Eyad Samhan of Brunei Darussalam; Sophea Chhin of Cambodia; Alex Waisimon of Indonesia; Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham of Laos; Professor Zakri Abdul Hamid of Malaysia; Dr Maung Maung Kyi of Myanmar; Dr Angel C Alcala of the Philippines; Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin of Singapore; Dr Nonn Panitvong of Thailand; and Professor Dang Huy Huynh of Vietnam. PHOTO: ASEAN BIODIVERSITY HEROES SECRETARIAT
This November, exceptional individuals from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who have contributed significantly to biodiversity efforts will be awarded the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards.
In a press statement, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Secretariat shared that, among the numerous roadblocks to achieving global biodiversity targets, the lack of public awareness on the crucial role of biodiversity ranks as one of most concerning, according to the Convention Biological Diversity (CBD).
“Without keen awareness of the link between biodiversity and human survival, people are not likely to take conservation measures.”
To help bridge this awareness gap, the statement highlights that the region will recognise outstanding individuals from ASEAN during an awards ceremony, which will be one of the highlights of the 7th ASEAN Heritage Parks Conference to be held in Bogor, Indonesia next month.
“The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes recognises exceptional individuals from the ASEAN member states who have contributed significantly to biodiversity efforts in their respective communities and countries,” said the statement.
“One of the commemorative activities for the 55th anniversary of ASEAN and the 17th anniversary of the ACB, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards is a flagship initiative of the ASEAN supported by the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project; and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC). The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity serves as the awards secretariat.”
The statement noted that Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam will each nominate one ASEAN Biodiversity Hero to represent their country.
“In nominating an individual, they will consider the relevance of the nominee’s contributions to biodiversity conservation, the impact of these contributions to biodiversity conservation efforts in their respective countries and the region, the replicability of their actions, and the recognition they received in communities where they belong,” it was shared.
Each awardee will receive a Heroes’ fund worth USD5,000 to augment the valuable advocacy efforts they are doing in their countries for biodiversity. An ASEAN trophy and a special prize courtesy of MPIC will also be given to the awardees.
The laureates, who will be known as the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region, will also be invited to share their advocacies in various regional events.
Past awardees include Eyad Samhan of Brunei Darussalam; Sophea Chhin of Cambodia; Alex Waisimon of Indonesia; Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham of Laos; Professor Zakri Abdul Hamid of Malaysia; Dr Maung Maung Kyi of Myanmar; Dr Angel C Alcala of the Philippines; Professor Leo Tan Wee Hin of Singapore; Dr Nonn Panitvong of Thailand; and Professor Dang Huy Huynh of Vietnam.
Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Dr Theresa Mundita Lim said, “Since it was launched in 2017, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes has showcased the work of notable individuals from the business, academic, non-profit, and government sectors to make the world a healthier place for future generations.
“We shared stories of people who stood up for biodiversity and did what they can to help curb biodiversity loss. Our hope is that through the Heroes, we can boost public awareness and light a fire in people to stand up for biodiversity, too,” she added.
Meanwhile, according to the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes website, the ACB and its partners through the initiative “will contribute to raising greater awareness about biodiversity in the region, as well as support ASEAN’s vision of One Community through recognition of outstanding achievements in biodiversity conservation and advocacy, emphasising that biodiversity conservation and advocacy are common concerns of the entire ASEAN community”.
The project has three main aims, which are to: recognise outstanding achievements of ASEAN citizens in biodiversity conservation and advocacy; inspire people to take action for biodiversity by sharing with them the noteworthy stories of ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes; and promote awareness of the value of biodiversity among various audiences in the ASEAN region.
With regards to the recognised individuals, the website stated: “The Heroes will be the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region – individuals that people can identify with and will inspire others to take action for biodiversity in their own spheres of influence.”