – National Geographic

World’s 1st commission on ecosystem loss launched July 21 – The International Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems was set up by the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) with financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Untied National Environment Programme (UNEP). The aim of the commission is to propose public policy frameworks that will build on the increased understanding of the economic value of the world’s natural capital. The commission was launched in Nairobi, Kenya, where the commission discussed policy instruments that can place an economic valuation on ecosystem services, such as generating rainfall, preventing flooding, regulating the soil, storing carbon, and providing clean air and clear water. Other measures included the creation of a Global Network of Marine Protected Areas, a globally consistent ban on the trade in illegal timber and a payment mechanism to ensure that forests are protected. – China.org.cn

Malaysia’s rainforests being replaced with plantations of clones July 20 – Rainforests once managed for selective logging in Malaysia are now being replaced with latex-timber clones—rubber trees that yield latex and can be harvested for timber. Up to 80 percent of Malaysia’s remaining forest cover could be at risk. Permanent forest reserves are forest

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

areas that have been set aside for selective logging under sustainable forest management. They account for 82 percent of Malaysia’s remaining forest cover. The development has been facilitated by a system which classifies single-species monocultures as forests. The replacement of natural forests with plantations has significant ecological implications. Plantations house fewer plant and animals species and generally store less carbon than natural forests. Clear-cutting also results in soil erosion and increases the risk of fire. – mongabay.com

Malayan pangolin. Photo by Bjorn

ecological service and save governments millions of dollars a year in pest destruction as natural controllers of termites and ants. – mongabay.com

G8 pledges US$20 billion for agriculture July 11 – G8 leaders meeting in Italy unveiled a plan to commit US$20 billion of funding to the development of agriculture to tackle persistent food shortages in developing countries. The initiative will also help developing countries develop scientific research in agriculture; foster international collaborations and improve the dissemination of research. By linking the efforts of partners and stakeholders around the world, the leaders agreed to design and implement a food security strategy whose core principles will be country ownership and effective management. – SciDev.net

Olesen and © 2009 TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

Pangolins threatened by illegal trade for traditional Chinese medicine July 14 – Due to poaching for use in traditional Chinese medicine, Asian pangolin populations are rapidly declining and are nearly wiped out in Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao PDR. Though the species has been protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 2002, slowing international trade in pangolin will require better enforcement of existing national and international laws, better monitoring of the illegal trade, and basic research to find where viable pangolin populations still exist and whether ravaged populations can recover. Pangolins provide a major

Wildlife Healthcare & Research Centre

New conservation fund to protect Singapore’s endangered species July 10 – Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) has set aside S$1 million to protect and save Singapore’s native endangered species. The fund will concentrate on native animal conservation efforts and the issue of climate change. The first recipient is the National University of Singapore’s (NUS’) Ah Meng Memorial Conservation Fund, which will receive S$500,000 over five years. This will support the

GLOBAL CONSERVATION NEWS academic research and study of endangered native wildlife undertaken by students and faculty members of NUS. The first NUS project will focus on a detailed study of the ecology of the banded leaf monkey. More information is available at www.wrscf.org.sg. – Channelnewsasia

Photo by PA

More animals than ever in danger of becoming extinct July 2 – The extinction crisis facing the world’s wildlife could be even worse than previously thought with more than 44,000 species under threat. The Wolrd Conservation Union (IUCN) of Nature reports that there are currently 44,838 species on the IUCN Red List considered under threat – the greatest figure ever recorded. Of those, 16,928 species are in danger of going extinct. Considering that only 2.7 percent of the world’s 1.8 million known species have been analysed, conservationists say this is a gross underestimate. Nearly one third of amphibians and coral, more than one in eight birds and nearly a quarter of mammals are threatened with extinction. For some plant groups, the situation is even more serious with 28 percent of conifers in danger of dying out. The situation is expected to get worse as a result of climate change. Since records began, more than 1,000 species have gone extinct including the dodo and passenger pigeon and more recently species like the golden toad. - telegraph.co.uk

Forest clearings leave orphaned orangutans June 25 – As Borneo’s rain forests are razed for oil palm plantations, wildlife centers are taking in more and more orphaned orangutans. Orangutans at the Nyaru Menteng Center run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) are mainly “oil palm orphans” whose forest habitats were destroyed, and parents killed, by the swiftly spreading oil palm industry in Indonesia. BOS hopes to eventually release all of these orangutans back into their natural habitat, but increasing deforestation mean that many orangutans will remain in captivity. Two thousand orangutans are currently in the rehabilitation system. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest producers of palm oil, accounting for more than 85 percent of global output. – Yale Environment 360

Orphaned orangutans at the Nyaru Menteng rehabilitation center in the Borneo. Photo by Rhett Butler/ mongabay.com

Timor seeks help to protect whale, dolphin hotspot June 25 – The government of East Timor says it plans to establish a national park to protect a bounty of dolphins and whales. East Timor is one of a few places in the world with an exceptional diversity and abundance of large sea mammals due to its unusual geography and years of relative isolation. Researchers have spotted endangered blue whales, sperm whales and sei whales, as well as spinner and spotted dolphins along the island’s northern and southern

coasts. This prompted vows from the Timorese leadership to declare the area a protected national park and develop it for ecotourism. – Associated Press

New online tool for conservation June 20 – The Zoological Society of London has developed a National Red List website that currently holds over 50,000 species from 40 countries and regions. It highlights that some of the world’s most biodiverse countries, such as Indonesia and Madagascar, lack National Red Lists and are in dire need of conservation investment. This is the first time that National Red Lists have been centralised, and is a powerful complementary information source to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The website will also allow people to track the success of their nation in meeting the targets set by the Convention on Biological diversity to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010. – Red Orbit

Borneo project to yield lessons on saving forests June 18 – Conservation groups are currently helping Australia and Indonesia develop the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) which aims to preserve and rehabilitate 100,000 hectares of carbon-rich peat land in Central Kalimantan. Half the area has been cleared and half is still forested but under threat unless alternative livelihoods are found for the 20,000 people living in and around the project area. Australia has pledged A$30 million to fund the project until 2012. Tropical rainforests and particularly peatland forests, soak up vast amounts of carbon-dioxide, locking away carbon in the

wood and soil. Peat forests can release more than 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare when drained and burned, as well as large amounts of methane, a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. The program is one of the first large-scale demonstration projects under the UN forest carbon scheme called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), which aims to use carbon credits from saving forests to reward developing nations. KFCP aims to tackle the causes of deforestation, such as subsistence farming, logging or other uses of the forests, and focus on economic development opportunities to address them. – Reuters

Biofuel does well in flight test June 17 – Continental Airlines said a blend of biologically derived fuel and jet fuel performed slightly better than jet fuel alone during a test flight. Continental estimates greenhouse gas emissions were cut at least 60 percent by using the blend. Airlines have been exploring alternative fuel sources for years in an effort to counter volatile fuel prices. Jet fuel rivals labor as the top cost at most major airlines. The biofuel blend consisted of oil derived from algae and jatropha plants. – Reuters

Mekong dolphins on the brink of extinction June 18 – The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) population inhabits a 190-km stretch of the Mekong River between Cambodia and Lao PDR. Since 2003, the population has suffered 88 deaths of which over 60 percent were calves under two weeks old. The latest population is estimated between 64 and 76 members. Necropsy analysis identified a bacterial disease ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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GLOBAL CONSERVATION NEWS

Irrawaddy dolphins at Koh Kon Sat, Mekong River, Cambodia. Photo by David Dove / WWF Greater Mekong

as the cause of the calf deaths. This disease would not be fatal unless the dolphin’s immune systems were suppressed by environmental contaminants. In these cases, researchers found toxic levels of pesticides such as DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and high levels of mercury were found in some of the dead dolphins. A transboundary preventative health programme is urgently needed to manage the disease affected animals in order to reduce the number of deaths each year. The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin has been on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2004. – WWF

Echidna

First study on rare egg laying mammals June 10 – A study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, chronicles the behaviors of the long-beaked echidna (also called the spiny anteater), the first mammal to lay eggs. The long-beaked echidna is widespread in the montane forests of New Guinea and finds refuge in hollow logs, root or rack cavities, and burrows. The long-beaked echidna population has greatly declined largely due to hunting, since it is a highly prized game animal. Limited

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information on the longbeaked echidna’s biology, feeding behavior and ecology has prevented conservationists from formulating plans for its protection. Echidnas are members of the monotremes, an order of mammals that lay leathery eggs. They are more reptile-like than other mammals. Echidnas lay a single egg, which the female holds in a sticky pouch. The hatchling resides in the pouch for between 40-50 days and receives milk from two mammary patches. Once the hatchling develops spines, the mother digs a nursery, which she returns to every five days to nurse the hatchling. The baby is weaned in seven months. – ENN

Forest conservation in Indonesia could be as profitable as palm oil plantations June 5 – A study in the journal Conservation Letters found that selling credits for the billions of tons of carbon that are locked in Indonesia’s tropical rain forests could be quite profitable. It also found that conserving the 3.3 million hectares that are slated to become plantations on Kalimantan on the island of Borneo would boost the region’s biodiversity. The 800 proposed plantations that were studied contain 40 of the region’s 46 threatened mammals including orangutans and pygmy elephants. The study concluded that conserving forests would be more profitable than clearing them for palm oil if the credits could be sold for $10 to $33 per ton. Currently, the rate per ton is around $20. – ENN

Degraded ecosystems can recover in less than a lifetime May 31 – A study by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies rebuts a common assumption

Deforestation in Borneo. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

that ecosystem recovery take centuries. Researchers analyzed 240 independent studies that explored the recovery of degraded ecosystems due both to human-caused disturbances and natural disasters. In the study published in PLoS ONE, the researchers found that on average forests recover in 42 years, while ocean bottoms recover in less than a decade. Ecosystems that suffered from a variety of disturbances took on average 56 years, while those recovering from mining, invasive species, oil spill, and trawling recovered on average in five years. These recoveries may not mean the ecosystem returned to a truly natural state and many of the ecosystems had likely already experienced largescale changes such as loss in biodiversity, loss in water and air quality, and climatic changes. The message however is that if societies choose to become sustainable, ecosystems will recover. – mongabay.com

The Spanish Lynx has become trapped in increasingly arid pockets of the Iberian peninsula. Photo by EPA

Rare animals to be moved from native habitats because of climate change May 25 – Conservationists fear that rapid climate

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

change could see animals and plants “trapped” in homes that become too hot or dry, raising the possibility of extinction. Some scientists have developed a plan that is partly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which involves moving species into more accommodating habitats. Species that could be saved by assisted migration include the Spanish lynx, which has become trapped in increasingly arid pockets of the Iberian peninsula, while certain species of butterflies and corals have been previously identified as good candidates. Rare fish trapped in lakes could also be moved to cooler waters. – telegraph. co.uk

“Alien” pests wreak vast economic damage May 21 – The United Nations noted that many governments are ignoring invasive alien species (IAS) such as weeds or rats but these cause $1.4 trillion in damages a year to the world economy. The cost is split between losses from introduced pests in crops, pastures and forests and other environmental damage. IAS spread from one continent to another via the global agricultural, horticultural and pet trades or by hitch-hiking lifts in ballast water and on ship’s hulls. The UN stressed that too many countries have failed to grasp the threat of IAS to global biodiversity, and praised countries such as South Africa for eradication programs or New Zealand for imposing tough customs controls. – Reuters

Logging threatens orangutans, tigers, elephants May 19 – Five conservation groups warned that a logging operation by Asia’s biggest pulp producer in Indonesia’s Sumatra island threatens the habitat of rare orangutans,

GLOBAL CONSERVATION NEWS The Kutai National Park has been changing into a city, complete with an airport, gas stations, marketplace, towers, and a bus terminal. Only time can tell if orangutans can survive in the area. The population of orangutans in Borneo is uncertain, but most scientists estimate there are fewer than 50,000 individuals. – mongabay.com

Sumatran Tiger

tigers and elephants. A license has been given to a joint venture between Asia Pulp & Paper and the Sinar Mas Group to clear 50,000 hectares of forest near the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi to supply a nearby pulp mill. The forests are home to around 100 orangutans that have been successfully reintroduced into the wild, 100-400 critically endangered Sumatran tigers, and up to 60 endangered Sumatran elephants. The green groups - the Sumatran Tiger Conservation and Protection Foundation, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Zoological Society of London, WWF-Indonesia and WARSI - have sent a letter to the Ministry of Forestry asking it to protect the area. – Reuters

Orangutan population in Borneo park plunges 90% in 5 years May 16 – The population of orangutans in Indonesia’s Kutai National Park has plunged by 90 percent in the past five years due to large-scale deforestation promoted by local authorities, reports the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP). The population of morio orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus morio) declined from 600 in 2004 to 30-60 this year. COP attributes the drop to state-sponsored colonization of the Kutai, which has led to hunting and forest clearing.

More bird species facing extinction May 14 – An update of the IUCN Red List indicates that 12 percent or 1,227 bird species worldwide are facing extinction, with 24 more threatened now than in 2008. This includes two bird species - the Gorgeted Puffleg and the Sidamo Lark - which have been added to a list of critically endangered birds, bringing the total in this group to 192. The Gorgeted Puffleg, a type of hummingbird, was recently discovered in Colombia, but its 1,200 hectares of habitat is shrinking annually by eight percent as they are being turned into cocoa plantations. The Sidamo Lark from Ethiopia faces the danger of becoming Africa’s first extinct bird species as pastures are overgrazed. The rising number of critically endangered birds on the IUCN Red List is worrisome given the number of successful conservation initiatives around the world. – Agence France-Presse

A critically endangered Antilophia bokermanni, a bird from the Manakin family. Photo by AFP

WWF warns vast coral reef in Southeast Asia may disappear by end of the century May 13 – Pollution, overfishing and climate change are destroying the area known as the Coral Triangle, which covers an area about half the size of the United States and is home to more than 30 percent of the world’s corals and more than 35 percent of coralreef fish – around 3,000 species. The Coral Triangle spans Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste and covers around 18,500 islands rich in mountain forests and woodlands. The escalation of modern practices, such as deforestation, coastal reclamation, destructive fishing and the pumping of pollution and sewage into sea, over the last 40 years have already destroyed about 40 percent of coral reefs and mangroves in this unique environment. If such practices are unchecked, half the species in the Coral Triangle will continue to disappear at a rate of 1-2 percent a year. This will have tremendous impacts on the economy of the six nations within the area, where 100 million residents depend on mangroves, seafood beds, and marine resources for their food, livelihood, and housing material. – guardian.co.uk

Protecting global biodiversity must include islands May 12 – A new study in the Proceedings of the

National Academy of Sciences states that islands are the key to saving global biodiversity. While islands have fewer overall species than continental areas of the same size, they have far more endemic species, i.e. animals and plants that can be found nowhere else in the world. The study also found that while islands make up less than four percent of Earth’s land area, they are home to nearly a quarter of the world’s known plants, 70,000 of which are not found on the continents. Due to small populations and limited habitats on many islands, species extinction is always a very real possibility. Modeling future human impacts on biodiversity up to 2100, the study found that island biodiversity will face greater pressure than continental biodiversity, due largely to human land-use, including deforestation and agricultural expansion. – mongabay.com

The endangered kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) of New Caledonia. Photo by Miguel Vences

Thailand aims to raise forest cover 40% in 8 years May 9 – In Thailand, several forest plantation projects will be launched to help the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment achieve the goal raising forest cover over 40 percent in eight years. Aside from tree planting schemes, the Royal Forest Department is also preparing to launch a project that will offer financial aid to farmers who want to invest in planting economic trees such as teak, neem, and eucalyptus. – Bangkok Post ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS

MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS

WHY THE NEED FOR HARMONISED REPORTING?

G

lobal agreements are crucial to resolving international issues and concerns, and this is particularly important in environmental conservation. Loss of species and habitats, wetlands conservation, wildlife trade, pollution, and climate change are concerns requiring concerted global effort to be effectively addressed.

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SPECIAL REPORTS

Photo by TunAung

Ratification of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) is largely motivated by national concern for ecosystems and species. ASEAN Member States are now Parties to a number of biodiversity-related international agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the World Heritage Convention (WHC). These were developed to establish wide-ranging cooperation in protecting plants, animals, and other species. MEAs require national reporting from all Parties to create a global picture of environmental efforts, as well as provide directions for the future. Reports often require data from different national agencies covering a wide range

of bio-geographical, social, economic, legal and political information. These have to be meticulously prepared by the focal points or reporting agencies and crafted according to formats set by the secretariats of MEAs. These formats may be different across conventions, but

ment of data. Streamlining reporting to MEAs will reduce reporting burdens on Parties, encourage more data sharing, and create synergy in environmental work among concerned national and international agencies. Reporting such information, however, may be hindered by lack of coordination among relevant agencies. There is also limited collaboration between the secretariats of various global agreements to streamline their approaches. Gathering and use of information also poses a problem. The CBD encourages parties to harmonize the gathering and management of data for the biodiversity-related conventions. The Conference of Parties (COP) encouraged the Liaison Group of the Biodiversity-related Conventions to give further consideration to issues of harmonization of reporting among the biodiversity-related conventions, and to develop proposals thereon.

“Ratification of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) is largely motivated by national concern for ecosystems and species. ASEAN Member States are now Parties to a number of biodiversity-related international agreements.� they often require similar or cross cutting information, such as habitat coverage, species inventory, composition of local communities, human activities that may affect the local environment, protected area status, number of rangers, and others. Since a number of issues may need to be presented in reports to various MEAs, there is a need to harmonize the gathering of and manage-

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SPECIAL REPORTS This has resulted in collaborations with other convention secretariats to develop measures to harmonize reporting to various conventions. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity thus conducted the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-Related Conventions on 15-17 April 2009 in Hanoi, Viet Nam to assist ASEAN Member States (AMS) in streamlining their reports to various MEAs. The workshop sought to promote national and regional efforts to harmonize or synergize reporting to biodiversity-related conventions; strengthen national capacities in harmonized reporting by providing training on use of relevant tools and approaches; and discuss possible ways and means for harmonization of reporting at the global level. Meaningful discussions on global and regional initiatives to harmonize reporting to biodiversity-related conven-

tions; exchange of national approaches and experiences; training on relevant tools and approaches for harmonization; as well as reflections on challenges to harmonized reporting allowed representatives of AMS to craft an outline of general observations and recommendations on harmonized reporting. This outline will provide the basis for an action plan for AMS, as Parties to the Conventions, to guide their efforts to harmonize their reporting and for convention secretariats to pursue harmonization and standardization of reporting formats. The outline contains elements for action at the national and global level. General observations that merit attention at the national level include the following: • Lack of a single model for improved information management, collaboration and harmonization as national cir-

cumstances vary between countries. • Emphasis on the need to understand that reporting is an output of information management which serves national implementation of the conventions. These observations underline the need to strengthen information management and collaboration between national focal points and agencies to improve national reporting. Improved information management will require the need for a fully operational (meta) data warehouse, such as a ClearingHouse Mechanism or National Biodiversity Information Network, to cover all biodiversity-related conventions; involvement of all stakeholders that hold relevant information; and the use of online tools to assemble national reports. Stronger collaboration is also needed among national focal points of various

SOME MULTILATERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The CBD was inspired by the understanding that the Earth’s biological resources are vital to humanity’s economic and social development. As a result, there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. At the same time, the threat to species and ecosystems has never been as great as it is today. Species extinction caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate. The CBD traces its origins to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” -- meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. The CBD was one of the key agreements adopted at Rio. This pact among the vast majority of the world’s governments sets out commitments for maintaining the world’s ecological

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underpinnings as countries go about the business of economic development. The Convention establishes three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. There are currently 191 Parties to the CBD (www.cbd.int).

Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)

The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and includes hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. Trade ranges from live animals and plants to a vast array of derived products, including food, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

exploitation and trade of some animal and plant species are high, and combined with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future. The trade in wild animals and plants often crosses borders between countries, and the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from overexploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs. There are currently 175 Parties to the convention (www.cites.org).

Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention)

The CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species

SPECIAL REPORTS MEAs, and these can be facilitated by reviewing institutional and administrative arrangements for the implementation of conventions, and development of formal collaborative mechanisms with a specific lead agency to include various focal points, among others. At the global level, there is a need to address the following concerns: • Development of models for harmonization of national reporting between the biodiversity-related conventions; • Formulation of specific guidelines for the preparation of the reports, such as the CBD 4th National Report (4NR) Reporting Guidelines; • Harmonization of reporting cycles to maximize time and resources; and • Use of online reporting systems and increasing capacity to use online tools.

throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention’s entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include 110 Parties. Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Aside from establishing obligations for each member state, CMS promotes concerted action among the Range States of many of these species. Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international cooperation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention (www.cms.int).

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action

and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem, and the Convention’s 159 member countries cover all geographic regions of the planet. The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”. The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, nearshore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans. At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” concept. The wise use of wetlands is defined as “the maintenance of their ecological character, achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches, within the context of sustainable development”. “Wise use”

therefore has at its heart the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources, for the benefit of humankind (www.ramsar.org).

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The UNFCCC sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with the ratification of 192 countries. Under the Convention, governments gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices; launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries; and cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change (unfccc.int/2860.php). ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS

ASEAN ACTION ON

MEAs T

he Association of Southeast Asian Nations facilitates obligations to various MEAs with the assistance of the ASEAN Working Group on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (AWGMEA). The policy frameworks that provide the foundation for the AWGMEA include the following: ASEAN Vision 2020 – In 1997 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the heads of government of the ASEAN Member States developed the ASEAN Vision 2020, which aimed to chart a new development for ASEAN that features dynamic development and economic integration, and a community of caring societies that is conscious of its ties of history, aware of its cultural heritage, and bound by a common regional identity.

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SPECIAL REPORTS This is highlighted by a vision for a reports for policy-making and gotiations in MEAs. “…clean and green ASEAN with fully addressing impacts on the enviestablished mechanisms for sustainable ronment. The AWGMEA primarily focuses on development to ensure the protection of the following international conventions: the region’s environment, the sustainabilAside from addressing global enviAtmosphere related conventions ity of its natural resources, and the high ronmental issues, the VAP also primar• Montreal Protocol on Substances quality of life of its peoples.” ily promotes national and regional cothat Deplete the Ozone Layer ASEAN Socio-Cultural Communioperation to address measures related to - This landmark international ty Plan of Action – In Bali, Indonesia in the cluster of multilateral environmenagreement was designed to pro2003, the ASEAN Member States issued tal agreements addressing atmospheric tect the stratospheric ozone the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II, issues such as climate change, the Vienlayer. The treaty was originally a framework to achieve a dynamic, cona Convention and its protocols. It also signed in 1987 and substantially hesive, resilient and integrated ASEAN supports national and regional cooperaamended in 1990 and 1992. The Community by adopting plans on the tion on measures related to MEAS that Montreal Protocol stipulates that ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic CommuInstitutional Framework - Environment nity, and the ASEAN Note: Socio-Cultural ComAWGNCB - ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation munity. The ASEAN and Biodiversity Socio-Cultural ComAWGCME - ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine ASEAN Summit munity Plan of Action Environment (ASEAN Heads of State/ AWGMEA - ASEAN Working Government) expressed the need for Group on Multilateral Environment Agreements coordinating responses AWGWRM - ASEAN Working ASEAN Ministerial ASEAN Environment Group on Water Resources to MEAs since it strives Secretary-General Management Meeting (AMM) Ministers Meeting of ASEAN for the “…harmonisa(ASEAN Foreign Ministers) (AMME, IAMME) AWGESC - ASEAN Working Group on tion of environmental Environmentally Sustainable Cities ASEAN Senior Offi cials policies, legislation, ASEAN Standing AWGEE - ASEAN on the Environment Committee (ASC) Working Group on ASEAN Secretariat (ASOEN) regulations, standards Environmental Education (Bureau for Resources and databases, taking Development) into account the national circumstances of Member Countries, to Other Environmental Activities AWGNCB AWGCME AWGMES AWGWRM AWGESC AWGEE support the integration (ASEAN Secretariat) of the environmental, social and economic goals of the region.” Vientiane Action Programme address chemical and chemical wastes the production and consump(2004-2010) – The VAP promotes sussuch as the Basel, Stockholm and Rottion of compounds that deplete tainable development, monitoring and terdam Conventions. ozone in the stratosphere - chloreporting/database harmonization in the rofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, region and recommends the following The AWGMEA aims to: carbon tetrachloride, and methyl actions: • Strengthen cooperation in the imchloroform - are to be phased 1. Implement the 13 priority enviplementation of existing internaout by 2000 (2005 for methyl ronmental parameters and ensure tional instruments or agreements chloroform). Scientific theory region-wide harmonisation in in the field of environment. and evidence suggest that, once terms of measurement (method• Identify and address problems in emitted to the atmosphere, these ology), monitoring and reportimplementing international envicompounds could significantly ing. ronmental agreements or instrudeplete the stratospheric ozone 2. Consolidate and promote synerments. layer that shields the planet from gy in the reporting requirements • Promote and support the effecdamaging UV-B radiation. under the various multilateral tive participation of ASEAN • United Nations Framework Conenvironmental agreements, aimcountries in the negotiation of vention on Climate Change and ing for consolidated region-wide obligations to conventions. the Kyoto Protocol - The UNreporting. • Exchange views and information FCCC sets an overall framework 3. Produce informative periodion new or revised MEAs. for intergovernmental efforts to cal state of the environment • Upgrade ASEAN capacity for netackle climate change. It recogASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS nizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Under the Convention, governments gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), national policies and best practices; launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries; and cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol is linked to the UNFCC and sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Community for reducing GHGs (unfccc. int/2860.php). Chemicals related conventions • Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal – This is the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes. The Convention has 172 Parties and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes. A central goal of the Convention is “environmentally sound management” (ESM), which addresses the issue of hazardous waste through an “integrated life-cycle approach”, which involves strong controls from the generation of a hazardous waste to its storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal (www.basel. int). • Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade – The Convention aims to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties 18

in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm; and contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics; providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export; and disseminating these decisions to Parties (www.pic.int). • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants – This is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically and accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife. Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and even diminished intelligence. Given their long range transport, no government acting alone can protect its citizens or environment from POPs. In response, the Stockholm Convention, which was adopted in 2001 and entered into force 2004, requires Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment (chm.pops.int). ASEAN Participation in MEAs Atmosphere related conventions ASEAN Vienna Convention

100%

Montreal Protocol

100%

UNFCCC

90%

Kyoto Protocol

50%

Chemicals related conventions Rotterdam Convention

30%

Stockholm Convention

60%

Basel Convention

80%

Source: ASEAN SoER3

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

At the AWGMEA 12, which was held on 19-20 June 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the following actions were proposed in ASEAN in relation to the various MEAs: • Montreal Protocol - close cooperation among ASEAN Member States (AMS) both at the national and regional level to combat illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). Further exchange of information among AMS is necessary to effectively address imbalance in halons. • UNFCCC - detailed studies should be conducted for the ASEAN region to make informed policy decisions, as well as develop appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures. It was suggested that a workshop be conducted to discuss the implementation of such a study for the ASEAN region. • Basel Convention – a Basel Convention Regional Centre for South-East Asia (BCRCSEA) proposal was developed on regional database development on hazardous chemicals and wastes management in ASEAN countries. • Rotterdam Convention – ASEAN should consider acceding to the Convention expeditiously so that AMS can participate in training programmes for capacity building in implementing the Rotterdam Convention. • Stockholm Convention – the meeting discussed a project on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) information warehouse, as well as the need to identify the priority areas for the regional training workshop on “Familiarisation and Use of UNEP’s Standardised Toolkit on Identification and Quantification of Dioxins and Furans Releases.” More information on the ASEAN Working Group on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (AWGMEA) can be accessed at environment.asean. org.

SPECIAL REPORTS

GLOBAL HARMONISATION OF NATIONAL REPORTING TO BIODIVERSITYRELATED CONVENTIONS

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arties to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) are required to submit national reports to convention secretariats primarily to demonstrate compliance with the convention, develop an overview of its implementation, assess its effectiveness and take stock of the work that has been done to identify measures that have to be undertaken for the future. National reports also provide information on the status and trends on biodiversity that will enable informed decision-making as well as identify necessary interactions with other processes and agencies in biodiversity conservation. ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS There are a number of challenges to reporting, and these include the development of reports to a multitude of conventions (thus creating a ‘reporting burden’ on Parties), as well as duplication or lack of information necessary for the reports. There is also the issue of the lack of cooperation and coordination among agencies, and sometimes, Parties do not submit reports at all.

Steps towards harmonisation The United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has been working to produce a formula that would allow streamlining and harmonization of national reports to MEAs. Some of the activities conducted towards this end include the following: • Feasibility Study for a Harmonized Information Management Infrastructure for BiodiversityrelatedTreaties (UNEP-WCMC, 1989) • WCMC Handbooks on Biodiversity Information Management (1998) • Cambridge workshop (UNEP & UNEP-WCMC, 2000) • Pilot projects: Ghana, Indonesia, Panama, Seychelles (UNEP/ UNEP-WCMC 2001-2003) • Haasrode workshop (2004) on pilot project results (Belgium, UK, UNEP-WCMC, 2004) • UNEP – MEA Secretariats‘ Knowledge Management project (2006-08) • Streamlining reporting by Pacific Island Countries (DEWHA, SPREP) In 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Forestry Department of Malaysia organized the Regional Workshop on Strengthening of Harmonization of National Reporting to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 and Other International Processes on Forests in Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The workshop participants emphasized that coordination among different national agencies and programmes is essential, and that coordination among different focal points is 20

required to facilitate national reporting on global forest resources. This will also require significant strengthening of institutional coordination and scientific studies to improve data quality. Participants also suggested the development of regional cooperation among countries for sharing of experience and expertise to improve national capacities for forest-related reporting. Recent Conference of Party (COP) mandates from various MEAs also direct convention secretariats to develop mechanisms for harmonizing reports to better assist Parties, streamline the management of information, and provide a better picture of the conservation of the world’s natural resources. These resolutions include the following: • Ramsar: Resolutions IX.5, X.11 • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): VIII/14, VIII/20, IX/19 • Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES): Decisions 14.37 and 14.38 • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Resolutions 8.11, 8.24, 9.4 Resolutions from Ramsar specifically state the following: Ramsar resolution IX.5: 9 additionally requests the Secretary General to continue working with UNEP’s Division of Environmental Conventions and the secretariats of other biodiversity-related conventions and agreements concerning more effective convention implementation. Topics could include, inter alia, and as appropriate, the development and implementation of issuebased modules and harmonization of national reporting requirements subject to the mandate of each individual convention bearing in mind their Contracting Parties. Ramsar resolution VIII.26 further urges Parties to consider initiating trials of joint reporting involving Ramsar and other multilateral environmental agreements, seeking the advice, as appropriate, of the United Nations Environment Programme. While recognizing the need for streamlining reports to MEAs, many

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

challenges remain for both convention secretariats and the Parties to the various conventions. MEAs often have different reporting cycles. Information also usually comes from different ministries and agencies, and some of the data required maybe very specific (such as greenhouse gas inventories for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Biodiversity knowledge has to be managed in a manner where national reports do not become a by-product of national biodiversity information management. Rather, such information should support the implementation of the various environmental conventions.

Approaches to harmonisation There are promising approaches to streamlining national reports, such as the use of joint reporting portals; modular reporting; core reports; joint thematic reporting formats; consensus on information needs and sources; and online reporting. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Portal is an example and facilitates the streamlining of forest-related reporting. It provides access to forest-related information from reporting to various conventions and processes, and allows users to search national reports by process (e.g. MEAs) or country. Modular reporting is another approach that is gaining ground and has been piloted in some countries to determine its feasibility. The core report, on the other hand, is the model used for human rights conventions. These feature a common core report for all the treaties, as well as smaller treaty-specific reports. The potential elements of a core report include: • General factual and statistical information about the reporting Party – this may encompass an overview of the state of biodiversity as well as relevant government departments and agencies. • General framework for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity – including the status of conventions and agreements; legislation, strategies, plans, and

SPECIAL REPORTS Modular Approach to Reporting

programmes; communication, education and public awareness plans; and a description of the reporting process. • Implementation of substantive provisions common to the biodiversity-related treaties - e.g. monitoring, indicators, protected areas, sustainable use, training. • Measures for streamlining the implementation of biodiversityrelated treaties – this may in-

clude collaboration of national focal points and strengthened biodiversity information management. Joint thematic reporting formats are already mandated by various conventions. The CBD, for instance, has joint reporting formats with Ramsar on inland water ecosystems, and with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on dryland

biodiversity. The joint reporting format for CBD and Ramsar is based on the following decisions: • Ramsar Resolution X.11: Requests the Secretariat and the Scientific Technical and Review Panel (STRP) to continue to cooperate with the CBD Secretariat, UNEP, and UNEPWCMC in the development of a framework for harmonized reporting on implementation on ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS

inland waters for the CBD and the Ramsar Convention. • CBD Decision IX/19: Invites the Ramsar Convention, UNEP and UNEP-WCMC to continue their joint work on harmonized reporting between the Ramsar Convention and the CBD. The joint reporting format is organised around the Ramsar reporting format and indicator questions, which cover institutional information; summary of national implementation; wise (sustainable) use of wetlands; Wetlands of International Importance; international cooperation; and implementation capacity. Another approach to harmonizing national reporting to MEAs is to identify and agree on information needs and sources. In the case of CBD and Ramsar on the issue of inland water biodiversity, the two conventions agreed on the use of the following: • Define the information needs (resolution X.14: A framework for Ramsar data and information needs). • Internal information sources (national reports, indicators). • External information sources 22

(scientific institutions, NGOs). • Identify the overlaps for Ramsar and CBD. • Potential decision: Who collects what information (harmonized but not joint reporting). Online reporting is another approach, and this is used by the Indian Ocean – Southeast Asian (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). The IOSEA is an intergovernmental agreement that aims to protect, conserve, replenish and recover marine turtles and their habitats of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian region, working in partnership with other relevant actors and organisations. AEWA covers 255 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. An online reporting facility is being developed for CMS and CITES. This approach is particularly relevant since pooling webbased tools could facilitate harmonization of national reports.

Preconditions for harmonisation To make harmonization and streamlining of national reports work, some general conditions have to be met. For

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instance, the purpose of national reporting should be recognized and the reported information is used, or more importantly, that Parties understand how the information is being used. Preconditions should be met at both the national and global level: Harmonization at the national level • Focal points to conventions do cooperate • Data-collecting institutions do cooperate • Reporting is an output of implementation Harmonization at the global level • Conventions agree on information needs • Conventions agree on or develop joint information management systems • Reporting cycles should not be a problem particularly if the core report approach or joint summary reports (e.g. for 2010) are used • Continuing mandates from governing bodies • Key stakeholders encouraged Next steps for harmonization of national reporting at the global level will follow the implementation of various suggested approaches. These include the use of joint reporting on inland waters developed by CBD and Ramsar. The distribution of papers and outlining of experiences in the implementation of streamlining approaches would provide inputs to decision making bodies, and this includes providing papers on preconditions for harmonization of reporting to Parties to the CBD, CITES, CMS and Ramsar Convention, as well as feeding the Pacific Island Countries experience into governing bodies. Recommendations of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity workshop should also be made available to governing bodies. The article is based on a presentation by Peter Herkenrath of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-related Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on 15-17 April 2009.

SPECIAL REPORTS

ISSUE-BASED MODULES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MEAS

M

any countries are Parties to a multitude of environmental agreements, and all these agreements carry many implementation requirements from articles, decisions and resolutions. The challenge for accurate national reporting is awareness of all these provisions. However, given the different conventions, these provisions are not necessarily harmonized with the other conventions, even in areas where data requirements may be similar. National experts thus face problems in communicating across conventions.

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SPECIAL REPORTS The aim of developing issue-based modules is to provide a reference tool for Parties to have easy access to all their obligations and commitments from international environmental agreements for a specific theme. The objectives are to: • Improve understanding of how commitments on specific issues (e.g. protected areas) under different multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) relate to one another. • Demonstrate how implementation of agreements can be strengthened through more integrated and cross-sectoral information on specific issues. • Promote cooperation on specific issues between experts at the national level working on the implementation of different MEAs. The process of developing these modules includes providing structured information on agreement implementation requirements by: • Identifying and grouping implementation requirements on specific issues under different agreements. • Translating this into practical tools in the form of issue-based modules. Some of the agreements considered include biodiversity-related

conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), and the World Heritage Convention (WHC). Regional agreements and other Rio conventions include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). National workshops were held in various countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, where participants evaluated and reviewed the modules. Case studies and other examples have also been provided for their use in other countries.

Issues are divided into the following hierarchy:

Issue

PAs

Section

Management

Activity

Activity: Mitigate or remove external threats to PAs

Component

24

Component: Direct threats from human activities

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How can the modules help? Based on experiences from the pilot countries, issue-based modules can contribute in the: • Review and updating of biodiversity-related legislation (conservation, forestry, water). • Checking compliance of national implementation. • Improved communication and cooperation among national experts on different agreements. • Raising awareness of obligations/ commitments under international law among the other ministries and the public. • Development of education and public awareness initiatives. • Training of new staff in the ministry or department of environment. • Development of funding proposals. • Development of transboundary or joint projects. • Preparing coherent positions across MEA fora. • Development of Annex to National Strategy on Capacity Building (sustainable use module) as well as national strategies on invasive alien species, protected areas and wetlands. The article is based on a presentation by Peter Herkenrath and Ines Verleye of the UNEP/IUCN Project at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-related Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 15-17 April 2009.

SPECIAL REPORTS

THE RAMSAR CONVENTION

ISSUES AND PROGRESS IN HARMONISATION OF REPORTING

T

he Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was developed in the 1960s because of concerns over the destruction of wetlands and its impact on waterbirds. Despite the early development of the convention, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 noted that the “degradation and loss of wetlands (both inland and coastal) is continuing more rapidly than for other ecosystems�. The problem continues since economic development and land-use change are often prioritized over ecosystem maintenance. Despite continued dependence on wetlands and other ecosystems for livelihoods and sustainable development, governments and communities continue to damage wetlands and other significant ecosystems. As such, there is a need for increased cross-sectoral attention to maintain ecosystem services for people.

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SPECIAL REPORTS What is the Convention and how does it help?

Direct impacts on atmospheric ecosystem

The Convention on Wetlands is the oldest of the global environmental intergovernmental agreements, having been established in 1971 in Ramsar City, Iran. It addresses all wetlands issues - from the mountains to the sea – and covers: • Inland wetlands: marshes, lakes, rivers, peatlands, and forested wetlands; • Coastal and near-shore marine systems: coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, etc. to six m water depth; and • Human-made wetlands: reservoirs, dams, fishponds, rice paddy, etc.

Indirect impacts on atmospheric ecosystem (through evapotranspiration cycle)

Athmospheric ecosystem

Indirect impacts on marine ecosystem

Indirect impacts on terrestrial ecosystem

Indirect impacts on aquatic ecosystem

Direct impacts on terrestrial ecosystem

Terrestrial ecosystem

Direct impacts on aquatic ecosystem

Direct impacts on aquatic ecosystem

Indirect impacts on terrestrial ecosystem

Indirect impacts on ahmospheric ecosystem Indirect impacts on aquatic ecosystem

Indirect impacts on coastal marine ecosystem

Aquatic ecosystem Direct impacts on subtarranean ecosystem Indirect impacts on aquatic ecosystem

Indirect impacts on terrestrial ecosystem

The global hydrological cycle is fundamental to wetlands, and essentially means - “No water: No wetlands”. Wetlands also significantly influence the functioning of the hydrological cycle and supply of water to people, and the 26

Collaboration between Ramsar and CBD

Subtarranean ecosystem

Coastal marine ecosystem

Currently, there are 159 Contracting Parties of the convention who are committed to “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.” The Ramsar convention has three ‘pillars’ of implementation, namely: • The “wise use” (sustainable use) of all wetlands; • Designation and management of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites) - including 1836 wetland sites, totaling 172 million hectares; largest global ‘protected areas’ network; major contribution to on-the-ground delivery of CBD protected areas programme of work; and • International cooperation shared river basins, transboundary wetlands, flyway networks for migratory waterbirds, and sharing of information and expertise.

Indirect impacts on subtarranean ecosystem

Since CBD COP3, Ramsar has been the lead implementation partner for CBD on wetlands since working with Ramsar allows for practical on-the-ground implementation of CBD guidelines. The CBD focuses on inland waters’ collaboration, but wetlands is a unifying theme across all CBD ecosystem Programmes of Work, such as those on drylands, agricultural systems, forests, mountains, coastal/marine, and islands. However, water as a cross-cutting theme is not recognised in CBD processes. Collaboration is delivered through the the following: CBD and Ramsar COPs requesting specific activities; Joint Work Programme (JWP); Biodiversity Liaison Group (BLG); Chairs of scientific subsidiary bodies (CSAB); and the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP GEF project). The collaboration between the two convention secretariats also developed from an initial recognition of common ground; through recommending/adopting guidance from one Convention for use by the other (e.g. CBD impact assessment guidelines) and to joint development of programmes and guidance. These include the Ramsar collaboration on revising CBD inland waters PoW and joint development and publication of technical reports requested by Parties. The collaboration between Ramsar and CBD has become widely recognised as a model for inter-Convention cooperation. Some of the more current Ramsar lead work requested by CBD includes: • Further development of criteria for identifying sites of international importance for wetland

“Blue” water Direct impacts on coastal marine ecosystem

Indirect impacts on coastal marine ecosystem

uses they make of it (e.g. irrigation, energy, transport and drinking). Almost all of the world’s consumption of freshwater is drawn directly or indirectly from wetlands, thus this also signifies the importance of wetlands - “No wetlands: No water.” Many other sectors depend on wetlands, and the huge demand for wetland resources makes it necessary for people to treat wetlands as our “natural water infrastructure.” The Millenium Ecosystem Assessment’s stark message has been reinforced by the 4th Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), which states that: • 70 percent of available water is already taken by irrigation. • Meeting the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) on hunger will mean doubling food production by 2050. • While freshwater is declining, by 2025 water use is predicted to rise by 50 percent in developing countries, and 18 percent in the developed world. The report also stresses that “the escalating burden of water demand will become intolerable in water-scarce countries.” Major drivers of wetland loss and degradation include land-use change (land-claim), agricultural pressures and water resource pressures.

Ramsar: Implementation guidance Since 1971, the Convention has adopted a major suite of implementation guidance for countries, most of

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which were prepared by Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP). These are included in 17 Ramsar Wise Use Handbooks (3rd edition, 2007), and incorporated in CDs and the Ramsar website (www.ramsar. org). A 4th edition on Wise Use (including COP10 substantive new guidance) is currently under preparation.

“Green” water

SPECIAL REPORTS biodiversity; • Developing a joint framework for reporting on inland waters (also now looking at coastal wetland reporting); and • In-depth review of CBD inland waters Programme of Work (PoW). So far, the cooperation delivered has mostly been at the global scale. A key condition for easier harmonised national reporting should be national-scale implementation collaboration.

Ramsar national reporting

processes. 4. Provide a means for Parties to be accountable against their obligations under the Convention. 5. Provide each Party with a tool to help it assess and monitor its progress in implementation, and plan for its future implementation and priorities. 6. Provide an opportunity for Parties to draw attention to their achievements during the triennium. 7. Provide data for assessment of “indicators of effectiveness of Convention implementation.”

come-oriented” indicators of Convention effectiveness which were requested by COP8, and adopted by COP9. Assessments are currently underway by the STRP, and preliminary findings may be available by 2010. This can be used to contribute to the 2010 biodiversity indicators assessment, and perhaps go beyond the assessment for the 2010 biodiversity target. The assessment will essentially answer the following questions: • Is the Convention effective? • Can it be effective if implemented fully? • Is the state of wetlands better because of the Convention? • Would current and continuing wetland deterioration be worse without the Convention?

National Reports are prepared for National reports are used by Ramsar each COP, which is held every three as inputs to reports to each COP on years. There is a very high and timeglobal, regional and thematic implely reporting rate (85-97 percent) to mentation progress. They also facilitate Ramsar compared with other MEAs. The Ramsar indicators of effectivethe analyses of Convention implemenThere is a wealth of implementation ness follow a two-step assessment: tation effectiveness, and are important information for reporting to Ramsar 1. Status/trend in the ecological information sources for reviewing CBD processes, as well as other MEAs. feature – this includes the rate inland waters PoW – and other potenRamsar National Reports also feature of change of trend as compared tial CBD PoWs. implementation processes reporting to the 2010 biodiversity target. for each Strategic Plan Strategy and Data may also be global and disRamsar effectiveness indicators Key Result Area. Similar to the CBD aggregated across regions, counThere are eight “ecological out4th National Reports, the focus is on ecological status reporting. This approach provides more complementarity with Ramsar National Reports – handling and analysis processes Ramsar reports. In some casNRF developed by Secretariat, 2 years before COP es the size or complexity of approved by Standing Committee report format affects reporting rate. However, a minimal NRF issued to CPs – electronic 1 years before COP format: MS Word form size may be sufficient as long as it provides the necessary CPs submit NRF in electronic 6 months before COP information for assessing and format to Secretariat reporting global and regional trends in implementation. Secretariat checks/clarifies CP NRF information Ramsar national reports serve seven main purposes: Secretariat enters all CP NRF 3 months before COP 1. Provide official data information into NR database Secretariat posts CP NRF on and information on Ramsar Website how the Convention Secretariat generates 3 months before COP global/regional/thematic statistics is being implemented. & lists from NR database 2. Capture lessons/expeSecretariat prepares global/regional/thematic reports riences to allow Parties STRP uses from NRF data & information NR information used as NR information used as global/regional/national to develop future acinput to CBD input to other statistics & lists from NR inland waters PoW analysis – STRP tion. database in Provided to COP as information in depth review & others “effectiveness Papers – basis of COP 3. Identify emerging isindicators” assessment discussions of implementation progress sues and implementaafter COP tion challenges faced STRP/Secretariat effectiveness by Parties that may reassessment report to next COP quire further attention through Convention ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS tries, basins, flyways, and others. 2. Assessment of ecological trend/ trend index against range of process-related implementation indicators (as co-variates), from Ramsar National Reports and other sources such as National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), length of Ramsar membership, and others. In Step 1 in determining ecological feature trends, some assessment has been done for five indicators: • trend in wetland status • trend in Ramsar site status • frequency of threats affecting Ramsar sites • population trends of wetland taxa (waterbirds) • changes in threat status of wetland taxa (Red List wetland-dependent birds and mammals)

trends: waterbird populations – reports indicate that the presence of “wetland-dependent” species serve as proxy for wetland status and trends. • The reports provide a 25-year time-period of global population trend assessments – starting in the early-mid 1980s. • Shorebird population status assessment - a “population status index” shows a 2.6x faster rate of decline in recent years compared with the rate of decline between the 1980s and 1990s. Thus, the the 2010 biodiversity target of “significantly reducing the rate of decline” is not being met for shorebirds.

Ramsar effectiveness indicators - preliminary conclusions Wetlands are in a relatively better

In Step 2, in the process indicators assessment, methods were developed and tested for two indicators, namely: • trend in wetland status • trend in Ramsar site status Initial results are promising since they identify links between the extent of national Ramsar implementation and state of wetlands. These provide powerful stories for Contracting Parties on setting future implementation priorities. Some examples: • Ecological status trends - Parties (COP10 National Reports) reporting that the need to address adverse change in the ecological character of wetlands in 2005-2008 was less, the same or greater than in the previous triennium. • Ecological status 28

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state if the Ramsar Convention is being implemented and there is a wider range of types of implementation. Developing and implementing a National Wetland Policy is a particularly important action. National Wetland Policies have been part of COP National Reports since COP3 (1987) and there is a progressive trend of an increasing number of Contracting Parties (CPs) with a National Wetland Policy (or equivalent) in place. Still, more has to be done since almost 60 percent of CPs have not yet adopted a National Wetland Policy. A Ramsar indicators and CBD inland waters review is currently underway and will be reporting to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) in 2010. The review will be using Ramsar National Report indicators and effectiveness indicator assessments. Regarding the CBD inland water 2010 targets and activities, Ramsar reporting and indicators have been used in 13 (62 percent) of 21 targets. Additionally, Ramsar reporting speaks to CBD activities for Parties in the Programme of Work. Ramsar is not directly reporting to CBD targets on genetic diversity, sustainable use and consumption, and benefit sharing. The Ramsar 2009-2015 Strategic Plan and Key Result Areas will be reviewed, and Ramsar will also consider including questions on other CBD inland water targets in the Ramsar COP11 National Report Format to increase levels of harmonisation in reporting. The article is based on a presentation by Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversityrelated Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 15-17 April 2009.

SPECIAL REPORTS

INDONESIA

USING THE MODULAR APPROACH

D

ue to the number of biodiversity-related conventions, how can parties harmonize and streamline national reporting to such conventions? In 2000, a workshop by the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge reviewed options to harmonize national reports. To test these options, UNEP established four pilot projects to field the harmonization concepts of five conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), and the World Heritage Convention (WHC).

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SPECIAL REPORTS

UNEP-WCMC Pilot Project

Indonesia pilot project: modular approach To facilitate the UNEP-WCMC project, the Government of Indonesia (with the Ministry of Environment as the lead) and UNEP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2001. The pilot project was funded by the United Kingdom and was assisted by MainStream Environmental Consulting Pty Ltd. The members of the national team of experts who reviewed the progress of the project and provided feedback were from various ministries of the government of Indonesia, including those in charge of finance, environment, culture and tourism, national education, and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. Held in 2002, the pilot project consisted of three streams: • Institutional arrangement • Modular framework • Data management The primary objective of the project is to eliminate duplicate reporting and reduce the effort required for parties to 30

prepare and submit specific reports to the conventions.

Institutional arrangement Institutional responsibilities for implementing the biodiversity-related conventions and the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme were spread across four Ministries and one Institution, which indicate the lack of an established coordination mechanism between the national focal points. Convention/ Programme

National Focal Point

CBD

Ministry of Environment

CITES

Ministry of Forestry

Ramsar

Ministry of Forestry

WHC

Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of People’s Welfare

MAB

Indonesia Institute of Sciences

This arrangement presents a need to establish a multi-stakeholder national

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biodiversity committee, or a similar body, to pursue more coordinated, effective, and efficient implementation of conventions and programme. It would be best that one Ministry be given an overall coordination role for national reporting.

Modular framework The modular framework has the following highlights: 1. Each convention focal point contributes “modules” of information. 2. The approach taken to structure reporting themes are based on the articles of the CBD, since this is the most complex and comprehensive convention. 3. The common themes among the conventions were identified by cross-checking the matrix of reporting themes. 4. The modular framework was intended to house the information of all four conventions and programme to be one consolidated reporting matrix.

SPECIAL REPORTS

Modular Reporting Approach

Modular Approach Design

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SPECIAL REPORTS Modular Structure Module Number 1

2

Reporting Theme

CBD

ECOSYTEM OVERVIEWS

9

1.1 Biodiversity of inland water ecosystems

9

1.2 Marine and coastal biodiversity

9

1.3 Agricultural biodiversity

9

1.4 Forest biodiversity

9

1.5 Biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands

9

1.6 Biodiversity of mountain ecosystems

9

Ramsar

WHC

CITES

9 9 9

INSTITUTIONAL DETAILS AND ARRANGEMENTS 2.1 Convention Focal Points

9

9

9

2.2.1 Administrative Processes

9

9

9

2.2.2 Non-government consultative processes

9

9

2.2.3 Information management

9

9

2.2 Coordinating Mechanism(s)

3

4

5

MAB

9 9 9 9 9

COOPERATION 3.1 General cooperation – global and regional

9

9

3.2 Transboundary cooperation

9

9

3.3 Technical and scientific cooperation

9

4.1 Strategies, policies and programmes 4.2 Integration conservation and sustainable use into sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes and policies

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

GENERAL MEASURES FOR CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE

IDENTIFICATION AND MONITORING 5.1 Identification 5.1.1 Taxonomy

9

5.1.2 Indicators and rapid assessments

9

5.2.3 Inventory

9

9

9

9

5.2 Monitoring 6

32

9 9 9

9 9

IN-SITU CONSERVATION 6.1 General in-situ conservation measures

9

6.2 Systems of protected and special areas

9

9

6.3 Restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems and threatened species population

9

9

9

6.4 Management of living modified organisms

9

6.5 Invasive species

9

9

9

6.6 Knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities

9

9

9

7

EX-SITU CONSERVATION

9

8

SUSTAINABLE USE

9

9

INCENTIVE MEASURES

9

10

RESEARCH AND TRAINING

9

9

9

9

9

9

9 9

10.1 Research

9

9

9

10.2 Training

9

9

9

9

11

COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS

9

9

9

9

12

IMPACT ASSSESSMENT AND MINIMIZING ADVERSE IMPACTS 12.1 Impact assessment procedures

9

9

12.2 Transboundary impacts

9

9

12.3 Emergency responses

9

9

12.4 Liability and redress

9

9

13

ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES

9

9

14

ACCESS TO AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY

9

15

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

9

16

BIOTECHNOLOGY AND DISTRIBUTION OF ITS BENEFITS

9

17

FINANCIAL RESOURCES

9

9 9

9

17.1 Annual and additional contributions

9

9

9

9

17.2 National financing

9

9

9

9

17.3 Financing mechanism

9

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9

SPECIAL REPORTS Summary of Provided Themes/Sub-themes for Conventions Reporting Convention/Programme

Themes/Sub-Themes

CBD

42

Ramsar

22

CITES

2

WHC

14

MAB

35

The modular approach benefits national reporting since it eliminates duplication of data and information, and enhances efficiency in terms of information and data handling. Key aspects of the approach include a coordination mechanism between the national focal points. Modular reporting does not require all conventions to have the same reporting cycle, but it will reduce the

burden on the developing countries if the national reporting occurred in three or four yearly cycles for all conventions. Developing countries also need financial and technical assistance to set up the systems.

Database Management Mechanisms for data management require that the modular approach

should take into account the existing data gathering and handling. It is not essential that data is held in one location, as long it can be accessed readily, ideally in one portal, and be made available to address the needs of policy makers and other stakeholders. A National Biodiversity Information Network (NBIN) and National Biodiversity Clearing House Mechanism can be operated as metadata “warehouse” or common entry point for accessing biodiversity-related data.

Conclusions The pilot study of the modular approach to streamlining national reports to MEAs in Indonesia showed that it could potentially: • Improve the quality, availability and usefulness of information

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SPECIAL REPORTS

Indonesian Biodiversity Clearing-House Mechanism Research Intitutes Universities Indonesia Institute of Science

Policy development MoA Souce of dat & information MoF

35 nodes

NBIN

All local NGOs

KEHATI Foundation

Indonesian Biodiversity CHM MoMAF Policy development at local level MoHa

SEAMEO BIOTROP Universities Research institutes

Environmental Agency at Yogyakarta

Environmental Agency at North Sumatra Province

Environmental Agency at West Java Province

Other Environmental Agency at Province level

Universities Research institutes Local NGOs other relevant local government institutes

for national purposes; • Encourage integrated national approaches and improve information access and sharing between institutions; and • Facilitate links to other conventions and information sharing between neighbouring countries. The study showed that it is possible to develop an overarching thematic framework for modular reporting which can accommodate requirements of the CBD, CITES, Ramsar and WHC. The primary requirements for the modular reporting approach are institutional coordination enhancement, one data warehouse or clearing house, and harmonized national reporting in relation to modular themes. Obstacles faced in implementing the concept of modular approach: 1. Implementation of the modular approach concept is rela34

tively difficult since National Focal Points are not optimally coordinated and thus national reporting of all conventions was not done in a cohesive manner. 2. There is a limitation in the capability to review every reporting theme and then maintain the most current data and information. 3. National reporting formats of all conventions continue to change. 4. The Indonesian Biodiversity Clearinghouse Mechanism (CHM) does not fully function as a data warehouse. The experience showed that the government should enhance the roles of specific agencies and coordination among existing national committees, working groups, or focal points to provide recommendations for the implementation of biodiversity-related

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conventions. Data sharing and management through Indonesian Biodiversity CHM should be improved by providing baseline information and updating data availability. The following recommendations were made to the government of Indonesia at the conclusion of the pilot project: 1. Review institutional arrangements. 2. Establish a formal committee involving all focal points of biodiversity-related conventions, and place the lead role in one ministry to coordinate a move to modular national reporting. 3. Strengthen the NBIN/National Biodiversity CHM as metadata “warehouse” and common entry point. 4. Continue data mapping exercises to coordinate cohesive data collection and management. 5. Establish Biodiversity-related Data Management Task Force to address data compatibility and to ensure data access and availability. The project also recommended that UNEP-WCMC: 1. Develop the modular reporting approach, not only in developing countries but also in developed countries to evaluate the method. 2. Encourage convention secretariats to investigate their national reporting formats in order to harmonize reporting of all conventions. 3. Draw attention to the issue of human resource and time management when countries prepare national reports every three or four years. The article is based on a presentation by Setyawan Warsono Adi, M.E; Yeri Permata Sari, M.Sc; and Badiah, M.Si at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-related Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 15-17 April 2009.

SPECIAL REPORTS

THAILAND

EXPERIENCES IN HARMONISATION OF REPORTS TO MEAs

T

he preparation of separate reports on the implementation of different, but related, international treaties can represent a burden on countries - particularly on countries with limited resources. This is a problem faced by the government of Thailand, which is a signatory to four biodiversity related conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and World Heritage Convention (WHC). The country has yet to ratify the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) but has existing agreements to protect sea turtles.

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SPECIAL REPORTS Focal Points to MEAs Reporting cycles

MEAs

Report and Focal Point

CBO

Natinal Report Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy (ONEP)

CITES

Annual and Biennial Report National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department

Ramsar

National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Wetlands ONEP

3

WHC

Thailand National Periodic Report Ministry of Culture

6

Thailand signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) on 12 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After submitting their ratification instrument in 2003, Thailand became the 188th Contracting Party to the CBD on 29 January 2004. It has since implemented various projects and activities in support of the Convention.

4

CBD National Report Article 26 of the Convention on Biological Diversity states that “Each Contracting Party shall, at intervals to be determined by the Conference of the Parties, present to the Conference of the Parties, reports on measures which it has taken for the implementation of the provision of this Convention and their effectiveness in meeting the objectives of this Convention.” With the Of-

fice of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) in the lead, Thailand has produced three national reports to the CBD, and the fourth was submitted on 30 March 2009. The structure of the fourth national report is as follows: Chapter I: Overview of Biodiversity Status, Trends and Threats Chapter II: Current Status of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans Chapter III: Sectoral and cross-sectoral integration or mainstreaming of biodiversity consideration Chapter IV: Conclusions Progress towards the 2010 Target and Implementation of the Strategic Plan Appendix I: Information concerning reporting Party and preparation of National Report Appendix II: Further sources of information Appendix III: Progress towards Targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and Programme of Work on Protected Areas Appendix IV: National indicators used on the report (optional) The preparation of the 4th National Report (4NR) required updating previous biodiversity status reports, which formed part of the annual environmental status report. This required collecting updated information and data from the national Clearing House Mechanism (CHM), scientific papers, proceedings, reports, newsletters, and others. Data was also gathered from relevant agencies related to biodiversity such as the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Department of Marine and Coastal Resources; and Department of Agriculture. Brainstorming sessions were also held with biodiversity scientists and managers, and a peer review was conducted to help draft the biodiversity status report. Discussions were also held with other stakeholders such as NGOs, business sector and other relevant organizations. In drafting the CBD 4NR, ONEP experienced problems with the harmo-

36

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SPECIAL REPORTS hopes to use standard or common information modules, and develop outcomeoriented reporting that goes beyond the 2010 biodiversity target.

CBD and CITES harmonized The harmonization of reporting to the CBD and CITES stems from the following: • Development of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) of the CBD. • Decision 14.15: The CITES Plants Committee shall collaborate with the GSPC of the CBD especially regarding target XI “No Species of Wild Flora Endangered by International Trade.” • Other issues related to flora species are included in the CITES Appendices, and the CITES Secretariat shall communicate the results of its work in the context of its MOU with the CBD Secretariat (Directed to the Plants Committee and the Secretariat). nization of report categories, as well as streamlining data for use in other conventions. There was also a need to increase technical capabilities to help manage data for the report. Thailand began initiatives to harmonize reporting to the various MEAs based on CBD 8th Conference of Parties (COP 8) Decision VIII/14 in 2006 in Brazil. The decision welcomed the initiatives of five biodiversity-related conventions to encourage parties to harmonize the gathering and management of data for the biodiversity-related conventions at the national level. Some of the measures used by Thailand to harmonize reporting at the national level include the: • Development of National Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) • Conduct of national consultations and stakeholder meetings to ensure reliable sources of data and information • Establishment of Joint Committee between concerned agencies To harmonize national reports with other global information, Thailand ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SPECIAL REPORTS • CITES PC17 in April 2008. The harmonization of reports to CBD and CITES focused on efforts in the areas of: • National Policy and Strategy – including national action plans and budgets, as well as Council of Minister Resolutions • Research and Monitoring – efforts of the National Research Institution and other research organizations • Implementation and Laws Enforcement - the Thailand– Wildlife Enforcement Network (WEN) Action Plan on Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora 2009 was developed to conduct a Wildlife Trade Review and establish a CITES Enforcement Task Force Network for Exchange of Law Enforcement Information Regarding Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora • Capacity Building. • Public Awareness

CITES and GSPC At the 13th Meeting of the CITES Plants Committee in 2003, CITES was identified as the lead agency for target 11 of the CBD GSPC. Therefore, the working group began considering the extent to which CITES can contribute to

CITES Seminar and Training on Public Awareness

target 11, noting that CITES is actually contributing to many additional targets of the GSPC, at least in part. Therefore each of the 16 targets of the GSPC were examined to see where CITES work has contributed. Based on this analysis, indicators or measures of achievement linking to the CITES Strategic Plan could be developed to demonstrate the considerable progress CITES is making towards achieving Target 11. Other organisations can contribute significantly to the identification of plant species threatened by trade, notably the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) through its Red List and Wildlife Trade Programme, and can develop solutions to ensure that trade is sustainable, working in partnership with CITES. It was agreed that if CITES is to act effectively as the lead agency for Target 11, additional resources may need to be found. Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding should be sought, e.g. for funding regional periodic reviews of species endangered by trade, and regional collaboration in order to achieve this target. The article is based on Thailand’s Country Report presentation, and a presentation by Pirom Charoensri, CITES Management Authority of Thailand for Plants on CBD and CITES, at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-related Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 15-17 April 2009.

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SPECIAL REPORTS

LAO PDR

CASE STUDY ON ORCHID EXPORTS

Recommendations for using the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to increase sustainable orchid trade By Assoc. Prof. VICHITH LAMXAY Botanist, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science National University of Laos1

T

he importance of CITES for allowing farmers to better manage and trade valuable plant and animal species, many of which are significant components of agrobiodiversity2, is increasingly being understood. There is growing attention domestically and regionally on the over-harvesting of wild orchids from Lao PDR’s forested areas, many of which now exist as forest fragments and as forest areas within working farmscapes. The Lao CITES Management and Scientific Authorities are concerned by reports of thousands of tons of orchids crossing the border each year to China in the north, and to Thailand in the south. 1 2

The author may be contacted at vlamxay@yahoo.com. Agrobiodiversity, according to the FAO, refers to “[t]he variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture, including crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries”.

This report is a product of the project “Piloting CITES Implementation in Lao PDR: Strengthening Institutions through Case Studies”. Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). This initiative was carried out by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and partners, including the National University of Laos and TRAFFIC, in 2007-2008.The initiative provided support to the Government of Lao PDR (GoL) to fulfill the international obligations that it committed to by acceding to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 30 May 2004. ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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Staff from the National University of Laos, Faculty of Biology, and members of the agribusiness community are similarly concerned about the decreasing numbers of orchids found in the country’s National Protected Areas (NPAs). Orchids are a potentially valuable tradable resource for Lao farmers and a good example of how commerce and environmental management can work together to provide a “green” opportunity for economic development, if managed and regulated properly. The relevance and widespread interest in orchid harvesting and trade for upland farming communities makes it an ideal case study for improving CITES implementation. The GoL has been working to implement CITES since it became a party to the convention in 2004. With technical assistance from IUCN Lao PDR, the Government has identified a Scientific and a Management Authority and put in place a National Wildlife Law (revised in 2008), as per the requirements of the convention. IUCN has also assisted with the implementation by translating and producing copies of the convention in the Lao language; coordinating 3 4

a CITES implementation workshop for Customs, Police and Forestry officers; publishing a CITES implementation manual; producing relevant scientific and policy briefs; and assisting with multi-stakeholder preparations for the 14th Conference of Parties (CoP). With the CITES awareness-raising activities completed and with renewed national mobilization for institutional implementation of the convention at the central level, the GoL and IUCN Lao PDR are entering into a new phase of CITES implementation. This requires an intensified mobilization of technical resources and coordination of a wide range of stakeholders, yet offers an opportunity for real change in institutional processes toward meeting the objectives of the convention.

Objective of this study The objective of this case study is to present the Lao CITES Management and Scientific Authorities with recommendations on how to implement and enforce CITES in a way that improves regulation and offers incentives for fostering a sustainable orchid industry in Lao PDR that cultivates, produces and exports orchids in line with the convention.

Schuiteman, A and E.F. de Vogel. 2000. Orchid Genera of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Bouakhaykhone, Svensuksa and Vichith Lamxay. 2005. Field Guide: The Wild Orchids of Lao PDR.

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Orchids and the orchid trade in Lao PDR Status of information on orchid species Orchids can be terrestrial herbs (growing on the ground), epiphytic plants (growing on trees or rocks), saprophytic herbs (growing on raw humus), and occasionally vines, with rhizomes, corms (pseudo bulbs, i.e. underground bulb-shaped stems) or root tubers. Orchids as a species feature many beautiful colored flowers. The Orchidaceae family includes 775 genera and 19,500 species around the world. Thailand is home to 162 genera and 1,100 species, Viet Nam has 142 genera and 751 species, and Cambodia has 61 genera and 164 species. In Lao PDR, 85 genera and 335 species have been identified so far3. The current checklist of orchids grew out of a UNESCO project entitled “Systematic Study of the Wild Orchids in Lao PDR and their Conservation”. The first project was carried out during 2005 and 146 wild orchids were identified4. The some 700 living orchid samples, collected in various localities in Lao PDR, formed the basis of the first

SPECIAL REPORTS orchid collection at the National University of Laos (NUoL) in Vientiane. The ORCHIS project5, carried out during 2006-2008, aimed to develop an identification tool for a significant part of the orchid flora of Lao PDR. Facilitating the monitoring and regulation of the trade in these plants was another main goal. In this project, 1400 living plants were collected and were subsequently cultivated in NUoL. 478 species in 105 genera were recorded, including 11 endemic species. Economically, the most important orchids in Lao PDR are: • Three species of Anoectochilus (nha bai lai) • Six species of Aerides (kou lab) • More than 64 species of Bulbophyllum (sing to) • 18 species of Coelogyne (euang tiane) • 85 species of Dendrobium (euang vai) • More than three species of Eria (euang tan) • Two species of Flickingeria (mak pong peng) • Four species of Paphiopedilum (bia lai) • Four species of Rhynchostylis (chang ka) • Two species of Vanda (khem khao) and • Two species of Vanilla (va ni la)6

nurseries and/or commercial nurseries (for example, in Oudomxay Province). A limited number of species are also propagated through tissue culture (almost all occurring at NUoL). Since 2006, NUoL and the Vientiane Orchidees Company have been collaborating to produce legal Lao orchid species for the local and export trade. At NUoL, two solid culture mediums and one liquid culture medium were used and 26 wild orchid species were tested for in-vitro propagation. Only two species (Rhynchostulis gigantea and Vanda brumea) were well generated in plantlets and well developed in potting mixtures in the orchid nursery. Some seedlings are kept at the orchid nursery of the Faculty of Science, NUoL and at least four species of wild orchid have been tested for micropropagatation at STEA (Science, Technology and Environment Agency, now known as the Water Resources and Environment Administration, WREA). Two formula liquid culture mediums and eight formula solid culture mediums were tested. Up until now, all samples were well developed and some seedlings were kept at the nursery of the Biotechnology Center, Vientiane. No orchid garden is currently cultivat-

ing the plants by seedlings from in-vitro culture or by tissue culture. The trade and uses of orchids in Lao PDR Almost all orchids are associated with horticulture and trade. Whole epiphytic orchids in Lao PDR are often collected by picking them from hosts, but also sometimes by cutting trees or branches. Many other orchids are collected including whole plants from the ground from all types of forest, but mainly from dry dipterocarp forest or sandstone plateaus. Yield depends on available materials, travel time, harvesting methods and the type of orchid. The export of wild and/or semicultivated orchids, in any form, such as whole living plants (which occur all around the country), dried stems (which can be seen in Oudomxay and Phongsaly provinces) or otherwise semi-processed, is now illegal in Lao PDR unless CITES permits are obtained. However, there are many types of illegal activities in the orchid trade in Lao PDR. Focusing on the north of the country, orchids are mainly exported to China for medicinal uses. For horticultural purposes, villagers or individual collectors sell

Based on a collection of wild orchid species, as well as herbarium data and literature, at present more than 700 living samples of species are being cultivated at NUoL. According to the most recent overview of the orchid flora of Indochina (Seidenfaden, 1992) about 335 species are known to occur in Lao PDR. Considering the orchid richness of the neighbouring countries, it has been estimated that more than 800 species may eventually be recorded from Lao PDR7. Propagation status In Lao PDR, a limited number of species are temporarily cultivated in huge 5 6

7

Vanda

Open (Re)source for Commerce in Horticulture aided by species Identification Systems (ORCHIS), www.orchisasia.org Grejmans, Martin, Sounthone Ketphanh, Vichith Lamxay and Khamphone Sengdara. 2007. Non Timber Forest Products in Lao PDR: A Manual of 100 Commercial and Traditional Products. ORCHIS. 2009. “Preliminary checklist of the Orchidaceae of Laos”.

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SPECIAL REPORTS plants taken from nature to local or foreign people and commercial nurseries without any reference to sustainable harvesting. There is less knowledge about the use of orchids in Chinese medicine. This practice mainly utilizes species of Dendrobium spp. and Anoectochilus spp. Dendrobium spp. that are collected all over Lao PDR and accumulated around the country for further selection and processing. Hundreds of thousands of plants are taken this way from the wild. Because of over-collecting for this purpose, Anoectochilus lylei (Jewel orchid), for example, has already become very rare in Lao PDR. However, in the author’s opinion, the greatest threats to orchids in the country are over-harvesting of whole plants (due to a high market demand), as well as habitat loss (such as forest degradation). Collecting orchids from the wild on the scale witnessed by the author in Oudomxay and Phongsaly provinces during a field study for the ORCHIS project (April-May 2007) is an unsustainable practice. Plants are typically 10 years old or more, and moreover their export cannot be permitted under the CITES rules. In the current situation, all the plants

collected from the wild for the Chinese medicine market cannot be legally exported.

Regulation of the orchid trade in Lao PDR Under CITES All wild orchid species are protected under CITES rules. No wild orchid can be exported in any form (living, dried, or otherwise processed) without CITES permits. For example, the export of dried wild orchid stems on a massive scale to China is not legal under CITES even though it is still practiced in Lao PDR. CITES has a special provision for exchanges between registered scientific institutes. At present, the Faculty of Science of NUoL is a registered scientific institution8 under CITES. This makes it easier for NUoL to become a partner in international projects that require the exchange of CITES regulated material. The exchange of fresh and samples in alcohol or spirit material with partner institutions is carried out in order to: • Confirm identifications • Describe new species • Study development and culti-

Dendrobium spp. 8

Registration CITES Code Number: LA 001. See www.cites.org/common/reg/e_si.html.

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vation requirements of living plants Domestic trade CITES does not apply to local trade inside Lao PDR. Special protection laws are therefore necessary to regulate this domestic trade. At present, there is a quotation system at the provincial level. These quotas, however, are not based on population studies and may not lead to sustainable utilization. Legal trade of cultivated orchids As mentioned above, a number of Lao wild orchids are valuable from a commercial point of view, such as those with attractive flowers (horticultural use) and those used for medicinal purposes. Since orchids are slow growing plants, harvesting from the wild at a large scale is not a sustainable practice. Instead, orchids have to be propagated artificially and cultivated in nurseries. A beginning has been made by Vientiane Orchidees and NUoL to establish a micro propagation laboratory to grow orchids from seed by tissue culture. In this way orchids can be traded without endangering wild populations.

SPECIAL REPORTS Case study of the orchid trade The following information and analyses are based on a case study of the orchid trade in Xiengkhuang Province (see map below for location) and several additional places with high levels of orchid collection, cultivation and/or export. Indeed, the most significant operation of orchid cultivation for export is that of a Chinese company in Oudomxay Province. For a more comprehensive picture of the situation, it is recommended that more data be obtained from the Oudomxay orchid nursery in question.

Species identification and analysis A first and vital step in the orchid trade is to carry out some scientific research on orchids, particularly species identification and analysis. For example, key questions include: • How many species of orchids do companies need to cultivate at their nurseries? • Where are the sources of mother plants? • What is the status of populations occurring in the area? What about from other locations around the country? • What are their correct scientific names? How to find their scientific name?

Only qualified scientists/botanists understand the scientific processes required for the identification of species. They look for many things to identify species, such as: • Material/specimens/samples from local officers • Reference resources, such as books, monograph, and indexes • Collaboration between Lao botanists and foreign botanists • Exchange of material between Lao PDR and overseas to compare specimens

their functions and economic value, as well as how to collaborate effectively between local offices and central research institutions.

• Information on conservation status, economic value, local potential value, etc

Orchid production and export The third step is producing and exporting the orchids. Up until now, no companies in Xiengkhuang Province, or indeed in Lao PDR, utilize the best methods of orchid propagation. In the case of Xiangkhouang, in propagation, the wild mother plants were collected from the forest but were only planted on rocks or bark of trees. Yet during this time the company was exporting orchid stems, which, given the above, could have only been sourced from the wild. Studies on methods of propagation (both micro-propagation and vegetative character propagation) should be carried out and best practices in orchid produc-

It is also important that the scientific process for obtaining a scientific name for a newly identified species is followed - the correct scientific name of economic plant species is a very important factor for CITES regulation and evaluation. In the case study at Xiengkhuang, of the many species that are exported to Viet Nam and China, at the provincial and district level, nobody knew about their scientific names and their economic value. Therefore, it is vital that we improve our knowledge on orchids,

Mother sources of wild orchids The second step for orchid growers and traders involves selecting, harvesting, transporting and controlling the mother sources of wild orchids. There is a need to focus only on the required species, to promote sustainable harvesting and to control the transportation of mother sources. The marketing chain of mother sources should also be regulated. The number of mother sources compared with the whole target area of a garden or cultivated area should be regulated, along with the methods of plantation for each target species. Companies can export seedlings from gardens at least 3-5 years after starting their growth. Therefore, these should be separated according to the quota of export products and the quota of mother sources. In addition, the Lao CITES authorities must continue to observe and regulate the orchid products that are exported to determine whether they are seedlings from gardens or from nature.

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Flickingeria

tion be promoted. The monitoring and evaluating of companies wishing to export orchids should also be carried out.

Further recommendations for best practice • All species of orchids in Lao PDR should be strictly protected and conserved. • Only seedlings from micropropagation should be permitted to be exported or be assigned a quota for local and national trade. Therefore all companies, which need to propagate orchids for export should be building and developing micro-propagation laboratories or tissue culture laboratories. • Training of customs officials and other stakeholders in orchid identification should be carried out. In order to enforce regulations, officials have to be able to identify wildlife that is being exported or collected. For example, people may try to export rare or endangered wild collected orchids with a permit that was issued for cultivated hybrids. 44

Vanilla

• NGOs and/or associations should be encouraged to participate in monitoring the trade of endangered plants and animals. Their staff are also interested in the development and use of a tool to identify orchids and other forms of wildlife. For example, a graphic identification tool, like multimedia orchid species identification software, will be used for future training sessions of customs officials and other interested parties (such as CITES, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Economic Police, research institutes, postal workers and Provincial Agriculture and Forestry officers who work at border checkpoints). This tool is multilingual and easily used without botanical knowledge. It will enable the better identification of orchid species. • Communications material, such as field guides and leaflets, should be produced and distributed. • Further collaborative activities should be pursued, such as:

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collaboration with the Lao PDR CITES Management Authority to analyze current orchid trad regulations and CITES permitting processes; engagement with other partners doing work in orchid conservation; and engagement with regional experts and regional processes. References Bouakhaykhone, Svensuksa and Vichith Lamxay. 2005. Field Guide: The Wild Orchids of Lao PDR. National University of Laos, Manthatoulath Printing, Vientiane, Lao PDR. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2004. “What is Agrobiodiversity?” From the Building on Gender, Agrobiodiversity and Local Knowledge Training Manual. Grejmans, Martin, Sounthone Ketphanh, Vichith Lamxay and Khamphone Sengdara. 2007. Non Timber Forest Products in Lao PDR: A Manual of 100 Commercial and Traditional Products. Netherland Development Organization (SNV), Vientiane, Lao PDR. ORCHIS Project. 2009. “Open (Re)source for Commerce in Horticulture aided by species Identification Systems (ORCHIS)”. http://orchisasia. org/summary.htm ORCHIS Project. 2009. “Preliminary checklist of the Orchidaceae of Laos”. http://www.orchisasia. org/orchids%20list.html Schuiteman, A and E.F. de Vogel. 2000. Orchid Genera of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. National Herbarium Nederland, Leiden.

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF A CONSOLIDATED REPORTING TEMPLATE BY PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES

A

project coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) and the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with funding from the Agency for International Development (AusAID), aimed to assist Pacific Island Countries (PIC) in streamlining national reporting to various biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The objective was to reduce the burden of national reporting by reducing duplication in reporting, and making the reporting process simpler and less resource-intensive.

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In 2007, four options were put forward to streamline reporting to the following MEAs, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), and World Heritage Convention (WHC). These were: Option 1: Consolidated reporting template for the biodiversity-related MEAs Option 2: Tailoring State of the Environment reports to meet the requirements for biodiversity-related MEAs Option 3: Using the proposed SPREP Country Profiles as a template to report on the biodiversity-related MEAs Option 4: Sub-regional reporting approach to the biodiversity-related MEAs SPREP members endorsed Option One: Consolidated reporting template for the biodiversity-related MEAs. DEWHA was then tasked with the development and trial of a consolidated reporting template to the five biodiversity-related MEAs.

Draft consolidated reporting template To develop the template, background research and analysis were conducted to determine the following: • Reporting capacity of PICs 46

• Information requirements for past and current national reporting formats • Past national reports submitted by contracting parties • Feedback from MEA Secretariats on national reports • Work by other agencies relating to MEA reporting The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) provided key information to the research. The process in developing a consolidated reporting template also involved the development of common themes (or sections) based on the UNEP & UNEP-WCMC model. Questions were taken from current and past reporting formats for biodiversityrelated MEAs, and other questions were incorporated that meet the majority of information requirements for the biodiversity-related MEAs. This resulted in a template that streamlines and simplifies the separate reporting requirements for the five biodiversity-related MEAs into one. PICs can then produce one national report per reporting period (potentially every three years) for any of the five biodiversity-related MEAs. The template comprises a core document, and five ‘Supplementary Information’ sections – one section for each of the five biodiversityrelated MEAs. The potential benefits of the template are: • Reduction in the amount of time

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and resources spent by PICs preparing national reports for the biodiversity-related MEAs Reporting template tailored specifically for PICs • Simplified structure that reduces duplication

Feedback on the template Feedback was sought on the template from a range of sources in May and June 2008, including PICs, SPREP, UNEP and UNEP-WCMC, and MEA Focal Points (in the trial PICs and Australia). A trial of the consolidated reporting template was also conducted in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati and Samoa. The trial was done through workshops in each of the trial countries on the template involving MEA National Focal Points, government officials and other stakeholders. The objective of the trial was essentially to ‘road-test’ the consolidated reporting template to determine its suitability for use in the Pacific. The procedure involved: • Assessing the suitability of the questions • Understanding national data/information management systems • Identifying gaps and difficulties with reporting • Understanding coordination of reporting across government, non-government organisations and the private sector in PICs

SPECIAL REPORTS • Drafting national reports using the template Based on the trial, the participants agreed that the draft reporting template: • Was a flexible, tailor-made product for the Pacific; • Reduces time and funding required for national reporting; • Reduces duplication in national reporting; • Provides direct assistance with MEA reporting; • Represents an incentive to undertake national reporting ‘inhouse’; • Facilitates and improves Focal Point engagement and consultation; and • Provides an incentive for improved whole-of-government and private sector consultation The trial raised some issues for consideration, such as the value of including the World Heritage Convention (WHC) in the template due to the bio-

diversity focus of the template, and the length and complexity of the template. For many PICs, there is significant value in having the WHC incorporated into the consolidated reporting template since for many Pacific islanders, cultural heritage sites are intrinsically linked to the natural environment. In terms of the length of the template, PICs only have to complete supplementary information for MEAS to which they are party. There is also the potential for using Adobe LiveCycle to work on national reports. Overall, feedback on the template has been positive. Trial PICs were supportive of the consolidated reporting template and the possibility of extending the trial of the consolidated reporting process in the Pacific. The results of the trial were then presented to the 19th SPREP Meeting in September 2008. Here, the SPREP Members agreed, pending formal consultation with the MEA Secretariats, to broaden the trial of the consolidated reporting template to all self-governing PICs in 2009.

The consolidated template was presented in consultations with various convention secretariats. While the CBD and CITES were generally supportive of the template, the secretariats of CMS and WHC both noted difficulties in supporting a competing reporting process to those already in place.

Next steps Following the trial, self-governing PICS will then work on the development of national reports using the consolidated reporting template. There are also discussions on the possibility of transferring the project to SPREP or other intergovernmental organisations to be carried forward in the future. The article is based on a presentation by Melissa Jaques of the Australian Government Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) at the ASEAN Workshop on Harmonization of Reporting to Biodiversity-related Conventions held in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 15-17 April 2009.

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„

INDONESIA

Ujung Kulon National Park

T

his national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatau. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest – particularly for the study of inland volcanoes – it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat. 48

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PROFILES Ujung Kulon National Park (120,551 ha) is the only remaining lowland forest site in Java. It received modest protection status in 1910 when it was declared a hunting reserve. In 1921, its status was upgraded into a nature reserve, and in 1980, it was declared as one of the first five national parks in Indonesia. In 1992, the Park and the Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve (2,500 ha) was declared Indonesia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve comprises the central island of Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatau), and the peripheral islands of Rakata, Payang and Sertung with their surrounding coral reefs. These peripheral islands form the remnants of a single andesitic volcano (Ancient Krakatau) which exploded and collapsed some 1,500 years ago leaving three remnant cones. These eventually coalesced into an island, Krakatau, which erupted on 26 and 27 August 1883 killing more than 36,000 people and expelling some 18 to 21 cubic kilometers of material. Subsequent volcanic activity began 40 years after the main explosion, eventually resulting in the emergence of Anak Krakatau in 1930, which has now reached 181 m in height

and 2 km in diameter. The area continues to experience volcanic activity, with significant eruptions taking place in 1952, 1972, 1992 and 1994.

Flora Due to anthropogenic and natural modifications, particularly the Krakatau eruption of 1883, primary lowland forest occupies only 50% of the area, and is largely confined to Gunung Payung and Honje Massifs. The Lagerstroemia speciosa is one of the dominant tree species in the closed canopy forest on Gunung Payung, which has an understory of low palms and herbs. Primary forest also occurs on Pulau Peucang and is typified by an open canopy with numerous emergents up to 40 m in height. The higher slopes are characterized by trees such as Castanopsis sp., while the understory is characterized by extensive moss growth, and the occurrence of epiphytic orchids such as Asplenium nidus and ferns such as Freycinetia sp. Vegetation of the Telanca Plateau and central lowlands is a more open secondary forest, dominated by palms, which may occur in almost pure stands interspersed with taller canopy trees.

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Banteng

Lesser Mouse Deer

Alternating with palm forests are dense stands of bamboo and Zingiberaceae, such as Achasma spp., Nicolaia spp. and Lontana camara. Occurring along the northern promontory of Ujung Kulon near Tanjung Alang-alang is a seasonally inundated freshwater swamp forest. Dominant tree species include Typha angustifolia and Cyperus sp., of which the most common is C. pilosus. Mangrove forests occur in a broad belt along the northern side, extending northwards as far as the Cikalong River, as well as to the north of Pulau Handeuleum and on the northeast coast of Pulau Panaitan. Other coastal vegetation types include pioneering pescapre formations along the upper edge of beaches, above the high tide mark. Characteristic species include Ipomoea pescaprae, Spinifex littoreus and Canavalia maritima. A number of artificially created grasslands are maintained as grazing grounds for ungulates. At least 50 species of rare plants are present.

alpinus), Bengal cat (Felis bengalensis), Javan mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), and several civets, including binturong (Arctictis binturong). Of the primates, the endemic species Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch) and Javan leaf monkey (Presbytis comata) occur locally along with the endemic silver leaf monkey (P. cristata), while the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is found throughout the park. Several ungulates range within the park, of which the largest and most abundant is banteng (Bos javanicus), with a population of around 700 in Ujung Kulon Peninsula and Gunung Honje. Other species include muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus), rusa deer (Cervus timorensis) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). A rich avifauna is present with over 270 species recorded, including green peafowl (Pavo muticus), two species of jungle fowl (Gallus gallus and G. varius), reef heron (Egretta sacra), dusky grey heron (Ardea sumatrana), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus), whitebellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), ruddy kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda) and frigate bird (Fregatta ariel). In addition, three species of storks, 11 species of pigeons and doves, and 16 species of cuckoos also occur. Terrestrial reptiles and amphibians include two species of python, namely reticulated python (Python reticulates) and Indian python (P. molurus), as well as two crocodiles, false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) and estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is known to nest within the park. The marine areas of Ujung Kulon support some of the richest fish fauna in the archipelago.

Fauna Ujung Kulon is the last remaining viable natural refuge for Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), one of the rarest species of mammals and one of the most endangered rhinoceros species. Fewer than 60 animals are believed to exist in two known populations. Between 40 and 60 individuals inhabit Ujung Kulon National Park, and between three and five individuals are part of a likely non-viable population in the Cat Loc section of Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam. Other notable mammals include leopard (Panthera pardus), wild dog or dhole (Cuon 50

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PROFILES

Collared Kingfisher

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Deep water species include barracuda, sailfish, tuna, skipjack and sharks, while reef fish include 15 species of butterfly fish and four species of triggerfish. Notable fish of the intertidal and brackish zones include archer fish and mudskippers. In Krakatau, some 40 species of resident birds have been recorded, including the black-naped fruit pigeon (Ptilinopus melanospila), large brown cuckoo dove (Macropygia phasianella), emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica), collared kingfisher (Halcyon chloris) and yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier). Two species normally associated with mangroves, mangrove flycatcher (Cyornis rufigastra) and mangrove whistler (Pachycephala cinerea), remain despite the loss of their favored habitat.

algae for agar production, and predation of turtle eggs from nesting beaches by monitor lizards and wild boar. In addition, Selamet Datang Bay and its coral reefs have undergone siltation due to deforestation activities on Gunung Honje. Oil pollution from passing tankers remains a potential threat.

Threats Poaching is the most serious threat to wildlife resources in Ujung Kulon, particularly the Javan rhinoceros. The Javan rhinos are not easy targets since they inhabit dense tropical forests. However, they are vulnerable to poachers who use snares and traps to capture and kill the rhino so its horn can then be removed. Pressure on natural resources is increasing throughout conservation areas in Indonesia, including Ujung Kulon, while the financial and organizational support for the park and its staff is being reduced by government. Further, the decentralization of management of natural resources to the district government level puts pressure on local governments to generate revenue. Other threats include illegal commercial fishing within park boundaries, collection of

Conservation Management The management staff of the Ujung Kulon National Park works closely with UNESCO Jakarta to build the capacity of staff to better protect the natural resources of the park. The declaration of the park as a World Heritage Site has raised awareness among stakeholders of the significance of the Ujung Kulon, thus generating greater public support for its protection. This is also the basis of a conservation education campaign to generate pride and awareness among staff and community members so that they will understand the need to protect the biodiversity of Ujung Kulon. The World Heritage status has also helped generate more funding for the park. Many conservation organizations have also provided their assistance in protecting the park’s biodiversity. These include the International Rhino Foundation, which actively works with park management in protecting the Javan rhinoceros. References: The Encyclopedia of Earth (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Ujung_ Kulon_National_Park_and_Krakatau_Nature_Reserve,_Indonesia) International Rhino Foundation (http://www.rhinos-irf.org/ ujungkulon/) World Heritage Center (http://whc.unesco.org/en/286)

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„

THAILAND

Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries

T

he sanctuaries, which are relatively intact, encompass four biogeographic realms. They contain almost all the forest types of mainland Southeast Asia and protect one of the world’s largest dry tropical forests. Located in the Kanchanaburi, Tak and Uthai Thani provinces of Thailand, the sanctuaries were declared a World Heritage Site in 1991.

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MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

History of establishment 1972 - Thungyai – Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary established under the 1960 Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act, which was re-enacted in 1992. 1974 - Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary established under the same Act. 1990 - Nam Choan Forest Reserve saved from damming for addition to Thungyai.

The present area is 577,464 hectares comprising Thungyai-Naresuan (320,000 ha) and Huai Kha Khaeng (257,464 ha). The sanctuaries constitute a major component of the protected areas cluster in western Thailand, comprising Sri Nakarin National Park (153,200 ha), Chaloem Rattankosin National Park (5,900 ha), Erawan National Park (55,000 ha), Sai Yok National Park (50,000 ha) and Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary (85,855 ha). They both adjoin Umphang Wildlife “Rings of Stones”, so placed to mark the site of buried treasures, are common in some parts of the sanctuary (e.g. near the Sap Far Pa Guard Station), but none has been investigated by archaeologists. There may be sites of interest to palaeo-anthropologists, but the area has not been surveyed (The Encyclopedia of Earth).

Sanctuary (251,600 ha) to the north, which has been demarcated but not yet gazetted. In total, there are 1,208,300 ha of protected areas in the complex. The terrain is generally hilly with many permanent and seasonal streams. The highest peak (Khao Pai Huai Kha Khaeng) lies in the extreme north of the sanctuary. The sanctuaries also features valleys that are interspersed with small lowland plains, as well as major catchment areas.

Wildlife They are home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77 percent of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50 percent of the large birds and 33 percent of the land vertebrates found in this region (World Heritage Centre). Flora The highest slopes are covered with hill evergreen forest, and slopes above 600 m generally support seasonal dry semi-evergreen forest. This is tall, dense, stratified, always dominated by dipterocarps, and may appear to be evergreen in wet areas such as the central uplands. At lower altitudes, mixed deciduous and bamboo forests predominate, with dry deciduous dipterocarp forest occurring in areas with poor or shallow soil. There are also areas of

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PROFILES savanna forest and grassland. Fauna The fauna of both Thungyai and Huai Kha Khaeng includes an unusual mix of species with Indo-Chinese, Indo-Burmese and SinoHimalayan affinities, plus a strong Sundaic element. A small proportion is Palaearctic. The sanctuaries support at least a third of all terrestrial vertebrates known from Southeast Asia, almost two-thirds of the region’s large mammals and many of its large birds. These species include some 120 mammals, 400 birds, 96 reptiles, 43 amphibians and 113 freshwater fish, with a number of species suspected but not confirmed (IUCN, 2004). Thirty-four internationally threatened species are also found within the two sanctuaries (IUCN, 1991). Records show that 67 mammals can be found in Huai Kha Khaeng, including serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), hog deer (Cervus porcinus) and wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee). The only herd of wild water buffalo in Thailand, some 25-50 animals, can be found here but may have been interbreeding with domestic animals. Five macaque species are present in the park, namely rhesus (Macaca mulatta), crab-eating (M. fascicularis), pig-tailed (M. nemestrina), stumptailed (M. arctoides) and Assam (M. assamensis). Other primates include silver leaf monkey (Presbytis cristata), Phayre’s leaf monkey (P. phayrei) and white-handed gibbon (Hylobates lar). Other threatened mammals include Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus), oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea), smooth-coated otter (Lutra perspicillata), tiger (Panthera tigris), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and leopard (Panthera pardus). Thungyai has not yet been comprehensively surveyed, but is also known to support a significant proportion of Thailand’s fauna. A herd of 50 gaur was seen in 1985, making it the largest herd then recorded in Thailand. Many of the recorded species of birds in the sanctuaries are now rare in Thailand. These include the white-winged wood duck (Cairina scutulata), red-headed vulture (Torgos calvus), lesser fish eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis), Kalij pheasant (Lophura leucomelana), Burmese peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum), green peafowl (Pavo muticus), and Asian paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi). Also present are several nationally rare species of reptiles and amphibians, including Indian monitor (Varanus bengalensis), giant Asiatic toad (Bufo asper) and Asiatic giant frog (Rana blythii).

Threats Huai Kha Khaeng Sanctuary has 54

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PROFILES

been threatened by poaching, agricultural development, logging and dam projects. Dam construction has reduced the buffer zone of the park and facilitated encroachment of human settlements.

Conservation Management The two sanctuaries are administered separately by the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Division of the Royal Forest Department, within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. At present the sanctuaries form part of Thailand’s Western Forest Complex of eleven national parks, including two proposed parks, and six wildlife sanctuaries, covering an area of 1,873,000 ha. The Western Forest Complex Ecosystem Management Program (WEFCOM) will help manage and treat the World Heritage site as one ecosystem, within and including the extensive surrounding protected areas. References: The Encyclopedia of Earth (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Huai_ Kha_Khaeng_Wildlife_Sanctuary,_Thailand) UNEP-WCMC (http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/pdf/ Thungyai-%20HKK.pdf)

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VIET NAM

Phong NhaKe Bang National Park

P

hong Nha – Ke Bang National Park (PNKBNP) is located in the middle of the Annamite Mountain Range, 40km from Dong Hoi City, 500 km from Hanoi, and is close to the Viet Nam – Lao PDR border to the west. The 85,754 ha park is a site of outstanding national and global conservation importance, comprising an impressive landscape of forest covered karst limestone seamed with over 300 caves, underground rivers and fascinating rock formations. 56

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PROFILES Phong Nha – Ke Bang displays an impressive amount of evidence of earth’s history. It is a site of very great importance for increasing understanding of the geologic, geomorphic and geo-chronological history of the region. The vast area contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers. The karst formation of the park evolved since the Palaeozoic period (some 400 million years ago) and is thus the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The caves demonstrate discrete episodic sequences of events, leaving behind various levels of fossil passages, formerly buried and now uncovered palaeokarst, and evidence of major changes in the routes of underground rivers. On the surface, there is a striking series of landscapes, ranging from deeply dissected ranges and plateaus to an immense polje. The plateau is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in Southeast Asia.

Habitats The national park is 93.57 percent covered by forest, of which primary forest covers 83.74 percent. The Park contains diverse ecosystems such as mountain, karst and freshwater/river ecosystems. The park has a complicated geological structure, which has produced three types of topography and geomorphology. One type is the non-karst landforms, which consist of low, roundtop mountains. The other major type is karst landforms, which are characterised by old tropical karst. Extensive transitional landforms comprise an extremely complex intercalation of limestone massifs and terrigenous terrain with a diversity of rock types. The karst formation process has resulted in many features such as underground rivers, and dry, terraced, suspended, dendritic, and intersecting caves. The active river caves are divided into the nine caves of the Phong Nha system discharging to the Son River and the eight caves of the Vom system, discharging to the Chay River. The Phong Nha Cave is the most famous in the entire system, with a currently surveyed length of 44.5 km. Other extensive caves include the Vom cave at 15 km in length and the Hang Khe Rhy cave with a length of 18,902 m.

Cultural Heritage Some of the smallest ethnic groups in Viet Nam, the Arem, Ma Coong and Ruc ethnic groups live in two villages in the core zone of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. Until 1962, these indigenous people lived in the forest in houses made of bamboo and leaves or in the caves, living on forest products and hunting. They used simple tools and their clothes were made from the bark of a toxic forest tree (Antiaris toxicaria) and lianas. They are familiar with a number of economically valuable species, especially precious timber such as Mun and Hue (Diospyros spp., Dalbergia rimosa), and oil-extraction from species such as Tau (Hopea hainanensis) and many medicinal plants. The Phong Nha Cave has long been a site of religious and touristic importance, with an old Cham Temple discovered in the cave and it was a site of worship in the ninth and tenth centuries (The Encyclopedia of Earth).

419 plant species (including 28 orchid species) and 41 animal species. A total of 116 plant and 129 animal species are listed in the Viet Nam Red Data Book and the IUCN Red List. Recent discoveries in the last 10 years include new records for one plant, one bird, six reptiles, one amphibian, 12 species of fish and two butterfly species.

Flora The park provides habitats for 2,651 vascular plant species from 193 families and 906 genera. The current vascular plant list contains 116 threatened species, of which 62 species are listed in the Viet Nam Red Data Book and 79 species

Wildlife Surveys indicate the presence of 2,651 vascular plant species and 735 vertebrate animal species in Phong Nha - Ke Bang. Endemics encompass ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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PROFILES

Red-shanked Douc Langur

listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006. Significant species in the park include Cacelodrus rupetris, a large coniferous tree that is endemic to the limestone areas of Viet Nam. Many threatened plant species with very high values in the Park include Dipterocarpus kerrii, Dipterocarpus turbinatus, Dipterocarpus hasseltii, Hopea chinensis, Hopea hainanensis, Hopea mollissima, Hopea reticulata, Hopea siamensis, Vatica diospyroides, Dalbergia bariaensis, Dalbergia mammosa, Erythrophleum fordii, Hopea pierrei, and Vatica cinerea.

Fauna The massive ecosystems with a high percentage of forest cover in the Park are excellent habitats for animals. Results of faunal surveys from 1991 to 2006 have identified 735 vertebrate species, comprising 132 mammal species, 141 reptile and amphibian species, 338 bird species and 124 fish species. The 735 vertebrate species in the park include 127 threatened species, of which 91 are listed in the Viet Nam Red Data Book and 18 species are in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In particular, out of 41 endemic animal species, 30 species are endemic to Viet Nam, and 40 species are endemic to the Annamite Mountain Range (Viet Nam and Lao PDR) . There are 132 mammal species in Phong Nha - Ke Bang, of which 46 species are listed in the Viet Nam Red Data Book and 34 species are in the IUCN Red List. In addition, nine mammal species are endemic to the Annamite Range, of which two species are endemic to Viet Nam. Nine of 21 primate species in Viet Nam are recorded in the park. Three primate species are 58

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

endemic to the Annamite Mountain Range and these are Hatinh langur (a restricted range species) red-shanked douc langur and white-cheeked gibbon. Other notable mammal species include tiger, saola, parti-coloured flying squirrel, and dhole. A total of 46 of 107 bat species in Viet Nam have also been recorded in the park. Phong Nha and Ke Bang have been identified by BirdLife International in 2005 as two of more than 60 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Viet Nam. A total of 338 species of birds have been recorded, of which 20 species are in the Red Data Book of Viet Nam and 17 species are included in the IUCN Red List. In particular, seven bird species are endemic to the Annamite Mountain Range and four species are endemic to Viet Nam. The sooty babbler (Stachyris herberti) occurs only in the karst area of the Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP and in an adjacent karst area in Lao PDR. Other significant bird species are the Vietnamese pheasant (Lophura hatinhensis), Edward’s pheasant (Lophura edwardsi), and silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera). Phong Nha - Ke Bang is home to 96 reptile species and 45 amphibian species. Of these, 22 reptile and amphibian species are listed in the Red Data Book of Viet Nam and 18 species are in the IUCN Red List. Seven reptile species and two amphibian species are endemic to Viet Nam. One amphibian species (Rana megatymparum) and six reptiles have recently been described as new to science, namely: 1. Triceratolepidophis sieversorum 2. Cyrtodactylus phongnhakebangensis 3. Gekko scientiadventura 4. Tropidophorus noggei 5. Camalaria thanhi 6. Trimeresurus truongsonensis These seven species are restricted range species to Phong Nha Ke Bang NP and most probably to a small area in Lao PDR. One hundred twenty four fish species have been recorded in the park, of which four are listed in the Red Data Book of Viet Nam and five species are in the IUCN Red List. Thirteen fish species are restricted range species to the Phong Nha - Ke Bang NP, and 12 of them have recently been described as new species. Surveys have recorded 369 insect species, of which 270 species of butterflies constitute about one fifth of the number of butterflies in Viet Nam.

Threats A principal threat to the wildlife of the park is hunting, with a high local demand for wild

PROFILES List of Animal Species Orders

Families

Species

Endemics

Viet Nam Red Data Book

IUCN Red List

Mammal

11

30

132

2

46

34

Bird

18

57

338

4

20

17

Reptile

2

15

96 9

22

18

Amphibian

1

6

45

Fish

10

34

124

4

5

Total

42

142

735

92

74

Taxon

15

Source: Phong Nha-Ke Bang WHS

meat resulting in declines of species such as wild pig, binturong and primates. This has been reduced with the confiscation of guns but limited resources of the park management staff make it difficult to curb illegal activities. Illegal logging is a widespread problem, particularly for valuable species such as Go Mun wood (Diospyros spp.) and Go Hue wood (Dalbergia rimosa) and for the extraction of essential oils from trees such as Cinnamomum balansea. Rattan resources have reportedly been exhausted in several areas. Forest burning by cultivators and hunters has affected many areas near villages. Another potential threat is the rapid expansion in visitor numbers and the related infrastructure, which is being developed as part of the economic development of the region. This development focuses on the Phong Nha Cave, where problems of water pollution and damage to biodiversity are occurring. Measures to address this include training for staff and tourist guides, and establishing waste collection sites. Another major threat is forest fires, which is being addressed by strengthened fire control measures, education of local people practicing shifting cultivation, and a reforestation program.

Conservation Management At the national level, the park is the responsibility of the Forest Protection Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Direct responsibility for park management lies with the Phong Nha-Ke Bang Management Board, which is under the jurisdiction of the People’s Committee of Quang Binh Province. A section of the board oversees forest resources and biodiversity protection. It also conducts awareness raising and educational programs with local people and authorities, and imple-

Silver Pheasant

ments programs to raise the standard of living of people in the buffer zone. The conservation of cave systems, historical relict landscapes and the development of tourist services are conducted by the Phong Nha historical relict and landscape management board. The national park is included in the master plan for economic development in Quang Binh Province for 1997-2010 and the Transboundary Biodiversity Protection Plan between Lao PDR and Viet Nam. References: Flora and Fauna International (http://www.fauna-flora.org/phong. php) Phong Nha – Ke Bang World Heritage Site (http://www. phongnhakebang.vn/en/default.aspx) The Encyclopedia of Earth (http://www.eoearth.org/article/ Phong_Nha-Ke_Bang_National_Park,_Vietnam) World Heritage Center (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/951)

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BOOKMARKS

The Intricacies of Sharing the Benefits of Nature’s Resources

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he genes that make up plants, animals, and all living things are invaluable sources for many items that people now generally take for granted. For thousands of years, nature has provided the primary ingredients that drive various industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, horticulture, cosmetics, biotechnology and others. These genetic resources provide the basis for our food, drugs and many other household items. Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on genetic resources, the transfer of technologies which make use of those resources, participation in biotechnological research activities, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialisation of products based on genetic resources. The use of genetic resources in commercial products often drive billion dollar industries, and oftentimes the monetary rewards are not felt in the countries where the genetic materials come from.

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Thus, access to and benefits sharing (ABS) from genetic resources is one of the fundamental objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD recognises the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources and thus have the authority to determine access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties to the CBD also have the obligation to take appropriate measures with the aim of sharing the benefits derived from their use. In 2002, participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa called for the development of an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. At the regional level, ASEAN Member States (AMS) have treated ABS as a priority issue for regional collaboration and harmonization. In 2004, ASEAN countries finalized a draft ASEAN Framework Agreement on Access to, and Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from the Utilization of

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

Biological and Genetic Resources. The Framework is intended to facilitate coordinated actions by the AMS on ABS in the light of their shared biodiversity resources, help support national policies and regulations on ABS, and assist in capacity building. To assist the AMS in implementing the frameworks on access to and sharing of benefits from genetic resources, the ACB supported the conduct of the ASEAN Regional Workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources and Their Uses. The regional workshop was hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, through the Ministry of Environment, and was held in Siem Reap on 26-28 August 2009. The workshop aimed to provide a forum among AMS to discuss ABS issues and to be able to have a common understanding among AMS in relation to the draft document on International Regime on Access and Benefit-Sharing. The participants also discussed the status of ABS activities in their respective countries. The workshop provided the crucial initial step for ASEAN Member States to discuss ABS, which is very critical in terms of the overall sustainable development of the ASEAN region.

BOOKMARKS

Photos by Rolly Inciong, Leslie Jose and Larry Doctor

The very first MAD (Mangyan, Aeta and Dumagat) Tribal Games: Wisdom from the Wild By PERRY GIL S. MALLARI

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he Aetas of Luzon originally lived as foragers, moving from one place to another in search for food. If supply ran out in one place, they would move to another so nature could replenish itself. They never took more than their share. There was wisdom in how the Aetas treated the land and environmental experts are taking notice. The very first MAD (Mangyan, Aeta and Dumagat) Tribal Games, a joint project of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), held recently at the Clark Freeport Picnic Grounds in Pampanga, aims not only to promote the skills of indigenous peoples but also to recognize their key role in saving biodiversity.

Beyond sports Proudly clad in traditional loincloth, 40 Aetas came down from their homes in the mountains to participate in the games that include native archery, spear throwing, a running combat course with bow and arrow and a three-kilometer foot race. Jovy Mamawal, a coach of the Philippine Soft Tennis Association, acted as the game’s coordinator while members of the Philippine Archery Team assisted in facilitating the

various contests. Mamawal’s fluency in the Pampango dialect came in handy in conveying to the Aetas the dynamics of the games. While the focus of the first MAD Tribal Games was to showcase the physical culture of the indigenous people through their native skills in the use of the spear and the bow and arrow for hunting, the objective of the event was to revive the role of the various ethnic groups as the original guardians of natural biodiversity. ACB Executive Director Rodrigo Fuentes explains the unique nature of the event, “When this was presented to the governing board, we were ecstatic about it. This is a very unique approach and I think in the long run, if this thing catches on, one would see the strong connection between biodiversity conservation and sports. Both are good entry points for promoting awareness on these subjects.” To this, POC President Jose “Peping” Co-

juangco Jr. adds, “The games will promote the skills of indigenous peoples who can be future sources of worldclass athletes.” Col. Jeff Tamayo, executive board member of the POC and the brain behind the MAD Tribal Games, explains that organizing the event is akin to shooting two birds with one stone, “It is a game to strengthen the identity and culture of these ethnic tribes again and at the same time rediscover their old ways of preserving biodiversity.”

The past holds the answer As someone who has actually lived with indigenous peoples, Tamayo knows the ways and wisdom of the wild. “I lived with the Dumagats of Sierra Madre for three years 30 years ago,” he narrates, continuing, “I was already with them even before I joined the military.” He recalls that it was his grandfather general who influenced him to live with the indigenous tribes. “Since I lived with these natives for three years, I kind of have an attachment to their lifestyle, from their medicine to their values system.” On coming up with the idea on the MAD Tribal Games, Tamayo points out that it’s a way of paying homage to the so-called grandfather tribes of the Philippines, because they were the ones who ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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BOOKMARKS first roamed the country during the time when the land bridges in Asia still existed. He believes that putting these grandfather tribes in a special category is important so that other indigenous groups would not overshadow them when they too joined the games. On the benefits of coming back to the old natural ways of doing things, Tamayo comments, “The western way of approaching things is burning us out. It is expensive. There are potent natural ways of preventing and treating ailments. My asthma was healed by taking medicines from the mountains.” Tamayo admonishes that people should live in harmony with the nature as well as with their fellowmen. “They can find bliss in simple things They were always happy,” he remembers. By rediscovering the simple ways of these moun-

saving the environment, he explains, “The original protectors of biodiversity are the indigenous people. We have to recognize that they have the science to take care of our biodiversity and our environment. So why do we have to change something that they have been doing for thousands of years?” Tamayo believes that there is so much to learn from reexamining the original ways of the native tribes as far as saving the environment is concerned. “It is good to contemplate on their values system when it comes to sharing. They have a strong sense of collective ownership. They share the forest. They share the trees. They share the food. It’s simple living but its character is very high because its humanity is very high. And if we start publicly disseminating some of that, maybe that would help a

Philippine Olympic Committee Board Member Col. Jeff DL. Tamayo and ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes with winners of the archery game.

tain tribes, he believes that modern men too can strike a balance in their lives.

lot of our people to appreciate them.”

A deeper meaning

The initial Aeta athletic competition in Clark will be followed by two regional meets. The second involving the Dumagats will happen on September 18 in Quezon Province while the third participated in by the Mangyans will be held on October 16 in Mindoro. The final games, where the champions from each tribal group would compete with each other, will be held again in Clark on November 6. ACB Public Affairs chief Rolly Inciong reveals that on the culminating event, forums will be held where the Mangyans, Aetas and Dumagats will

Tamayo made clear that generating eco-tourism was not the goal of the tribal games. “The goal is for them to become direct participants in taking care of Mother Nature, in taking care of their culture, in nurturing their pride as a people,” he says. Tamayo explicates that the endeavor aims to instill into the participating tribesmen a sense of pride for their culture and heritage. “They must come back to their respective communities as heroes and thereafter inspire their tribes,” he adds. On harnessing the ethnic groups in 62

In their own words

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serve as resource speakers. Here, the youth, the students, the media and the general public will be given a chance to ask the indigenous peoples on how they originally take care of the environment and biodiversity interpreters would be employed so the language barrier would not be a problem. Inciong comments that when the topic of biodiversity was mentioned, the first things that come to mind were scientists, academicians and students. “But we don’t realize the original protectors of biodiversity are the indigenous people. It’s time that the conservation experts listen to them,” he points out. The other highlights of the event include cultural presentations, video showings as well as exhibits of crafts and natural medicines of the participating tribes.

Showcasing a glorious past The ACB intends to invite the ambassadors of European Union countries and ASEAN Member States to witness the culminating event of the tribal games with the aim of seeking support in promoting the conservation of Southeast Asia’s rich but highly threatened biodiversity. Tamayo envisions the occasion as a great opportunity to showcase the country’s glorious past. “It’s a big thing,” he stresses. As a point of comparison, Tamayo laments how the cultural presentation of the last Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines mimicked the crass festivity of a noontime TV show. “The nature of all cultural presentations during sporting events, whether it’s the Olympics or not, when it’s held in a country, is to show the history of the culture of that country. You’ll see the connection with the past. It shows the evolution of a culture from the ancient to modern times,” he explains, adding, “We can have a real thing, not an Ati-atihan performed by transvestites in body paint. We will have original indigenous peoples sing in their dialect, dance their original dances and wear their traditional clothes. Let the audience relate to their original ways.” Antonio Mayuyo Sumilang, a 58year-old participant of the games and a representative of the Bamban Aeta Tribe Association says that such events

BOOKMARKS

ACB and PEMSEA to Promote Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation in Southeast Asia

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he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) signed a Letter of Cooperation (LoC) on 13 August 2009 to formalize their partnership in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biodiversity and resources in the Seas of East Asia. “Joining hands with PEMSEA on this endeavor is an important activity of the Centre as the partnership is in line with our goal of working with various groups and sectors to promote biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of ACB, said. “The rich biodiversity that exists in the Seas of East Asia is far too valuable to be ignored. The partnership with ACB opens new doors for collaboration and for the sharing of expertise and experiences in attaining our shared vision of achieving sustainable development of coastal and marine resources,” said Prof. Raphael P. M. Lotilla, Executive Director of PEMSEA. Supported by the Global Environment Facility, with the United Nations Development Programme as Implementing Agency, PEMSEA facilitates a partnership arrangement among the stakeholders of the Seas of East Asia to implement the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA).

help them to preserve their native traditions and skills. He also invites lowlanders to visit the mountains and jungles for them to appreciate its beauty and importance. He intones that while they consider it a duty to protect nature, saving the environment requires the participation of both the government and the citizenry. Inciong reveals that the first Tribal

ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes (seated, right) and PEMSEA Executive Director Prof. Raphael P.M. Lotilla (seated, left) signed the Letter of Cooperation between the two organizations. ACB Capacity Development Specialist Dr. Monina Uriarte (standing, right) and PEMSEA Programme Officer Ms. Kazumi Wakita (standing, left) witnessed the signing ceremonies.

The two international organizations will participate in joint or complementary capacity development initiatives and other events related to the sustainable development and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity resources and areas. “We will also explore opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation in implementing an integrated approach to biodiversity conservation using regional and global multilateral environment agreements as frameworks and platforms for multi-sectoral cooperation, and continuously support common advocacy efforts within the bounds of PEMSEA’s and ACB’s mandates,” Fuentes said. Information exchange is another area of collaboration between ACB and PEM-

SEA. They will establish and maintain an information exchange and awareness campaign that will promote their respective mandates and activities. An initial activity is co-publishing an issue of Tropical Coasts Magazine focusing on Food Security. “ACB will also co-convene a workshop on Marine Protected Areas at the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009 to be held on 23 to 27 November 2009 in Manila,” Prof. Lotilla said. Set to benefit from the partnership are the millions of people in the ASEAN region who depend on coastal and marine resources for food, livelihood, and other services.

Games in actuality is a preparatory stage for 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. In that celebration, the games is envisioned to draw the participation of the ASEAN Members States that include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam via their respective Olympic committees.

Tamayo cautions that mankind no longer enjoys the luxury of time when it comes to saving the environment and biodiversity He is resolute in his belief that the world can learn the proper stewardship of nature from the indigenous peoples. On this he gave a parting shot, “We are the ones who messed up the planet, not them.” – The Manila Times ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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SEA’s Protected Area Execs Enhance Skills in Conservation and Management

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wenty-one top executives of protected areas (PAs) in Southeast Asia gathered in Tagaytay City, Philippines from August 10 – 14 to enhance their skills in effective conservation and management of the ASEAN region’s natural treasures. The PA executives, from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, participated in the “Platform on Knowledge Sharing for Executives” conducted by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). A protected area is a geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives such as the preservation of endangered species. A protected area is rich in biodiversity and provides ecological services and cultural values. According to ACB Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes, the ASEAN region is home to a vast number of PAs, making it crucial to global environmental sustainability. These natural treasures, however, are faced with several roadblocks including inadequate training for protected area executives, managers, and staff.

“PA executives, managers and staff are constrained by insufficient training, equipment and infrastructure support, information, and science-based technology to effectively manage the environment. The absence of management plans and overlapping jurisdiction in some areas have affected the efficiency of managers and staff in the conservation and management of these important areas,” Director Fuentes explained. To fill this gap, ACB conducted the Tagaytay workshop in cooperation with the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (PAWB-DENR), Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), School of Environmental Science and Management of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB-SESAM), Institute of Biology of the University of the Philippines in Diliman (UPIB), and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). The workshop’s high-level resource persons included Dr. Percy Sajise, Research Fellow of Bioversity International and Senior Fellow, SEARCA; Dr. Rodel

Lasco, Philippines Program Coordinator, ICRAF; Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, Director, PAWB-DENR; Dr. Perry Ong, Director, College of Science, UPInsitute of Biology; and Dr. Victoria Espaldon, Dean and Professor, UPLBSESAM. “The workshop enhanced PA executives’ exposure to and understanding of new concepts, issues, and methods needed for effectively managing protected areas and its application in their place of work. The workshop also provided a venue for facilitated and active participation, analysis and sharing of best practices,” Director Fuentes added. Dr. Monina Uriarte, Capacity Development Specialist of ACB, said the “Platform on Knowledge Sharing for Executives” was the first in a series of training courses under ACB’s programmatic approach to capacity development. “ACB will also hold similar sessions for protected area managers and staff. The goal is to pilot courses based on competence standards to promote biodiversity conservation and management,” Dr. Uriarte emphasized.

SURFING THE WEB OF LIFE Efforts by the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) to streamline reporting to multilateral agreements can be found on http://www. unep-wcmc.org/conventions/harmonization/projects.htm. With the UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions and in collaboration with the secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, African – Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and Indian Ocean South-East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (IOSEA), UNEP-WCMC has implemented a project on Knowledge Management. As part of this project, new suggestions for simplified reporting procedures for biodiversity-related agreements were identified. The site includes reports on: • Joint core reporting elements of biodiversity-related conventions and agreements • Joint reporting for CMS, AEWA and IOSEA

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• Joint reporting on drylands for CBD and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) • A joint reporting framework for inland waters for CBD and Ramsar

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization developed the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) to streamline forest-related reporting. CPF Portal on Forest Reporting (http://www.fao.org/forestry/cpf-mar/en/) is designed to help users find information related to national reporting on forests to various international organizations, institutions and instruments. FAO works with other members of the CPF Task Force on Streamlining Forest-Related Reporting to help reduce the reporting burden on countries and improve efficiency of reporting, by reducing and streamlining reporting requests, synchronizing reporting cycles, harmonizing data collection methods, increasing data comparability and compatibility, and facilitating the accessibility and flows of existing information.

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TV Maria Airs Videos on Biodiversity

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he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity announced that its videos on biodiversity started airing on TV Maria. The Centre’s conservation advocacy envisions links with all sectors, including religious groups, since biodiversity conservation issues know no boundaries, and recognizes that all individuals, regardless of race, gender, social standing or religious affiliation, are all stakeholders in the environment. Links with religious organizations are particularly relevant since many groups have an intense spiritual relationship with the environment. Many regard nature as God’s gift, and thus resource use has always been tempered by the need to reserve species and habitats for the needs of future generations. Some also think that environmental issues can only be resolved with a profound rethinking of the meaning of nature and redefining the human connection to the environment. TV Maria is a Catholic TV channel run by the Diocese of Manila. It aims to serve as a TV channel that provides programs with deep, human Filipino Christian values, as well as provide a venue for organizations to promote activities that will benefit all Filipinos, especially those that are poor and marginalized. The network aims to provide

programs that are not only evangelical but formative, informative, and responsive to social and environmental issues. TV Maria is currently on Dream Cable Channel 12, Destiny Cable Channel 93, Sky Cable Channel 160 and other local cable stations in different provinces. TV Maria will began airing videos on biodiversity produced by the ACB with the following schedule: • Introduction to ACB – 23 August, 7:00 p.m. and 29 August, 7:30 p.m. • The Values of Biodiversity – 30 August, 7:00 p.m. and 5 September, 7:30 p.m. • TV spots on the values of biodiversity started airing on 23 August 2009.

ASEAN to Strengthen Sharing of Biodiversity Information

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trong biodiversity information networks to enable ASEAN Member States to share data on flora, fauna and other species are crucial components of conservation efforts. To lay the groundwork for these networks, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) conducted a Regional Technical Workshop on the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) Enhancement: Networking and Collaboration Tools on 30 June to 03 July 2009 in Bogor, Indonesia. The workshop, in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (SEAMEO BIOTROP), and Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Environment, was attended by managers of biodiversity database units, CHM web administrators, and information technology staff of ASEAN Member States. “Providing support to ASEAN Member States in the establishment

and management of their national biodiversity Clearing-House Mechanism is a continuing activity of ACB through the Biodiversity Information Management Unit. Through the Bogor workshop, ACB aims to build the capacity of ASEAN Member States in establishing and managing national CHMS through the use of Networking and Collaboration Tools,” ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes said. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) mandates its parties to establish a CHM, a platform designed to enable sharing and harmonization of biodiversity information among member countries. The basic components of a national CHM include a National Focal Point, a stakeholder’s network, and a website. The CHM is also a useful tool for countries to meet environmental reporting requirements of multilateral

environmental agreements (MEAs). ACB is promoting the use of CHM, both as a tool to share biodiversity information, and as an aid to effectively implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans of each country. To date, ACB has co-organized three sub-regional workshops on mechanisms for biodiversity information sharing and harmonization where core data sets for sharing and processes for determining biodiversity indicators were discussed and agreed upon. The CHM initiatives of select ASEAN Member States, as well as lessons learned, were also discussed in these workshops. ACB also co-hosted a Regional Technical Workshop on Mechanisms for Biodiversity Information Sharing in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 23-28 November 2008. Participants from Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam were trained on Joomla, a user-friendly and opensourced application Content Management System programme, which can be used to set up and maintain websites for national CHMs. ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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ACB joins ASEAN Day Celebration

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he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) joined the celebration of the 42nd Founding Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with an exhibit about the region’s biodiversity, the ASEAN Heritage Parks Program, and ACB’s work. Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes, Public Affairs Head Rolly A. Inciong, and Public Affairs Associate Leslie Ann V. Jose represented ACB. With the theme “Green ASEAN”, the celebration was at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, and spearheaded by ASEAN SecretaryGeneral Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. Over 200 dignitaries and diplomats from the 10 ASEAN Member States and ASEAN dialogue partners gathered at the ASEAN headquarters’ grounds for a flag-raising ceremony and tree planting ceremony. In his opening address, Dr. Pitsuwan, said that the theme, “Green ASEAN,” “essentially reflects the threepronged challenge facing ASEAN today: building an environmentally sustainable clean and green ASEAN; transforming the ‘green shoots’ of growth in the face of the current global financial crisis into an economically resilient ASEAN; and more importantly, nurturing the new

ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan (4th from left) welcomed ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes (center) and Public Affairs Head Rolly A. Inciong (2nd from left) during the ASEAN Day 2009 celebrations at the ASEAN Headquarters in Jakarta. Also in photo are Philippine Ambassador to ASEAN Mr. Orlando Mercado (right) and ASEAN Senior Officer for Statistics Mr. John Frederick de Guia (left).

and green ASEAN to be a people-centred and globally respected institution among the community of nations.” Representing the ASEAN Chair and Dialogue Partners respectively, H.E. Piamsak Milintachinda, Thailand’s Permanent Representative to ASEAN (ad interim), and H.E. Kim Ho-young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN and concurrently to Indonesia, conveyed their congratulations and well wishes to ASEAN.

ASEAN Biodiversity magazine online For in-depth information and news on biodiversity across Southeast Asia, check out the ASEAN Biodiversity Newsmagazine, the quarterly international publication of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)! ASEAN Biodiversity features special reports on biodiversity-related themes in the ASEAN context, such as climate change, ecotourism, transboundary protected areas, and ASEAN Heritage Parks. Profiles on protected areas provide information on the status of habitats and wildlife, and interesting activities in the parks. A pull-out section on specific species can be interesting reference materials for researchers and students. The magazine also features ongoing programmes and activities of ACB that assist ASEAN Member States in addressing various biodiversity conservation issues. ACB welcomes contributions from volunteer writers and photographers who want to help popularize biodiversity. Interested parties may contact Dr. Monia T. Uriarte, Editor of ASEAN Biodiversity at mturiarte@aseanbiodiversity.org, Rolando A. Inciong, Head of ACB’s Public Affairs at rainciong@aseanbiodiversity.org, or Ms. Sahlee Bugna-Barrer at scbugna@aseanbiodiversity.org, or call ACB at (+632) 928-3210 and (+632) 929-4147. For more information visit the ACB website at www.aseanbiodiversity.org.

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Director Fuentes said that “ACB’s participation in this occasion is particularly significant as the Centre is a key mechanism by which ASEAN Member States are working to achieve their goal of a Green ASEAN.” During the ASEAN Day celebration, the ACB delegation had an opportunity to meet Dr. Orly Mercado, the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the ASEAN, as well as Filipino officers and staff at the ASEAN Secretariat.

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Philippine Science Fair Highlights Water and Biodiversity for Human Survival

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ater and biodiversity as crucial resources for human survival were featured by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) exhibit at the 2nd Annual Syensaya at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños on July 21 to 24. Syensaya is a contraction of siyensiya and saya, Tagalog words for science and fun. It is an interactive annual science exhibit by the Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc. (LBSCFI) to celebrate the National Science Technology Week in the Philippines. At Syensaya, member institutions of LBSCFI presented their latest experiments, projects, and activities that highlight how scientific breakthroughs benefit humans. ACB held an exhibit on the importance of conserving water and biodiversity to ensure human survival. Free publications were distributed and video documentaries were shown during Syensaya, which drew thousands of student visitors. According to ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes, water is the most important resource to ensure human survival. “While demand has grown, the supply of clean and safe water gets smaller. Human activities are largely to blame. Years of abuse and poor management of the world’s natural resources have resulted in the degradation of the global water supply. Deforestation has destroyed watersheds and their capability to retain freshwater. Erosion and siltation have damaged the quality of lakes and rivers. Pesticides and mining residues pollute water sources and affect the health of fish, birds and other animals that drink from these areas. Dams and reservoirs have changed water flow and caused flooding. Industrial processes and domestic waste have polluted our waterways and oceans and threatened the lives of fish, corals, sea grasses and other organisms. These are worsened by the increasing impacts of climate change, which has caused extreme drought in many parts of the world,” Director Fuentes explained.

A number of United Nations (UN) studies have shown that water scarcity may lead to conflicts. The scarcity of water has threatened the lives of many of the world’s poorest, and may provide the spark for water-related conflicts. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population lives in river and lake basins shared by two or more countries. The world’s 263 transboundary basins include the territory of 145 countries and cover nearly half of the world’s surface.

are plentiful, watersheds retain ample supply in water basins and prevent soil erosion that may cause siltation of water bodies. Healthy wetlands also recharge underground aquifers, providing ample drinking water to satisfy the needs of the world’s population. Conserving biodiversity to support healthy wetlands ensures a richer biodiversity of species. Intact and viable wetlands filter water and make it safe for drinking. Clean lakes, rivers and estuaries ensure the survival

Students at the ACB booth

UN Water 2008 has reported that in Africa, nine water-stressed nations share the Congo River. In Asia, five ASEAN Member States, namely Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, share the 4,350 km-long Mekong River with the People’s Republic of China. The ACB exhibit at Syensaya explained why water and biodiversity are interrelated resources that are crucial to human survival. Water is the critical element upon which all life depends. Wetlands, such as rivers, lakes, marshes, floodplains and others, capture, store and transport water for humans and animals. Healthy forests retain both water and soil resources. When forests

and abundance of nursery areas of fish, encouraging higher fish production. Clean water encourages plant growth and support richer marine life, which benefit humans since many freshwater and marine plants are used for a variety of purposes ranging from handicrafts to animal fodder. Healthy wetlands ensure the survival of various animals, especially those in danger of extinction. Director Fuentes said saving water is not just simply turning off the tap while brushing teeth, fixing leaks, or recycling water in the household. Governments, concerned communities and individuals need to protect water resources and biodiversity, which contributes to healthy wetland ecosystems. ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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2009 CSR Expo Links Business and Biodiversity

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iodiversity used to be the concern of the scientific community and conservation organizations but due to threats of extinction, biodiversity is fast becoming a concern of business. The link between business and biodiversity was presented by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) during its exhibit at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Expo 2009 on July 9 and 10 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Philippines. CSR is at the heart of many companies’ commitment and business strategy. Annually, the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) holds the CSR Expo to showcase the best CSR projects that focus on education, environment, livelihood-generation, poverty alleviation, and other issues. As one of the exhibitors, ACB discussed how CSR projects can make a difference and save humanity from extinction through biodiversity conservation and advocacy. “Business depends on biodiversity, relying on plant and animal species and

ecosystem services for their products: food, medicine, water, building materials, paper, fuel, fiber, and more. Nature provides business with the fundamental components for long-term profits and survival,” ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes said. He added that “while business can have direct or indirect impact on biodiversity, they also have relevant biodiversity-related knowledge, expertise, and resources needed to conserve biological resources. The business sector is, in fact, an integral part of the solution to biodiversity loss.” ACB is promoting the Business and Biodiversity Initiative (BBI) in the ASEAN region. Launched by the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2008, BBI encourages CSR on biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity, and access to and benefits sharing of genetic resources. Thirty-four international companies joined the BBI and signed the Leadership Declaration

which commits them to implement CSR projects that can contribute to the 2010 goal of reducing biodiversity loss. To date, there are 38 global companies, such as Fujitsu, Ricoh, Volkswagen, among others, who are participating in the BBI, setting examples in instituting ways, methods and instruments for integrating and mainstreaming biodiversity into business management and activities. In Southeast Asia, ACB provides assistance in the integration of biodiversity concerns into corporations’ environmental management system (EMS). “We cover a wide spectrum of partnership topics such as capacity building programs on ecotourism and biodiversity conservation; agriculture and food security; climate change and biodiversity, among other topics. Joint research programs, the ASEAN Heritage Parks Program, capacity building on biodiversity data sharing mechanism, and cradle to grave/ecological infrastructure information management also form part of

Congresswoman Cynthia Villar, Lone District, Las Pinas, Philippines (center) discusses with ACB representatives how the Centre and the Villar Foundation can work together on biodiversity-related projects.

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CSR Expo 2009 participants troop to the ACB booth

ACB’s services,” Fuentes said. On 20-22 July 2009, ACB, the Royal Government of Thailand, and leading Thai companies held a Business and Biodiversity Forum in Bangkok. The forum gathered Southeast Asian government officials, private sector companies with interest in CSR, regional institutions, and international organizations

ACB Resource Mobilization Officer Reynaldo Molina explains ACB’s business and biodiversity initiative to Mr. P. Burapachaisri, Secretary General of Thailand’s Board of Trade.

to explore various opportunities related to the Business and Biodiversity Initiative. In December 2009, ACB and the Secretariat of the CBD will conduct a conference on business and biodiversity for Southeast Asia. “Biodiversity is everyone’s business. So much is at stake if biodiversity is lost. Livelihoods of millions depend on

the farmlands, forests, watersheds, and seas. Food and medicine come from plant and animal species. Biodiversity loss can result in business losses and economic downturn, hunger, illness, disasters and natural calamities, social disruption, even war. All sectors, especially business, must act now,” Fuentes said.

Biodiversity information at your fingertips! Check out our website for information materials on biodiversity conservation in ASEAN! The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity produces a number of public awareness materials on biodiversity in the region, including the quarterly newsmagazine ASEAN Biodiversity, as well as profiles of ASEAN Heritage Parks and endangered species.

and recommendations on issues such as community conserved areas, ecotourism, and invasive alien species.

Proceedings on workshops organized by ACB focusing on issues such as marine gap analysis, multilateral environmental agreements, and business and biodiversity, among others are already available. The Policy Brief Series focuses on ASEAN actions

ACB has also produced videos on ACB and its work in ASEAN, as well as the values and the need to protect our treasured natural resources.

Visitors can access the Biodiversity Information Sharing System BISS to check species lists and protected area network data in ASEAN. Links to biodiversity information in other ASEAN Member States can be accessed here as well.

For more information log on to www.aseanbiodiversity.org.

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ASEAN Workshop Promotes Biodiversity Conservation in Business

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nvestment, profit, and growth rate are components of business. But there is an unknown ingredient that is crucial to sustained business productivity – biodiversity. The link between business and biodiversity was discussed during the Southeast Asian Regional Workshop on Business and Biodiversity: Exposing Links, Exploring Opportunities, and Encouraging Partnership in Bangkok on 20 July 2009. Organized by the Royal Government of Thailand and supported by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the workshop gathered over 50 Southeast Asian government officials, leading businesses with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, regional institutions, and international organizations, to explore various opportunities related to the global Business and Biodiversity Initiative. “The business sector is a large stakeholder that has resources to contribute to biodiversity conservation. From our experience, they do prioritize this matter, and are willing

to cooperate with the government sector. I would like to encourage all of us here, to be more pro-active in invoking the engagement of the business sector in biodiversity conservation. The pay-off is really worthwhile,” Dr. Saksit Tridech, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and member of ACB’s Governing Board, said in a message he delivered on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Suwit Khunkitti, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. Dr. Tridech also presented Thailand’s perspective of business and biodiversity, citing examples of initiatives undertaken. “Thailand, not only through the national focal point, but also stakeholders, such as NGOs, and business sector, has done so many activities on biodiversity conservation. We have explored projects and activities of business companies and came up with a database of more than 100 companies, he said. These projects, he added, were in the areas of species diversity, ecosystem diversity, and ge-

netic diversity, reforestation, coastal resource rehabilitation, local breed genetic conservation, mitigation of climate change and its impacts, and pollution abatement. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity discussed the importance of laying the groundwork for promoting the Business and Biodiversity Initiative in the ASEAN region. “Through this workshop, we charted directions for the expansion of cooperation and engagement of businesses in Southeast Asia, the development of privatepublic-state partnerships to mainstream biodiversity concerns, and the provision of incentives to investments on biodiversity conservation,” ACB Programme Development and Implementation Director Clarissa C. Arida said. The workshop participants called for the development of business and biodiversity guidelines for the private sector, as well as the promotion of incentive measures. They also sought the creation of a forum for the business sector to exchange among them best

Organizers, participants, and resource persons of the Southeast Asian Regional Workshop on Business and Biodiversity: Exposing Links, Exploring Opportunities, and Encouraging Partnership in Bangkok on 20 July 2009.

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BOOKMARKS practices in biodiversity conservation, sustainable utilization of biological resources, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources. Moreover, they underscored the need for the government sector to play a more active role in promoting business involvement in biodiversity conservation. Dr. Naoki Adachi, Chief Executive Officer of Response Ability, Inc. and Executive Director of the Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity; Mr. Nobuo Nakanishi, consultant of Japan-based Saraya Co. Ltd.; and Dr. Sawat Thammabutra, consultant to the Thailand-based Charoen Pokaphand Group were the resource persons. “Biodiversity is everyone’s business. So much is at stake if biodiversity is lost. Livelihoods of millions depend on the farmlands, forests, watersheds, and seas. Food and medicine come from plant and animal species. Biodiversity loss can result in business losses and economic downturn, hunger, illness, disasters and natural calamities, social disruption, even war. All sectors, especially business, must act now,” Arida said. In 2008, the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) launched the global Business and Biodiversity Initiative (BBI). An initial 34 international companies joined the BBI and signed the Leadership Declaration which commits them to implement CSR projects that can contribute to the 2010 goal of reducing biodiversity loss. BBI encourages CSR on biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity, and access to and benefits sharing of genetic resources. “At ACB, we believe that investing in biodiversity conservation is sound business sense. Thus, we are promoting business for biodiversity in the ASEAN region. With full support from the Royal Government of Thailand, we are taking initial steps to encourage that ASEAN Member States and businesses will become key players in the BBI playing field,” Arida said.

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2009:

Uniting with the World to Combat Climate Change T

he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, our partners at the European Commission, and our stakeholders in the 10 ASEAN Member States, join the rest of the world in celebrating World Environment Day 2009. This year’s theme is “Your Planet Needs You! Unite to Combat Climate Change.” The topic is particularly important and timely for us as it comes on the heels of a study released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in April 2009, reiterating that Southeast Asia faces a bleak future if governments do not act quickly to address climate change. Entitled “The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review,” the study found that Southeast Asia will be hit hard by climate change, causing the region’s agriculture-dependent economies to contract by as much as 6.7 percent annually by the end of the century. It also identified Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam as the most vulnerable countries. With 80 percent of the region’s over 560 million people living within 100 kilometers of the coastline, we do have cause for concern. As the ADB report highlighted, the sea level is rising one to three millimeters annually, and average temperature rose 0.1 to 0.3 degrees Celsius between 1951 and 2000. Already, Southeast Asia is experiencing the impacts of climate change. It has been devastated by a spate of typhoons, floods, cyclones, heat waves, drought, and other calamities brought about by extreme weather conditions in recent years. Such weather has resulted in water shortages, poor agricultural production, forest fires and coastal degradation, which then create negative impacts on food security and human health. With Southeast Asia cradling 20 percent of the world’s total known plant and animal species, the loss of its natural treasures due to climate change will also have a significant impact on the entire global sustainability. There is ample evidence that climate change affects biodiversity. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, climate change is likely to become the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. Climate change is already forcing biodiversity to adapt either through shifting habitat, or changing life cycles. We stand to lose thousands of species. The loss of biodiversity will have far-reaching impacts on all of us – food insecurity, loss of livelihood, poverty. In many parts of the globe, these are already grim realities. There is an inextricable connection between climate change and biodiversity. While climate change is a driver of biodiversity loss, the deterioration of habitats and loss of biodiversity also worsen climate change. Deforestation, for example, is currently estimated to be 20 percent of all human-induced CO2 emissions. If no action is done to combat climate change, the peoples of the ASEAN region stand to lose a great deal. Dire consequences in all sectors could seriously hinder Southeast Asia’s sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity encourages all citizens of the ASEAN region to take part in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Fighting global warming and its impacts is a shared responsibility among all of us who stand to lose so much – our planet and its various natural treasures that sustain our very existence. There are practical actions we can take: Plant trees. This will increase the size of existing carbon pools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Promote farmer-centered participatory approaches and indigenous knowledge and technologies toward cycling and use of organic materials in low-input farming systems. Recycle. Save on energy. Save on paper. Save on fuel. Promote biodiversity conservation. We call on citizens in the ASEAN region to contribute their share in this battle against climate change. Your planet needs you! Let us all unite to combat climate change. Rodrigo U. Fuentes Executive Director ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

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(Left to right) Winston Bowman, Regional Environment Director of USAID in Asia; Clarissa Arida, Director for Programme Development and Implementation of ACB; Samuel Cantell, First Secretary, EC Delegation to Thailand; Masakazu Ichimura, Chief, Environment and Development Policy Section, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; Pavit Ramachandran, Environment Specialist, Asian Development Bank; Jim Peters, Chief of Party, USAID Asian Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program.

ASEAN Workshop Promotes Payment for Ecosystem Services as Tool to Boost Economy and Reduce Poverty

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ver 100 decision makers, private sector representatives, and development workers from Southeast Asia and China converged in Bangkok on 29 June for the three-day South-East Asia Workshop on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Organized by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the USAIDAsian Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program (USAID-ARBCP), Asian Development Bank-Environment Operations Centre (ADB-EOC), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the workshop discussed the development and application of PES as a policy tool for economic development and poverty reduction. The workshop provided a venue for stakeholders involved in PES-related capacity building initiatives to 72

share their experiences in developing sustainable finance, legal and policyenabling mechanisms that will secure and support national and regional economic development targets in the ASEAN region and in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Also known as payment for environmental services, PES is a scheme where beneficiaries of ecosystem services pay back the providers of such services. Vital ecosystems processes, along with raw materials, are provided by the natural world for the use of humankind. The development of markets through which these processes or services may be bought and sold represents a market-based policy approach to conservation. The ecosystem services can range from watershed protection, forest conservation, biodiversity conservation,

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carbon sequestration, landscape beauty in support of ecotourism, and may be present at any scale, from local to national, regional, or international. “The PES scheme is still in its infancy stage in Southeast Asia. The creation of markets for ecosystem services has been theoretically recognized in the region. However, the benefits of promoting biodiversity conservation and supporting local livelihoods are yet to be implemented and documented on the ground. A critical step in jumpstarting PES in ASEAN Member States and in other countries is the creation of PES legal and policy-enabling conditions,” ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes explained in a message read by ACB Program Development and Implementation Director Clarissa Arida during the opening program. Mr. Winston Bowman, Regional

BOOKMARKS Environment Director of the United States Agency for International Development in Asia said the US Government is investing over $300 million to support environmental programs in Asia, including wildlife law enforcement, biodiversity conservation, and responsible use of forest resources, among others. He stressed the potentials of PES contributions to the region’s economic development. Mr. Pavit Ramachandran, Environment Specialist of the Asian Development Bank, stressed that “capturing economic benefits from ecosystem services can directly contribute to poverty reduction”. He explained that in many low-income countries, ecosystems and the economic activities they support provide products and revenue for daily needs. Poverty-reducing investments in terms of the stability of ecosystem services also underpins domestic savings and reinvested rural savings, as they are often a principal source of tax revenue

to finance development programs. Mr. Masazaku Ichimura, Chief of the Environment and Development Policy Section of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, stressed that almost 54 percent of the population in the region live in rural areas and depend on healthy ecosystems for their livelihoods. He said that investments in ecosystem services through PES hold much potential to improve the sustainability of land use. Mr. Samuel Cantell, First Secretary of the European Commission Delegation to Thailand, cited the role of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in spearheading inter-governmental efforts on biodiversity conservation and invited the international donor and development community to support ACB. A new regional partnership was also discussed at the end of the workshop.The partnership will help build

PES capacities across the region and includes the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United States Agency for International Development through the Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program. “This regional partnership is a critical step to jumpstart PES in ASEAN Member States and in other countries. We recognize the crucial need to mobilize the various stakeholders concerned, as well as related skills and expertise,” ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes said. The PES workshop in Bangkok is the first in a series of workshops that seeks to identify more specific capacitybuilding needs for supporting PES enabling policy at the national level, and facilitate and mobilize regional institutions to support countries in addressing these needs.

Forest Management Bureau Hosts ASEAN Social Forestry Network Meeting

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he Forest Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines hosted the 3rd Meeting of the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) on 9 – 13 June 2009 in Subic, Zambales, Philippines. The ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) is the first and largest government-driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia that includes research and academic institutions, non-governmental organizations as well as experts in related fields. ASFN was established to strengthen experience and knowledge sharing, and promote cooperation on social forestry issues in the region. The Meeting featured country reports focusing on updates on relevant policy and major activities implemented related to social forestry; training needs; proposed activities on social forestry for joint bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation; and challenges to social forestry concerns. The Meeting also provided an opportunity to update the ASFN Strategic Plan of Action to encompass measures to strengthen the ASFN, establishment of ASFN information and communication systems, promotion of social forestry policy and practices, as well as development of support for ASFN.

Side events of the 3rd ASN Meeting included the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) MidYear Review to assess the status of implementation of the CBFM strategic plan and determine the contribution of upland development efforts to climate change mitigation and adaptation; as well as a forum on “Promoting the Social Forestry Role in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.”

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Lao PDR Tracks Progress in Reducing Biodiversity Loss

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nvironmentalists from various agencies in Lao PDR worked together to assess their country’s progress in reducing biodiversity loss. At a national consultation meeting held in Vientiane on 28 May 2009, experts prepared the draft of Lao PDR’s Fourth National Report (4NR) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The report indicated progress in meeting Lao PDR’s commitment to significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010, the primary target of all countries that are parties to the CBD. The meeting was organized by the Lao Water Resource and Environment Administration (WREA) and supported by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). Lao PDR is a biologically diverse country. It has 8,100 species of flowering plants, 166 species of reptiles and amphibians, 430 species of birds, 90 species of bats, over 100 species of large mammals, and 87 families of fish. Lao PDR is also home to large mammals such as the large-antlered muntjac, Indochinese tiger, and Douc

Langur. The country boasts of having the largest Asian elephant population in Indochina. It cradles the Nam Ha National Protected Area, covering 222,300 hectares of evergreen and broadleaf forests. This protected area harbors the endangered Asian elephant and four large cat species of which the tiger and clouded leopard are listed as globally threatened. During the meeting, Lao government experts on forestry, agriculture, protected area management and biodiversity conservation, together with representatives from the academe and other relevant agencies, discussed the preparation of the 4NR that would track and set directions for biodiversity conservation and management in Lao PDR. The 4NR incorporates information on the status of biodiversity resources, assessment of the implementation of Lao PDR’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, national integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations under various Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as well as an evaluation of Laos’ progress

towards achieving the 2010 target of the CBD. ACB assists ASEAN Member States in the development of their 4NRs and assessment of efforts towards achieving the CBD 2010 target. The Centre conducted workshops on biodiversity indicators in Cambodia in August 2008 and Thailand in November 2008. These workshops allowed the ASEAN Member States to report on the progress of their 4NR and use tools to assess the status of biodiversity. The 4NRs will serve as basis for the ASEAN Biodiversity Report that will be developed by ACB, as well as provide inputs to the 3rd Global Biodiversity Outlook of the CBD that will be launched at the 10th Conference of Parties to the CBD in Japan in 2010. A team from ACB led by Clarissa C. Arida, Director for Programme Development and Implementation, met with Director General Keobang Keola of the Greater Mekong Subregion Secretariat of WREA to discuss the draft 4NR and recommend strategies for enhancing the report. The team also met with representatives of the Forest Resource and Conservation Centre, as well as the National University of Lao PDR to help gather more information for the 4NR.

ACB PDI Director Clarissa C. Arida and Director General Keobang Keola of the Greater Mekong Subregion Secretariat of WREA.

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IBD 2009 Highlights Invasive Alien Species

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he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity joined the world community in observing the International Day for Biodiversity on May 22. This year’s theme focused on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) - one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, and to the ecological and economic well-being of society and the planet. Invasive alien species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem. They may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health. In particular, they impact adversely upon biodiversity, leading to the decline or elimination of native species - through competition, predation, or transmission of pathogens - and the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions. In the past, mountains and oceans served as natural barriers to animal species movements. Developments in transportation and global trade, climate change and other factors, however, have facilitated the movements of various species across countries. Depending on their adaptability, species may thrive in their new habitat, or simply die out.

New species that multiply to a degree that overwhelms the environment and robs resident species of food and shelter present dangers. The threat of alien species breeding in a new environment is so severe that they are now considered the second biggest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity indicated that since the 17th century, invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40 percent of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known. The problem continues to grow at great socio-economic, health and ecological cost around the world. Invasive alien species exacerbate poverty and threaten development through their impacts on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural systems, which are an important basis of peoples’ livelihoods in developing countries. This damage is aggravated by climate change, pollution, habitat loss and other human-induced disturbances. Invasive alien species can directly affect human health as international travel facilitates the spread of infectious

diseases. Ballast water from ships introduces diseases, bacteria and viruses to marine and freshwater ecosystems, and degrades commercially important fisheries. IAS such as exotic animals, migratory birds, insects and rodents may also carry pathogens that pose tremendous health risks. When species are introduced directly into agriculture or fisheries as a possible source of protein, they may actually affect food supply when they eliminate other sources of food. An example is the golden kuhol, a freshwater snail from South America, introduced in the Philippines as a high-protein food for both animals and humans. The snail escaped into waterways and has since ravaged ricefields all over the country. The snail feeds on young rice seedlings, with large adults consuming up to 25 seedlings per day. Loss of Philippine crops generated by the golden apple snail in the 1980s was estimated at $1 billion. Human health may also be affected when various pesticides are applied to crops to control the spread of invasive alien species. Invasive alien species also have major economic costs since they destroy crops, ASEAN BIODIVERSITY

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BOOKMARKS reduce biodiversity, and affect the water supply as they degrade freshwater systems and catchment areas. An example is the water hyacinth, which was introduced to many parts of the world as an ornamental plant. Dense mats of water hyacinth now blanket many of tropical Asia’s natural and man-made water bodies, harming local habitat. Another example is the janitor fish in Laguna Lake, Philippines, which damage fish cages and fishing nets, affecting fish production and fish catch. They also damage riverbanks of important waterways. Pest control costs also increase as pesticides and herbicides have to be used and other long-term management schemes have to be developed to control the spread of invasive alien species. Invasive alien species should be managed. The objective should be to restore the ecosystem to its natural state and increase biodiversity, since natural populations and ecosystem functions may resist future invasions. Prevention is the most cost-efficient and effective method against invasive alien species. Invasive alien species management is a global issue that requires collaboration among governments, economic sectors, and non-governmental and international organizations. There is a need to have national policies and programs to deal with invasive alien species, paying attention to training on the biology and control and biosecurity issues. Customs and border checkpoints must have high level of awareness and skills in dealing with potential invasive alien species. Research and development of new control technologies are required on the evolving problem of invasive alien species in relation to other environmental issues, such as climate change, land use changes, and pollution. Protected area managers must be trained to identify non-native species since protected areas are becoming increasingly threatened by invasive alien species that may be transported through tourism. An integrated national program covering public awareness, skills training, research and information sharing must be developed to manage invasive alien species concerns. Above all, the general public must be educated on how to prevent the spread of invasive alien species. 76

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Celebrates the International Day for Biodiversity 2009 T

he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) works with partners to study and teach, use and save biodiversity. A regional intergovernmental organization, ACB promotes biodiversity conservation through policy and programme development, capacity building, information management and sharing, and public advocacy. ACB is a strategic partner of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) in promoting biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asia. The collaboration between ACB and SCBD is expected to strengthen ASEAN Member States’ efforts in articulating policies and initiatives that integrate biodiversity with development concerns. On 22 May 2009 – the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB 2009) – ACB re-affirmed its partnership with SCBD by leading the celebration of IDB 2009 in Southeast Asia through a week-long programme for scientists, biodiversity experts, academe, students, ambassadors, and media practitioners. 18 May 2009, “Ecoguards: YOUth Can Save Biodiversity” at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines Youth leaders in Los Baños, Laguna gathered to learn about biodiversity and to engage themselves in biodiversity conservation. Organized by ACB and students of the College of Development Communication, the forum gathered over 100 youth leaders and students for lectures on biodiversity, film showings, and an open forum. At the end of the forum, the students declared their support for biodiversity conservation and called on the youth of Southeast Asia to take an active role in saving ASEAN’s rich but highly threatened biodiversity. 19-21 May 2009, ASEAN Regional Workshop on Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI): Needs Assessment and Networking, SEARCA Auditorium, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines To boost Southeast Asia’s taxonomic capacities, ACB, in partnership with the Governments of France and Japan, held the “ASEAN+3 Regional Workshop on Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI): Needs Assessment and Networking” on 19-21 May 2009 in SEARCA, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. The workshop gathered around 100 scientists and taxonomy experts from the 10 ASEAN Member States, Korea, China, and Mongolia. Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. of DENR, Ambassador Alistair MacDonald of the European Commission Delegation to the Philippines; and Ambassador Thierry Borja de Mozota of France led the roster of speakers. Resource persons included experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Museum of Natural History of France (MNHN), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT), and the Global Network for Taxonomy (Bionet). 22 May 2009, International Day of Biodiversity 2009 Celebrations, SEARCA Auditorium, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines The celebration of the International Day for Biodiversity on 22 May featured the launch of the First ASEAN-wide Photo Contest “Zooming in on Biodiversity” sponsored by ACB and the European Commission; the redesigned ACB website, and the ASEAN Biodiversity Information Sharing Service/Regional Clearinghouse Mechanism. ACB also launched its new documentary “The Values of Biodiversity.”

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UPLB and Los Baños Youth Leaders Hold Forum on Biodiversity

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verything comes from biodiversity—from the food we eat to the air we breathe. But issues arise threatening this vital part of nature. Threats on endangered species, depleted watersheds, denuded forests, and other harmful effects of human activities are just some of these many issues. To keep these risks at bay, young people are encouraged to be concerned about the environment. On May 18, 2009, a forum on biodiversity for youth leaders was held at the College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines Los Baños (CDC-UPLB), in celebration of the International Day for Biodiversity. Entitled “Ecoguards: YOUth Can Save Biodiversity,” the forum was sponsored by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), in coopera-

tion with student interns from CDCUPLB. The forum, accredited with the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, aimed to increase the youth’s awareness on the country’s current state of biodiversity and mobilize them to participate in conservation and advocacy. At the forum, ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes discussed the values of biodiversity and the theme of this year’s IDB celebration – Invasive Alien Species. Dr. Monina T. Uriarte, ACB’s Capacity Building Specialist, then gave a talk about current biodiversity issues and the youth’s role in biodiversity conservation. Emmanuel Halog of Haribon-UPLB provided a testimonial as a youth leader and environmental advocate. The forum then produced a declaration of support to biodiversity

conservation and a challenge for the youth of Southeast Asia to take the lead in promoting public awareness of the values of biodiversity. Rolando A. Inciong, Head of Public Affairs of ACB, said, “Los Baños is known for its diverse ecosystem, and is home to different land and water forms such as Mt. Makiling and Laguna Lake. Its youth directly benefit from these bodies of nature; hence, it is their responsibility to learn, act and be the next “ecoguards.” The youth declaration was also read on May 22, the International Day for Biodiversity, during an ACB-hosted program attended by some 100 representatives from the 10 ASEAN Member States, France, Japan, Korea, and China at the SEARCA Auditorium in Los Banos.

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ACB, France and Japan Boost Southeast Asia’s Taxonomic Capacity

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axonomy, the science of describing, naming and classifying organisms, is a building block for information sharing on flora and fauna. The last few decades, however, saw the discipline of taxonomy falling off the global political, funding, and academic agendas. To boost Southeast Asia’s taxonomic capacities, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) partnered with the French and Japanese governments to conduct a workshop on taxonomic needs assessment. The French Regional Delegation and the French Embassy in Manila, together with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment’s Biodiversity Center, provided funding support for the “ASEAN Regional Workshop on Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI): Needs Assessment and Networking” on 18-22 May 2009 in SEARCA, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. Spearheaded by the ACB, the workshop was supported by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), specialists from other branches of the Japanese government, experts from the Museum of Natural History of France (MNHN), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT), the Global Network for Taxonomy (Bionet), and other

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taxonomic specialists in the region. “There is a dire need to revive interest in taxonomy. The diminishing status of taxonomy is crippling ASEAN Member States’ chances of effectively cataloguing their biological resources. Without knowing and understanding the species we have, it would be difficult to implement biodiversity conservation efforts,” ACB Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes said. “We are delighted to partner with the French and Japanese governments on this activity as France and Japan are known for their extensive experience in the field of taxonomic initiative and their network of museums, herbariums and similar repositories of biological information,” Director Fuentes added. Ms. Clarissa Arida, ACB Director for Program Development and Implementation, said the workshop provided a venue for sharing experiences in the implementation of the Program of Work for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and identifying future programs for capacity development in the ASEAN region. The Conference of Parties (COP) to the CBD realized that taxonomic information, taxonomic and curatorial expertise, and infrastructure are insufficient in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. Such

MAY-AUGUST 2009 „ www.aseanbiodiversity.org

a gap was anticipated to be one of the key obstacles in the implementation of the Convention. To overcome this taxonomic impediment, the GTI was established. “Adequate taxonomy is one of the fundamental tools required for the global community to implement the Millennium Development Goals and the development targets from the World Summit for Sustainable Development. Without sufficient long-term investment in the human, infrastructural, and information resources necessary to underpin the science of taxonomy, the now well-recognized taxonomic impediment will continue to prevent implementation of sound, scientifically based sustainable, environmental management and development policies,” Director Fuentes explained. He added that taxonomy is a critical tool for combating the threat from invasive alien species and other concerns such as in human health. Without access to support, misidentifications are made, costing precious money and time when rapid decisions need to be made. This partnership with the French and Japanese governments provided a significant opportunity to mobilize and share expertise in the field of taxonomy and ensure that taxonomic capacities will be made accessible to ASEAN Member States.

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ASEAN Countries Participate in the 2009 World Ocean Conference

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s a major carbon sink, oceans play a major role in regulating the world’s climate system. Massive development and increased use of fossil fuels, however, have driven greenhouse gas emissions to tremendous levels, and overwhelmed the capability of oceans to absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As a result, climate change now poses a major threat to marine lives and the welfare of millions who depend on the oceans for their livelihood. The relationship between the oceans and climate change was the focus of the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado, Indonesia on 11 – 15 May 2009. The WOC 2009 aimed to increase efforts in the following areas: cooperation between nations in order to manage marine resources in the context of climate change; understanding across the global community on the vital role of the oceans in regulating global climate; global attention to the need to save small islands and coastal areas as part of facing up to global climate change; commitment from international bodies and intergovernmental organizations to protect and conserve fisheries resources in order

to ensure food security; preparedness to mitigate disasters caused by climate change; and capacity at the community level, especially coastal and small island communities, to adapt to the effects of climate change Climate change is a particular concern for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) due to the region’s vulnerability to extreme weather events as well as the high level of biodiversity that is threatened by climate change and other threats. According to a report by the Asian Development Bank, under a high emissions scenario, the annual mean temperature in ASEAN will rise to about 4.8ºC by 2100, and global mean sea level will rise by 70 centimeters. Executive Director Rodrigo U. Fuentes of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity agrees with the ADB that such changes in climate will have dire consequences in all sectors, and could seriously hinder ASEAN’s sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. “The region is home to four of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, IndoBurma, Sundaland, the Philippines and

Wallacea, which face more pressures in a world with increasingly unpredictable climate change. The risk of climate change’s damage to ecosystems can be significantly reduced by implementing ecosystems-based strategies. One effective way to do this is by protecting forest ecosystems and increasing the size of existing carbon pools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Robust marine ecosystems are also substantial carbon reservoirs. Conserving marine ecosystems is important as oceans are substantial reservoirs of carbon with approximately 50 times more carbon than is presently in the atmosphere. Strong mangrove areas can also protect coastal communities from sea level rise and strong typhoons,” Director Fuentes explained. The main output of WOC2009 is the formal adoption of the Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD), which is a commitment between nations to address the impacts of climate change on the way of life and livelihoods in and on the sea, the coast and small islands. MOD recommendations contain ways in which the declaration can be translated into action, in the form of opportunities for international cooperation in areas such as research, exchange of data, capacity building, transfer of knowledge and technology, substantial financial support, and others.

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ACB and UNESCO-Jakarta Partner to Popularize Biodiversity Conservation

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he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Jakarta to popularize biodiversity conservation through the first ASEANwide photo contest “Zooming in on Biodiversity.” The two international organizations will join hands to promote the contest within their respective networks. “We are honored to work with an organization like UNESCO-Jakarta which covers issues on education, culture, social and human sciences, communication and information and natural sciences in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor

Leste,” said Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, ACB Executive Director. “We are very pleased to work with ACB on this interesting and important endeavor. The power of the image can transcend many limitations – of words, concepts, and physical barriers - and bring people together to learn about and appreciate the interconnectedness between humans and the rest of the environment. We hope to work with ACB on other innovative efforts to promote biodiversity conservation in the future,” said Dr. Robert Lee, Deputy Director, UNESCO Office, Jakarta & Head of Environmental Sciences for UNESCO’s Regional Science Bureau for Asia & the Pacific.

The European Commission (EC), ASEAN Member States, and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) are also partners in the photo contest. “Zooming in on Biodiversity,” was organized to promote a greater awareness on the values of biodiversity through photography. “Biodiversity is a big word that is not easily understood by many. Unfortunately, its importance to our daily lives is not highlighted enough. We need to translate it into images that can capture the attention of everyone. That’s where we can count on the power of photography. The ultimate goal is to increase the available images that can inspire or even jolt people in the ASEAN region to contribute their share in conserving our rich but highly threatened biodiversity,” Fuentes said.

Know Biodiversity, Know Life” Trivia Contest How many endangered species live in the ASEAN region? What is the world’s largest flower? Where can we find the smallest monkey in the world? These and more questions will be answered in the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity’s (ACB) “Know Biodiversity, Know Life” trivia contest.

Life – July 2009). All entries should also contain the following information: contestant’s name, nationality, e-mail address, home address, contact numbers (home, office, mobile), age, and gender. If a student, he or she should include the name of his or her school, address, and contact number.

“We launched this contest to encourage people to learn about our natural treasures. Knowing more about our rich natural heritage can encourage individuals to promote biodiversity conservation in their own spheres of influence,” Mr. Rolando A. Inciong, Public Affairs Head of ACB, said.

The monthly winner will receive a limited edition ACB bag and pin, and automatically be registered in the e-mailing list to regularly receive copies of ACB’s e-publications.

Open to all nationals of ASEAN Member States Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, the monthly contest began on 15 July. “Every 15th of the month, a trivia question will be posted on the homepage of the ACB website www.aseanbiodiversity.org. Interested parties are invited to send their answers to biodiversity. trivia@aseanbiodiversity.org. The winner will then be drawn and announced every end of the month,” Mr. Inciong said. The e-mail entry should have the subject Knowing Biodiversity, Knowing Life – month_year (e.g. Knowing Biodiversity, Knowing

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Watch out for the trivia questions! Log on to www. aseanbiodiversity.org. You may also contact ACB’s Public Affairs Unit at lavjose@aseanbiodiversity.org.

Congratulations!!! In July, 19-year-old Mark Jayson G. Balas from La Union, Philippines won the first leg of the contest by giving the correct response to the question, “What are the four biodiversity hotspots in Southeast Asia?” The answers are: Indo-Burma, Philippines, Sundaland, and Wallacea. Biodiversity hotspots are places worldwide, which exemplify tremendous biodiversity, yet face massive negative impacts from various forces.

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Conserve Biodiversity, Save Humanity!

www.aseanbiodiversity.org

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

3F ERDB Bldg., Forestry Campus College, Laguna 4031 Philippines Tel: +632.584-4247, +6349.536-2865 Email: contact.us@aseanbiodiversity.org ACB is an intergovernmental institution of the ASEAN with initial funding from the EU.

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Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)

Buceros rhinoceros is confined to the Sundaic lowlands

know he is a good provider.

of extreme south peninsular Thailand, Sabah, Sarawak and

Classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, the

Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore (formerly), Kalimantan,

hornbill is native to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia,

Sumatra and Java, Indonesia and Brunei. It generally oc-

and Thailand, and is regionally extinct in Singapore. This

curs at low densities, even in suitable habitat.

species occurs in extensive areas of primary lowland and

The rhinoceros hornbill is named for the rhino hornshaped casque on its beak, which may be used in fighting,

hill forest, extending into tall secondary forest and swamp forests, up to 1,400 m.

to amplify its calls, for courtship displays, or just to knock

Major threats to the rhinoceros hornbill include forest

down fruit for eating. Its beak and casque are naturally

destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia caused by

white but during the lifetime of the bird are colored orange

extensive commercial and illegal logging, as well as agricultural

and red, due to the constant rubbing of the beak against a

development. In Borneo it is shot for food and hat feathers

gland beneath its tail, which exudes an orange-red fluid. Its

by local tribes. It returns to customary nest-holes, even after

food is primarily fruit and it is especially fond of figs. Pairs

surrounding forest has been disturbed, and studies demonstrate

inhabit the tops of the tallest trees. As it flies overhead

that logging reduces overall numbers.

the wings make a surprisingly loud strenuous “chuffling� that reminds one of a laboring locomotive. Hornbills are known for their loud, harsh calls. Males feed females as part of their courtship, which lets her

References: ARKive (http://www.arkive.org/rhinoceros-hornbill/ bucerosrhinoceros/facts-and-status.html)

Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis)

The rufous-necked hornbill is very large with an impres-

feed the female and their chicks. This is also where the

sive downwardly curved bill and block-like casque on

female defecates, thus creating a large pile of guano at

top of the head and bill. Males have a rufous head and

the base of the tree. The female lays about two eggs in

underparts with black back and wings, while females are

April, which she incubates through the dry season so

dark brown to black all over. There is a ring of bare,

that hatching is synchronised with the onset of the rainy

blue skin around the red eyes and the bill is yellow with

season. After a total of 125 days of incarceration, the

black and white barcode-like stripes. Both sexes call with

female breaks the nest’s seal and leaves, with the chicks

a soft, barking kup.

following shortly afterwards.

Classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List 2006,

The rufous-necked hornbills are particularly susceptible

the rufous-necked hornbill can still be found in Bhutan,

to various threats since they grow slowly, live long and

Myanmar, China, Thailand, Lao PDR, Viet Nam and northeast

have few offspring. Major threats are logging and habitat

India, and believed to be extinct in Nepal, its historical range

fragmentation, since they nest in large trees and require

country. It inhabits mature broadleaved forests, generally

vast tracts of forest to survive. These problems are com-

between 600-1,800 m. It nests (usually March-June) in tall,

pounded by widespread hunting and trapping for food,

wide-girthed trees. Some populations also make seasonal

and trade in pets and casques.

movements between forested areas in response to variations in the abundance of fruiting trees. The female rufous-necked hornbill spends four months

References: ARKive (http://www.arkive.org/rufous-necked-hornbill/

of every year incarcerated within a nest in a hollow tree.

aceros-nipalensis/facts-and-status.html)

She is sealed into the hole, between six and 33 metres

BirdLife International. 2009. Species factsheet: Aceros

above the ground, using semi-digested leaves, oil globules,

nipalensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on

and regurgitated mud. A slit-shaped allows the male to

18/8/2009

Visayan Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides Panini)

Also known as the Panay tarictic hornbill and tarictic

a result of lowland deforestation.

hornbill, this unusual bird is the smallest hornbill in the

The Visayan tarictic nests in natural holes in dead or

Philippines. It possesses a hollow blackish-red casque that

living trees, at an average height of 11 meters, in March

serves no function, but is believed to be the result of sexual

and April. The male seals the nest entrance with wood

selection. The casque sits on top of a wide, curved bill,

flakes and food remains, and will feed the female by re-

which has prominent yellow and reddish ridges. The male

gurgitating food during the 55 to 58 days she remains in

has a creamy-white head, neck and upper breast, turning

the nest, incubating about two or three eggs. The Visayan

rufous on the lower breast. The upperparts and wings are

tarictic generally breeds in pairs.

black with a bluish-green sheen. The creamy-white tail is

The Visayan tarictic has a diet primarily of fruits, but

tipped in black, and the bare skin surrounding the eye is

it also feeds on insects, earthworms, fish and lizards, and

white. The female is smaller than the male and black all

searches for food low down in the forest, and occasionally

over, except for the tail, and the bare skin around the eye

on the forest floor, at the forest edge and by clearings.

and on the throat is pale blue.

The Visayan tarictic’s habitats in the Philippines are

The Visayan tarictic is endemic to the Philippines, and

heavily forested, and the species may already be extinct

occurs on the islands of Masbate, Panay, Sicogon, Pan de

in some islands. Other major threats include hunting for

Azucar, Guimaras and Negros. It inhabits primary evergreen

subsistence, trade and sport.

forest, but sometimes wanders into secondary forest, or visits isolated fruiting trees. It appears to prefer forest

Reference:

below 1,100 meters, although it is being found increas-

ARKive (http://www.arkive.org/visayan-tarictic/penelop-

ingly at higher altitudes up to 1,500 meters, perhaps as

ides-panini/image-G24364.html)

White-crowned Hornbill (Aceros comatus)

Also known as the Asian white-crested hornbill, long-crested

The white-crowned hornbill is a territorial bird, and as-

hornbill and white-crested hornbill, the most noticeable

sumes a distinct threat posture when intimidated; it faces it

feature of this bird is its white crown feathers, which

opponent with its wings open, tail spread and bill lowered.

stand erect in a spiky crest. The white-crowned hornbill

Territories are occupied by a group of three to eight individu-

also possesses an ornamental casque on top of its bill.

als, usually consisting of one dominant breeding pair, one to

The head, neck, breast, gradual tail and tips of the wing

three helpers and a number of juveniles. The breeding pair is

feathers are white, while the rest of the plumage is black,

monogamous, with a cooperative breeding system, in which

with a metallic sheen to the upperparts. The large bill is

other adults and young in the group assist with the feeding

black with a greenish-yellow wash at the base. The bare

of the breeding female and the chicks. The nest is situated

skin surrounding the eye and on the throat is a striking

in natural holes in logged or unlogged forest, and like other

blue, and the eyes are pale yellow. Females are smaller

hornbills, the female seals herself into the tree hole with her

than males, and are also distinguished by their black neck

own feces, regurgitated food and mud, leaving only a small

and underparts.

opening through which the male passes food.

The species can be found in southern Myanmar, southern

The white-crowned hornbill has a large range, but since

Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo, and a

they can survive at higher elevations where forest destruc-

population has also recently been discovered in Cambodia.

tion is not so severe, they have not yet been considered as

They live in primary evergreen forest, favouring areas of thick

globally threatened.

tangled growth, and venturing into rubber, oil-palm and fruit plantations adjacent to forest and selectively logged areas. It

References:

is usually found below 900 meters, but has been recorded

ARKive (http://www.arkive.org/white-crowned-hornbill/ace-

up to 1,680 meters.

ros-comatus/facts-and-status.html)


Multilateral Environmental Agreements