CEC Members Facilitate ASEAN Workshop on Biodiversity and Media

22 February 2010 | News story

CEC members from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam served as facilitators at a workshop co-organized by the CBD and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. Cynthia Chin, Dinh Thi Minh Thu and Ronny Mustamu applied the tools and methods of CEPA - Communication and Education for Public Awareness.
 

Representatives of government and the media from 10 ASEAN member states attended a December 2009 workshop in Jakarta to explore CEPA and media relations in reference to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB).  The capacity-building event was organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in partnership with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), and with the support of the Government of Indonesia and financial support of the Government of the Netherlands.

Report from Thu

Biodiversity is the foundation for life on earth and provides basic needs for people’s survival on this globe. Yet, awareness on biodiversity and its importance is not well-recognized among the public in the region. This workshop provided a valuable opportunity for governments and media from ASEAN countries to get together to exchange knowledge and share lessons learned about CEPA activities on biodiversity. As a CEC member and a resource person I felt very proud to be part of this meaningful workshop, which I believe has contributed to a stronger commitment from each participating country on using CEPA as a useful tool to conserve biodiversity and to a better understanding between governments and media about each other’s roles in promoting biodiversity conservation.

Although ASEAN countries are various and issues are country-specific, it was an insightful opportunity for governments and media to share challenges, exchange lessons and find best ways to work together. Next steps of action as follow-ups of this workshop were agreed by all participants from respective countries to increase and improve media coverage on biodiversity issues, especially in the coming year – the International Year of Biodiversity. This workshop was not an end in itself but an initiation of an ASEAN network which promises an increased cooperation among governments and media. It was a very rewarding experience for me personally to contribute to this workshop in my capacity as a facilitator. I trust together with SCBD CEC continues to play a critical role in facilitating this growing network of community of practice to achieve our goals in biodiversity conservation.

Dinh Thi Minh Thu of Vietnam is Senior Program Officer on Strategic Behaviour Communications, thudinh09@gmail.com

Report from Cynthia

Working at the forefront of conserving nature and managing biodiversity in Malaysia over the last decade, one tends to focus on the ‘nitty gritty’ of wrestling with the daily battles of managing wildlife and habitat, and dealing with all levels of stakeholders. Imagine my delight at being invited to the CEPA workshop in Jakarta as a CEC member. Using CEPA tools to bring the depth and meaning of biodiversity to mainstream society is a big, daunting but absolutely essential task. The CEPA workshop is that proverbial first step to the journey of a million miles. I am honoured to be part of that. It was gratifying to see the commitment, interest and enthusiasm shown by all the participants to communicate biodiversity to their respective audiences.

A few key messages resonated strongly: 1) the core success of communicating biodiversity is the need to make it understood among the masses; 2) for biodiversity to be effectively sustained, it must be mainstreamed into human society; 3) for communication to work, there must be a common ground between all parties who stand on the same side, namely government and the media. All that, plus the coming of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, harbour great hope and tidings for the future of life on earth.

Cynthia Chin of Malysia is Head of Conservation Education and Development, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Program, cchin@wcs.org

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Photo, from left to right:

  1. CEC member Ronny H. Mustamu from Petra Christian University, Indonesia
  2. Rolando A. Inciong from ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Philippines
  3. CEC member Dinh Thi Minh Thu from Family Health International (FHI), Vietnam
  4. CEC member Cynthia Chin from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Malaysia
  5. CEC member David M. Ainsworth from SCBD-UNEP
  6. Franca D'Amico from SCBD-UNEP