Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has announced that the Philippines will host the 4th Asean Heritage Parks (AHP) Conference in Tagaytay City on October 1-4, 2013.
The conference is spearheaded by the Asean Center for Biodiversity (ACB), hosted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and supported by the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project and the Department of Tourism.
Some 300 delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will participate in the conference that will bring together AHP managers, biodiversity experts, policy makers and scientists, and representatives from NGOs, indigenous and local communities, and relevant international and regional organizations.
ACB Executive Director Roberto Oliva said the conference will update the participants on recent knowledge and tools in addressing biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation and the preservation of Asean’s natural heritage; discuss issues on biodiversity, in the context of the outcomes of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve the Aichi Targets and contribute to the successful implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020; and identify cooperation opportunities towards capacity building for effective management of AHPs and other critical ecosystems and biodiversity to contribute to poverty reduction.
AHP conferences are conducted every three years. The first conference was held in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand in 2004; the second in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in 2007; and the third in Brunei Darussalam in 2010. These conferences ensure that park managers, policy makers, conservationists, scientists and relevant stakeholders benefit from available best practices and lessons on the management of AHPs and other protected areas.
The Asean Declaration on Heritage Parks was agreed and signed by the environment ministers of the 10 Asean member states in December 2003 in Yangon, Myanmar. The AHP Program was then established to promote greater collaboration among the Asean Member States in the management of these parks.
To date, there are 33 AHPs in Southeast Asia; five are in the Philippines, which include Mt. Apo Natural Park, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park and Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park, all in Mindanao; Mts. Iglit-Baco in Mindoro; and the newest, Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve, in Luzon. PNA