BIOME 1, 2 and 3: National biodiversity meetings in Philippines

21 December 2011 | News story

CEC member Dr. Jimmy Masagca is organizing the third national science meetings on biodiversity and climate change, held on the rural and remote island of Catanduanes.

The annual national event focuses on biodiversity, climate change, sustainable development and the political ecology of nature conservation. It is the first and only event of its kind. The role of Communication. Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) in promoting plans for biodiversity conservation is emphasized in the meetings by CEC member Prof. Dr. Jimmy T. Masagca and other convenors, including Prof. Estrella T. Tribiana, A/Prof. Sonia Vargas and A/Prof. Masagca.

The participation of local government units (LGUs) is also important, Dr. Masagca explained. “Governments recognize the crucial role of education and communication through annual scientific meetings in the rural areas for achieving biodiversity goals. Development and science processes through biodiversity research dissemination and science meetings should not be held or conducted only in the mainland or the urban centers leaving behind the remote towns or the rural villages for scientific development. It will be the chance of the local researchers, teachers, students and local people to see or meet world renowned scientists, teachers and researchers during these BIOME and SEDTEC meetings being held in the remotest villages of the Philippines,” he said. Participants have included LGUs such as the Municipality of Baras, Catanduanes (2010) and the Libmanan Water Program of the municipality headed by the Vice Mayor Joel Bonsol of Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Bicol region (2011). In 2011, an informal special BIOME Consultative Meeting (CONMEET) session took place during the annual meeting.

Dr. Masagca views the meetings as an opportunity to enhance science, education and communication. “We should strive to put into practice the so-called “spread policy” in science development by giving every island of archipelagic states in the world for various opportunities for the enhancement in science, education and communication. As a CEC member working in the remote areas can definitely play a role in bridging the gaps in the lopsided development of science of biodiversity and biodiversity conservation; and giving opportunities to the local researchers, teachers and students in making this change happen,” he said.

BIOME 1, the first national meeting on biodiversity was held on October 21-22, 2010. It carried the theme: Achieving the MDG of Environmental Sustainability in the Countryside. BIOME 2, the second meeting, took place on October 19-21, 2011 (carried the CEC IUCN logo in its announcements). BIOME 2 had the theme: Protecting and Valuing Rivers, Estuaries and Wetlands (REWs) in 2011. The water theme was inspired by Dr. Masagca's participation in the 13th International Riversymposium in Perth, Australia. He was awarded an AUSAID travel fellowship of the International Riversfoundation in Australia inorder to deliver a paper on the rivers of Catanduanes Island, Philippines. The experience gave him the impetus to incorporate protocols in the proposed Healthy River Programs of Catanduanes for Pacifictech STREAM (Study Center for Water Resources Management for the Local Communities). These protocols can be integrated in Pacifictech STREAM work programme involving the Catanduanes State College in the island, particularly on Climate Change Communication (3Cs), Biodiversity and Climate Change Biology Teaching and Learning and Biodiversity Knowledge Management.

Keynote speakers at BIOME 1 and BIOME 2 have included Dr. Josette T. Biyo, winner of the 2002 International Science Teaching Awards of Intel/Director of the Philippine Science High School; Dr. Abercio Rotor, Professor of Biology, University of Santo Tomas and National Awardee for the book Living with Nature; Dr. Bienvenido Eusebio, former staff of US Environmental Protection Agency & Director, Lassalian Institute for Environment or LIFE; and Dr. Julie F. Barcelona, University of Canterbury & Outstanding Young Scientist of the Philippines for her studies on the world largest flower, Rafflesia.

BIOME 3 SEDTEC 2

In 2012, BIOME 3 will be held in Oct 20 to 23, 2012 as a joint meeting with the Second conference on Science, Education and Technology (SEDTEC 2) to be dubbed as 2012 Philippine National Conference on Water and Biodiversity. The BIOME 3 SEDTEC 2 national event on water aims to bring together teachers (elementary/high school/tertiary), scientists, leading academic researchers, industry researchers and scholars, local government units and students to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects in Water and Biodiversity, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Political Ecology of Nature Conservation. It will also look into the issues which teachers, technologists and researchers face the world over-improving efficiency and effectiveness in Biodiversity Education and Communication (BEC).

For BIOME 3 in 2012, it is being planned that keynote speakers will include Academician Prof. Dr. Rhodora V. Azanza (Marine Red Tide Scientist) of the National Academy of the Philippines and the University of the Philippines or Dr. Laura David (Outstanding Woman Scientist for Climate Change in the Philippine); and Prof. Dr. Ruben C. Umaly (Biologist and Geneticist) who was the former Director of ASEAN Foundation, SEAMEO-SEAMES in Thailand and Secretary General of Asia Pacific University Network. Prof. Dr. RC Umaly was the former research mentor of CEC Member JT Masagca in SEAMEO BIOTROP Bogor, Indonesia as a young scientist research fellowship on aquatic biology.

For more information, please contact Prof. Dr. Jimmy T. Masagca, CEC member from the Philippines, at pacifictechjtm@yahoo.com. He is the research coordinator of the Pacific Island Institute for Pedagogy, Technology, Arts & Sciences (Pacifictech). He is also guest faculty of the Natural Sciences Department at the Catanduanes State Colleges.