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 ASEAN position papers and adopted and submitted them at the Conference of the Parties – COP 13 and COP 14. These highlighted ASEAN’s actions to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, while urging partners to support ASEAN’s efforts and encourage partnerships on cross sectoral issues, including financial resource mobilisation.

Through the implementation of the secondment programme, eighteen senior and junior officials from nine ASEAN Member States were seconded to ACB to learn measures to achieve national biodiversity targets as well as develop a regional mindset.

Four regional studies were conducted, wherein eight ASEAN Heritage Parks and two protected areas in the region were assessed on gender mainstreaming, minimum management standards, climate change resilience and economic valuation. 

Five pilot measures in three ASEAN Member States implemented to generate best practices in gender mainstreaming, economic valuation and effective management of protected areas. 

Communication, education and public awareness materials were developed to support the fulfilment of Aichi Biodiversity Target 1. The ACB Corporate website was enhanced to serve as a regional platform for biodiversity information.