Ten Conservation Advocates Receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award

Last update: 12/08/2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- Science advisor to the Prime Minister Prof Zakri Abdul Hamid was among the 10 biodiversity conservation advocates, who received the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award at a ceremony held in Manila, the Philippines on Monday (Aug 7) .

"The inaugural award representing the grassroots, government, academic, and business sectors is part of the celebration of ASEAN´s golden anniversary, " said a statement issued today by the Manila based ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

From an indigenous community leader who is protecting Papua´s forest to a national scientist who champions coastal resources management, the inaugural ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award honours inspirational and valiant individuals who have risen to the challenge of helping to curb biodiversity loss.

Each of the heroes, in their own different ways, have made a significant impact on biodiversity conservation in their respective communities, countries, and the region.

Prof Zakri was recognised for making a lasting impact on analysis and assessment of global biodiversity and ecosystem services, the statement said.

"The Heroes will bring to the peoples of ASEAN a better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity and underpin the willingness of individuals to make real changes and actions that will bring about a more sustainable future for all of us, " said Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, deputy secretary-general of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

ACB executive director Roberto V. Oliva said in the same statement, "We are honouring 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes who have dedicated their lives for the cause of biodiversity conservation. ASEAN biodiversity which is the region´s life support system is still rich because of you, " he said. The ACB serves as the awards secretariat.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes 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) and the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI).

Apart from Prof Zakri, the other 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are Eyad Samhan, former field supervisor, Tasek Merimbun, Brunei Darussalam; Sophea Chhin, government official of Department of Biodiversity, Cambodia; Alex Waisimon, conservation worker, Indonesia; Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham, president of Union Development Agricole Import-Export Public Company (UDA Farm), Laos; Prof Zakri Abdul Hamid, science advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Malaysia; Dr Maung Maung Kyi, chairman of Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association, Myanmar; Dr Angel C. Alcala, professor emeritus of Silliman University, National Scientist, the Philippines; Prof Leo Tan Wee Hin, professorial fellow and director (Special Projects) of Science Faculty, National University of Singapore; Dr Nonn Panitvong, founder and webmaster of Thailand Biodiversity Conservation Group; Prof Dang Huy Huynh, vice chair of Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment.

Each ASEAN Biodiversity Hero received a cash prize worth US$5,000 (RM21,000), a special Heroes medal and trophy. Apart from receiving the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award, the 10 heroes also received the Hyundai Icon for Biodiversity Award, a special prize from HARI Foundation, Inc. (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.