What is biodiversity? Ask people what they think it means and chances are only a few can accurately define it. Fewer still can explain its significance to human survival. The immense communication gap between the biodiversity conservation community and the general public is a major factor hampering efforts to achieve conservation goals.
According to N.S. Sodhi, et al.,published papers are fewer than expected for biodiversity. This is just an example of the dearth of information materials on biodiversity, resulting in low public awareness of the values of biodiversity and conservation. Resources for conservation is limited, often translating into lack of direly needed information, education, and communication materials such as posters, brochures, documentaries, commercials, and other awareness tools for the general public.
ASEAN Member States have committed to achieving the Aichi Targets, one of which is Target 1 which states that by 2020, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) expects people from all over the world to be aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably. This goal is hinged upon the premise that if people understand and appreciate the importance of biodiversity, they will be motivated to take proactive conservation actions.
An assessment conducted by ACB in 2016 of ASEAN Member States’ progress vis-à-vis the Aichi Biodiversity Targets shows that in terms of target 1, at least half of AMS have reported that they have mobilized necessary actions towards the achievement of this target. While the assessment points to noteworthy progress, there are actions that must be taken to bridge the communication gap.
One important step identified by the Centre to bridge the gap is the selection of heroes or champions to represent the conservation sector.