Association of Southeast Asian Nations Center for Biodiversity

Article excerpt

THE Southeast Asian region is of immense importance for global biodiversity as it encompasses the natural habitats of up to 40 percent of all species on earth. Of the most diverse bio-spaces in the world, three are in the region - Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The variety found in natural habitats in the regions is astonishing as a single small tropical forest patch in a country in the region serves as the locus for a couple of hundreds of animal species and plants. The Philippines, for one, has more than 50,000 described animal and plant species, 65 percent of which are not found anywhere in the world. Brunei and Indonesia have more than 400 varieties of the butterfly and 25 percent of the world's fish species, respectively.

The biodiversity in the region requires a commitment on the part of the individual governments and its citizens to preserve the habitat. Working through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and with support from the European Union (EU), the countries in the region have decided to build up from an earlier initiative, the ASEAN Regional Center for the Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC), and launch today the ASEAN Center for the Biodiversity (ACB). …