Deputy Minister of Environment and Forestry Alue Dohong opened the 7th ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) Conference, which took place from October 31 – November 3, 2022 in Bogor, West Java on Tuesday (1/11).
The ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHP) program is one of the pilot programs of ASEAN, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of effectively managing biodiversity-rich areas and promote greater cooperation among ASEAN Member States (AMS) in conserving and managing protected areas.
To date, there have been 51 AHPs in ASEAN countries consisting of 33 terrestrial areas, 9 sea areas and 9 wetland areas. Indonesia itself has 7 national parks declared as ASEAN Heritage Parks, namely Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park, Way Kambas National Park, Thousand Islands National Park, Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, Wakatobi National Park and Lorentz National Park.
“We hope that this conference will expand AHP’s role in ecosystem protection and pandemic recovery through increased knowledge and skills in planning and implementing ecosystem management, restoration strategies, and building resilience,” Alue Dohong said while opening the conference.
Forest cover in Indonesia is approximately 95 million hectares or about 51% of the total land area of 187 million ha. A forested area of this size is certainly a carbon reserve as well as a major capital in environmental and climate protection. Currently there are 568 protected areas including 55 National Parks in Indonesia spread from Sabang to Merauke; They range from representatives of coral reef ecosystems in marine waters to alpine forests at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters above sea level. Some of them are recognized as International Recognition such as World Heritage Site (7 units), Biosphere Reserve (64 units), Ramsar Site (7 units), ASEAN Heritage Park (7 units) and Global Geopark (4 units).
“This recognition is proof of the importance of Indonesia’s forest and marine areas and biodiversity for regional and international interests,” said Deputy Minister Alue Dohong.
According to Alue Dohong The Indonesian government, regionally and globally, has made great efforts to overcome the challenges of conserving the lungs of the earth. However, for now, he thinks we need reasonable expectations, great motivation, a keen vision, strong partnerships and a willingness to create successful and strategic conservation efforts as a global movement.
“We understand that conservation will only succeed and truly succeed if communities and projects around the world are able to stop and reverse the downward trend of species and ecosystems. Therefore, to make it happen, we urgently need systemic transformation,” explained Alue Dohong.
The implementation of systemic transformation is carried out in several ways, namely: Protecting the potential for biodiversity and environmental services in national parks by involving communities around protected areas; Addressing open areas through tenurial conflict resolution and ecosystem restoration policies; Increase community participation through conservation partnerships and community empowerment, as well as increase public awareness to maintain forest and marine ecosystems; Optimizing multi-stakeholder coordination such as other ministries/institutions, local governments, the private sector or other parties in supporting regional development policies that intersect with protected areas; and Improve the management of protected area development through increasing the effectiveness of protected area management.
“Biodiversity is the backbone for environmental, economic and social sustainability. For this reason, let’s take care of conservation, we protect it and we use it sustainably,” concluded Alue Dohong.
To further strengthen the AHP network in the ASEAN region, the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), as the AHP Secretariat holds an AHP Conference every 3 years. The conference serves as a venue to enhance knowledge sharing and enhance AHP network capacity among AHP managers, AHP Program Committee members, members of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature and Biodiversity Conservation. In 2022, Indonesia, in this case the Directorate General of KSDAE, KLHK as the national focal point of CBD has the opportunity to host the implementation of the 7th AHP which was held in Bogor, West Java with the theme Healing Nature and People: The Role of AHPs in Ecosystem Protection and Pandemic Recovery. The theme raised is in line with the spirit of the G20 to Recover together, Recover stronger, where Indonesia is in the presidency.
Theresa Mundita S. Lim, Executive Director, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) explained that the 7th AHP Conference was also supported by other activities, namely: product exhibitions from AHP and Market Place that have products in accordance with AHP’s vision and mission; The Young ASEAN Story Teller (YAS) is a hybrid virtual exhibition featuring conservation stories from AHP in the form of photography, artwork, writing, film/videography,; and Selection of ASEAN Biodiversity Hero (ABH).
“We hope that the activities carried out will be a manifestation of our responsibility in preserving forests and marine ecosystems as well as biodiversity, conservation and benefiting the community. Together, we can play a more impactful contribution to ensuring species sustainability and ecosystem conservation. And we must be ready to give full support to advance this goal,” said Theresa Mundita.
The 7th AHP conference was attended by more than 300 participants consisting of AWGNCB, AHP Managers, ACB, ASEAN country members, AHP organizational partners, local communities, youth groups present. At the end of the event, participants will make a field trip to Gunung Gede National Park as an example of conservation area management in Indonesia.