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Asean calls for improvement in key biodiversity area identification

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Asean Centre for Biodiversity had organised a series of orientation workshops in Thai capital Bangkok from Monday to Friday. Photo supplied

Asean calls for improvement in key biodiversity area identification

A series of workshops held in Bangkok this week aims to help participants identify sites critical to the global persistence of biodiversity in the Asean region.

It will also develop visualisation tools to aid the reporting processes for multilateral environmental agreements.

In a press release, Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) executive director Dr Theresa Mundita Lim said: “While there is much to celebrate about Asean’s rich biodiversity, it is important to recognise that the region’s natural resources are fast depleting and face a wide range of threats leading to biodiversity loss.”

She said Asean member states had signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other multilateral environmental agreements such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in efforts to combat biodiversity loss.

According to the statement, the workshops – which started on Monday and runs until Friday – will present tools to promote the conservation of sites critical to the global persistence of biodiversity in the region.

It will also demonstrate how these tools can guide the strategic expansion of protected area networks, inform environmental safeguards, and report progress in the achievement of CBD targets and the SDGs.

“The workshops will also introduce the Biodiversity Indicators Dashboard (BID), an interactive, customisable, online platform for visualising trends and geographic variation in biodiversity indicators."

“It will also provide an overview of trends in biodiversity and conservation actions, and identify gaps to tailor-fit the platform and other tools to identify areas critical to the persistence of biodiversity to the requirements of the Asean member states,” the release quoted Dr Sheila Vergara, director of the ACB Biodiversity Information Management Unit, as saying.

Participants at the workshops, it further read, would include managers of protected areas and heritage parks across Asean, officers handling collection and analysis of biodiversity data and conservation staff involved in the preparation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and reports to multilateral environmental agreements.

Asked regarding Cambodia’s efforts in tackling biodiversity loss, Ministry of Environment spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said the government has designated five Ramsar Sites across the Kingdom.

‘Hindrances remain’

A Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated to be of global importance under the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty governing the conservation of wetland areas.

The Kingdom ratified the convention on October 23, 1999.

The first four Ramsar Sites in Cambodia are Boeung Chhmar in Kampong Thom province, Koh Kapik in Koh Kong province, middle stretches of the Mekong River in the north of Stung Treng province, and Prek Toal in Battambang province.

Stung Sen wetland, a seasonally-flooded 9,293ha freshwater swamp – located along the southeastern edge of the Tonle Sap great lake in Kampong Thom province, became the Kingdom’s latest Ramsar Site in November last year.

Pheaktra also said the Ministry of Environment constantly shares information to the people on how to protect biodiversity areas and natural environmental resources as well as on law enforcement and development of ecotourism sites as a driving force to improve the livelihood of communities.

“However, illegal fishing, forest clearing, insufficient waste management and a lack of participation from some communities and local authorities to protect biodiversity and manage natural resources remain as hindrances to prevention and conservation efforts,” he said.

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