Building capacities to conserve biodiversity in ASEAN

Project description

Title: Institutional strengthening of the biodiversity sector in ASEAN (ISB)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: 10 ASEAN nations, based in the Philippines
Lead executing agency: ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity
Overall term: 2015 to 2019


Together, the ASEAN member states are home to about 18 per cent of the world’s species. They account for three of the 18 mega-diverse countries, about 35 per cent of global mangrove forests and 30 per cent of the coral reefs. Over 600 million people depend on the natural resources for their food, wellbeing and livelihoods. However, the region’s biodiversity, its key ecosystems and the associated environmental services are all under strong and growing pressure. Current national protection strategies fall short, and it is therefore crucial to introduce a regional level strategy.

In response, ASEAN has created the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the purpose of which is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the association’s 10 member states. The centre supports the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, as well as the equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of these natural resources.


The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity has successfully assumed its regional mandate for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Developing a regional approach in any area is always a complex process which requires sufficient financial, institutional, organisational and technical resources. GIZ has therefore begun a comprehensive programme of capacity development to support the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in fulfilling its mandate. At the same time, the project also supports relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral dialogues and networking processes, and has introduced a number of pilot initiatives. In so doing, its activities are focused on six main areas:

  • Organisational development to support strategic planning in the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, as well as the subsequent implementation of activities.
  • Coordination and strengthening of the ASEAN Heritage Parks initiative, for which the Centre for Biodiversity acts as the secretariat.
  • Capacity development related to the economic valuation of biodiversity and related ecosystem services. This draws on a range of approaches and initiatives such as access and benefit sharing, the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity, and payments for ecosystem services.
  • Development of common positions for the ASEAN member states in international negotiations related to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Development of a monitoring and evaluation system with which the Centre for Biodiversity can report on the regional progress toward the Aichi Targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Support for the creation of a regional information platform on biodiversity which bundles the region’s fragmented sources of information and makes them more accessible.
  • Three regional studies are being organised to support the Centre for Biodiversity in carrying out its mandate. These examine climate resilience of coastal and marine heritage parks; human capacity development strategy in ASEAN; and economic valuation. Pilot measures will also be implemented in selected heritage parks to generate best practices that can be shared throughout the ASEAN region to inspire other initiatives and contribute to the development of regional approaches for effective ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, and the valuation of ecosystem services and biodiversity in particular.


The role of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity as a regional policy and strategy catalyst has been enhanced, and the cooperation between the key stakeholders in the region has been strengthened.

With the support of the project, the Centre has helped draft an ASEAN position paper. This was adopted at the ASEAN Summit then submitted at the COP 13 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It highlights ASEAN’s actions to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, while urging partners to support ASEAN’s efforts and encouraging partnerships on cross sectoral issues, including financial resource mobilisation.

The continued support for the ASEAN Heritage Parks initiative has strengthened the role of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity as the initiative’s secretariat and contributed to the improved management of these parks. Since 2015, four new parks have been declared as heritage parks.

A Gender Assessment on Biodiversity Conservation in ASEAN has been conducted, assessing five heritage parks and one national park in three member states. The results of this study will be fed into a gender mainstreaming strategy for protected area management.

As part of the programme’s capacity development strategy three staff members from the environment ministries of the member states have been seconded to the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. This should enhance collaboration and raise awareness for the work of the Centre.

The website of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity has been enhanced with the support of the project, and now acts as a regional information platform for biodiversity.