Opinion > Columns
Asean must step up to protect 30 percent of Earth's land and ocean

AS unprecedented changes and pressing issues continue to impact both nature and the biodiversity of the planet, a growing global effort is under way to protect 30 percent of the Earth's land and oceans - the 30x30 Wyss Campaign for Nature championed by the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC), an intergovernmental coalition of more than 60 countries around the world co-chaired by Costa Rica, France and the UK. It calls on other nations, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), to commit to this definite target for the benefit of the environment, climate, economy and society.

Evidence and research have shown that Southeast Asia has one of the highest deforestation rates and one of the most severe cases of biodiversity loss despite harboring 15 percent of the world's tropical forests and 70 percent of the global biodiversity. Asean is home to about 18 percent of the world's most endangered species, such as the Philippine eagle, the helmeted hornbill in Thailand and the saola (Asian unicorn) in Malaysia, among many diverse and rare species found only within the region. Notwithstanding the fact that Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in Asean are deemed as three of the world's 18 megadiverse countries, high expectations and consistent commitments are demanded of Asean to meet the 30x30 target, which unfortunately is not the case now.