9th ASEAN Leaderspeak: Educating ASEAN on marine and coastal management

This is a press release from the Asian institute of Management. 

MAKATI, Philippines – Recognizing the increasing importance of marine and coastal resources in the region, the Asian Institute of Management featured three distinguished scientists from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) to share their insights on citizen science as a new initiative for protecting and conserving essential marine and coastal areas – aligned with the Coral Triangle Initiative of the ASEAN.                                                                                                                    

“If you give nature a chance, she will reward you. She will come back. Just like what we do every year,” remarked Dr. Richard Mooi who is currently embarking on a series of biodiversity expeditions with Dr. Meg Burke and Dr. Terry Gosliner. The team selected the Philippines due to it being the center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity.

Speakers credited vast biodiversities for the many services this offers not only in socio-economic terms such as food resources and security, storm surge protection, ecotourism, pharmaceutical and drug discovery, and sustainable livelihood, but also in terms of ecological services such as maintaining water cycles, regulating climatic conditions and maintaining balance in ecosystems. The service provided by ecosystems is worth US$ 33 trillion, or US$ 15 trillion higher than the global GDP.  

However, the region still continues to contend with environmental issues that call not only for the management of coastal and marine resources but also for responsible ecotourism. The forum introduced the concept of citizen science as a major paradigm which enhances public awareness on marine and coastal resource management by engaging communities at the grassroots level to proactively take part in the sustainable management of their local ecosystems.

“We communicate to over a thousand of people living in coastal communities and hopefully spawn action,” Dr. Gosliner said. Citizen science aims to utilize crowd-sourced information in the promotion of coastal and marine biodiversity protection such as identifying areas that need mangrove reforestation. In addition, through the use of technological advances and mobile networks, reporting of marine activities and species can be more rapidly disseminated.

The forum also introduced the Science, Education and Advocacy or SEA Institute which is a consortium of stakeholders interested in promoting research, education and conservation of coral reef ecosystems. These initiatives are aptly tuned with the Roadmap for ASEAN Community 2015 which emphasizes the role of environmental education and public participation in achieving a clean and green environment for the region. 

This event was organized as part of the 10-part ASEAN Leaderspeak Series of the AIM ASEAN 2015 Project to spread awareness on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Integration by the end of 2015. The Leaderspeak Series is a platform for discussing and exchanging innovative ideas on ASEAN as a whole and has showcased thought leaders such as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno,  Mr. Ronaldo del Carmen of Pixar, and President Fidel V. Ramos throughout its run.

The Forum was held in the Asian Institute of Management and was attended by the students, the AIM community, and professionals from both public and private sectors as well as the academe. – Rappler.com