The Government of the Philippines will host the award ceremony of the inaugural ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes, a program designed to recognize outstanding individuals from the ASEAN region who have contributed significantly to biodiversity conservation and advocacy efforts in their respective countries.
Ten heroes from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam will be honored at the award ceremony to be held on 07 August 2017 at the New World Manila Bay Hotel. Apart from receiving their awards, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes will share their experiences on biodiversity conservation in a forum to be attended by representatives from the government, business, youth, and conservation sectors, as well as the diplomatic community.
“I am proud that in this year of Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN, biodiversity occupies an important place in the collective ASEAN agenda. By recognizing the important contributions of 10 individuals from ASEAN Member States in promoting biodiversity conservation, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award creates fertile ground where inspiration can take root and prod other individuals to also act as heroes and initiate wider public involvement within the ASEAN community,” said Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR).
She added, “It is fitting that this recognition comes at a time when ASEAN itself is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. This landmark year not only calls for us to look back at the gains of the last half-century, but also forces us to examine the course of our present actions and their consequences on future generations. In the same spirit of introspective reflection, the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award serves as a reminder for each of us to ask ourselves, what can I do to serve the common good? How can I help? And this is perhaps the most striking aspect of the Awards, in that it celebrates the power that every individual wields to effect real and positive change in the lives of countless others, both within and beyond the ASEAN region.”
One of the commemorative activities for the Golden Anniversary of ASEAN, the Heroes project is supported by the ASEAN Secretariat; the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs; the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project; and HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI). The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) serves as awards secretariat.
ACB Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva explained that in selecting the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes, “the nominating agencies considered the relevance of the nominees’ contributions to biodiversity conservation, the impact of these contributions to biodiversity conservation efforts in their respective countries and the region, the replicability of their actions, and the recognition they received in communities where they belong.”
Each ASEAN Biodiversity Hero shall receive a cash prize worth USD 5,000, a special heroes medal, a trophy, and a certificate. They will also receive the Hyundai Icon for Biodiversity Award from HFI.
The heroes from the 10 ASEAN Member States will be known as the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region. They will be invited to speak in forums, workshops, press conferences, and other relevant events to share their experiences in conserving biodiversity with the aim of inspiring others to do the same.