ASEAN stars, envi’t advocates join ACB’s newest campaign for biodiversity

Joining the ACB’s campaign are celebrities in the ASEAN— Antoinette Taus, Alex Rendell, Christian Bautista, Katrina Kendall, Mike Lewis, Kelly Tandiono, Paul Foster; Angie Mead-King; Phuong Khanh; and H’Hen Nie.

22 May 2021— On the International Day for Biological Diversity, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity launched its newest campaign dubbed as #WeAreASEANBiodiversity: Our homes, our lives, our stories as part of its efforts to amplify the call for wider participation in protecting biodiversity and humankind.

The campaign in collaboration with Communities Organized for Resource Allocation or CORA led by its founder and UN Environment Programme National Goodwill Ambassador for the Philippines Antoinette Taus, highlights stories of hope in individual and collective actions that contribute to efforts to restore ecosystems and mainstream biodiversity into plans and programmes across sectors.

Apart from Taus, joining the campaign are actor and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Alex Rendell, singer Christian Bautista; Miss Earth UK 2015 and protected area ambassador Katrina Kendall, actor and model Mike Lewis, celebrity athlete Kelly Tandiono, actor and host Paul Foster; entrepreneur and farmer Angie Mead-King; Miss Earth 2018 Phuong Khanh; and Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H’Hen Nie.

A three-minute video, which premiered on ACB’s Facebook page, celebrates ASEAN’s rich natural heritage, from its mountains, farmlands, rivers, and wetlands, and issues the urgent call to “mend our broken relationship with nature”.

Among the many actions that individuals can do are planting native trees, regrowing forests, ending destructive fishing practices, and keeping the waters free from litter, the video said.

In her message, ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim said that the ongoing crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impacts of climate change have further exposed how economic growth, public health, and our society’s resilience rely on healthy biodiversity and well-functioning ecosystems.

“The projections are grim most especially if we do not change our ways. But now, we are given the opportunity to reclaim this narrative”, Lim said.

The ACB chief was referring to the report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2019 that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

She stressed that continuing biodiversity decline can increase the risks of new and emerging infectious diseases that have the potential to become pandemics and reduce buffers against the impacts of climate change.

“The theme of this year’s celebrations ‘We’re part of the solution #ForNature’ calls for a much-needed shift from the prevailing mindset that humanity and biodiversity are separate. We are part of biodiversity and hence, we are part of the solutions”, Lim said.

Earl Paulo Diaz, head of the Communication and Public Affairs unit of the ACB, said online and offline activities have been lined up until 2023 as part of the campaign.

Among these initiatives are the fifth staging of the ASEAN-wide photo contest Zooming in on Biodiversity, the launch of Biodiversitalks, an online talk show that features people from all walks of life discussing relevant topics and issues around biodiversity and nature.

The ACB will also hold the second ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards to recognise outstanding individuals from the ASEAN Member States who have made exemplary contributions to the safekeeping of the region’s natural resources.

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