Today, as we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the founding of the ASEAN, it is with pride and optimism that we look at the important achievements the robust cooperation among the Member States has made possible. This cooperation is underpinned by the ASEAN Member States’ (AMS) common interest to protect its rich natural heritage and shared responsibility to sustainably manage its d diverse biological resources.

As an organisation working under the auspices of the ASEAN, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) continues to contribute to the deepening and strengthening of the collaboration among the Member States, including the expansion of the network of partners with the aim of protecting and sustainably managing the region’s biodiversity.

Amid the ongoing health crisis and the worsening impacts of climate change, the resolve of the region to rise above these challenges is even more pronounced. Brunei Darussalam’s leadership this year that seeks to advance multilateralism motivates us to do more and serve the region better.

Just last Friday, as part of the celebrations of the ASEAN Day, the ACB, together with the ASEAN Secretariat, formally launched the ASEAN Green Initiative (AGI), a region-wide programme that aims to ramp up restoration efforts and plant at least 10 million native trees across the 10 ASEAN Member states in a span of 10 years. The AGI sets the standards for the recognition of tree-planting activities and programmes across the region that not only regrow our forests but also contribute to peoples’ well-being, livelihood improvement, and resilience-building.

The AGI in itself is a demonstration of the strong cooperation among the AMS and their commitment to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration in the region.

As the ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak said at the virtual launch of the AGI, the region-wide programme is hoped to be “a catalyst that will mobilise contributions from the whole-of-society.”

We are also pleased that despite uncertainties due to the ongoing pandemic, we have the constant support of our regional and international partners. As we continue to scale up our efforts, including in the mainstreaming of biodiversity across various sectors, we continue to expand our network.

Indeed, together as a region, we can achieve more. May the celebrations of the ASEAN Day bring inspiration and hope that we can overcome present challenges and ensure a brighter future for the ASEAN – a region that cares, prepares, and prospers.

May this day also instill in us that #WeAreASEANBiodiversity.

Happy 54th ASEAN Day!

Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim
Executive Director, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
08 August 2021