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ASEAN-BAC, ACB ink partnership on business and biodiversity

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) sealed their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding to advance business and biodiversity integration initiatives in the ASEAN region on 2 September at the ASEAN Climate Forum 2023, during the ASEAN-BAC Business and Investment Summit week.

The signing ceremony was represented by M. Arsjad Rasjid P. Mangkuningrat, ASEAN-BAC Chair and Executive Director and Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim of the ACB. This pioneering partnership aims to further boost biodiversity and sustainability mainstreaming in business operations across Southeast Asia, particularly in the carbon trading market and adoption of nature-based solutions to climate change. It also envisions to provide a platform for the ASEAN business sectors or groups to actively promote and exchange knowledge and practices on their emerging sustainability efforts, thereby creating a strong network of nature-positive business alliance among the ASEAN Member States.

In his opening speech, ASEAN-BAC 2023 Chair M. Arsjad Rasjid P. M. said that, “Since the inception of Indonesia as the ASEAN-BAC Chairman for this year, we have decided to promote sustainable development as our priority agenda. This is not because of Indonesia’s interests; this is a global concern that has become of regional importance”.

Mr. Rasjid further cited that ASEAN countries definitely have tremendous potential to mitigate climate change and achieve net zero, and that it is inspiring to see progress on how ASEAN countries may inclusively collaborate and collectively push the climate action agenda for the greater benefit of our society. 

Recognising the challenges on climate change and sustainability on communities and societies in the region, Mr. Rasjid mentioned that under the Chairmanship of Indonesia, the ASEAN-BAC has committed to launch significant legacy programmes which are the ASEAN Net Zero Hub and the ASEAN Carbon Center of Excellence. “We developed these projects based on two observations—first, the ASEAN countries’ commitment to net zero requires a strong understanding of the regional pathway; and synchronizing the efforts together is a key. And second, we understand that companies in ASEAN are increasingly looking to develop climate strategies and solutions to improve their performance across their value chains and share long-term access to finance”, he added. 

ACB Executive Director Dr. Lim expressed that, “We are very excited to have the opportunity to engage with the ASEAN business community through the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to ensure that the road to net zero in the ASEAN incorporates the contribution of nature-based solutions, including biodiversity conservation and achieve multiple benefits for climate change mitigation and resilience.  The ACB as the centre of excellence for regional cooperation in addressing biodiversity loss, is very much committed to mainstreaming biodiversity in the development agenda. This partnership is a step forward in promoting biodiversity conservation as a viable investment,” she said.

ASEAN-BAC and ACB formalised their partnership for a greener, sustainable ASEAN. (From left to right) Mr. Oliver Agoncillo, Biodiversity Mainstreaming Director, Programmes Department, ACB; Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, ACB Executive Director; Mr. M. Arsjad Rasjid P. Mangkuningrat, ASEAN-BAC Chair and Executive Director; and Mr. Dharsono Hartono, Legacy Lead, ASEAN Net Zero Hub and Carbon Center of Excellence of ASEAN-BAC.

Creation of the ASEAN Business and Biodiversity Initiative (ABBI)

The ACB and ASEAN-BAC synergy is expected to make way for the establishment of an ASEAN Business and Biodiversity Initiative, a regional platform for the joint implementation of activities through the ASEAN-BAC Working Group on Sustainable Development (AWGSD). This will actively contribute towards transitioning to a greener and sustainable future for ASEAN, through the mainstreaming of biodiversity and nature-based solutions in the strategic priorities of the business sector in the region. While the ASEAN-BAC will be taking the lead to ensure continuity and maximise the reach of business networks and implementing nature-positive systems and processes in business strategies of its members, the ACB will provide a facilitating role, proposing collaborative actions and activities or joint programmes among relevant stakeholders in the ASEAN region on cutting edge technologies and policy frameworks relevant to mainstreaming biodiversity in business and finance. The partnership will ensure regional representation of each AMS.

Areas of Collaboration

During the initial meetings between parties, the possible joint programmes or activities being explored included the following: the conduct of studies on nature-based solutions, creation of a sustainability tool kit for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises in helping them move towards net zero carbon targets; stocktaking of lessons and good practices on business and biodiversity engagements; biodiversity mapping of ASEAN Heritage Parks; and support to the AMS in producing communication, education, and public awareness materials and knowledge products related to improving the policy environment and programmes supportive of business and biodiversity efforts; among others.

The ACB serves as the Chair of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity from 2022 to 2024. Mainstreaming biodiversity is one of the priority programmes of the ACB in key sectors such as business and investments in recognition of the latter’s significant role in biodiversity conservation and in ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources in the region. (ACB)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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