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The Philippines Wins the Most Significant Biodiversity Website

The Philippines received the top spot for making “the most major progress” in evolving its existing national Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) website. The extensive website makes biodiversity services accessible throughout the country. Moreover, Malaysia got second place (bronze), followed by Mexico (silver).

The awardees were chosen based on the content, online services, layout and functionality, visibility and usage, content management, and governance of the CHMs. Significant data are made available through CHM websites to assist policymakers in developing science-based biodiversity-relevant laws and regulations. In addition, the CHM is the information-sharing platform for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The awarding ceremony occurred in December 2022 during the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (CBD COP 15) in Canada. According to CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema in a media release, the CHM awards are given to recognise parties who have made the most significant progress in establishing and further developing their national and regional CHM platforms and encouraging other countries to do the same.

As an existing regional CHM, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations CHM received a certificate of achievement. The ASEAN CHM acts as a single point of contact for the national CHMs of ASEAN’s ten member countries. ACB (ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity) recognised the need for an infrastructure to organise regional biodiversity information and established the ASEAN Clearing-House Mechanism (ASEAN CHM) as the gateway to all available biodiversity-related information in Southeast Asia.

The ASEAN CHM offers a unified and integrated view of the region’s biological resources. It serves as a single point of contact for ASEAN Member States (AMS) national CHMs, providing a variety of services such as biodiversity-related information and capacity-building guides and tools to assist the AMS in conservation planning, monitoring, and decision-making. It also highlights regional species and protected area status and other regional analyses that can be used as a foundation for species and PA prioritisation and conservation. It also provides services such as biodiversity information, tools, and resources for capacity development to assist the AMS with conservation planning, monitoring, and decision-making.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources” that 196 nations have ratified. Its overarching goal is to encourage actions leading to a more sustainable future.

The preservation of biodiversity is a worldwide concern. The Convention on Biological Diversity addresses biodiversity on all levels, including ecosystems, species, and genetic resources. It also includes biotechnology, such as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Indeed, it encompasses all possible domains directly or indirectly related to biodiversity and its role in development, ranging from science, politics, and education to agriculture, business, and culture, among other things.

The Conference of the Parties is the CBD’s governing body (COP). Every two years, the ultimate authority of all governments (or Parties) that have ratified the treaty meets to review progress, set priorities, and commit to work plans.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) Secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada. Its primary function is to assist governments in implementing the CBD and its work programmes, to organise meetings, draught documents, coordinate with other international organisations, and collect and disseminate information. The Executive Secretary leads the Secretariat.

Aside from biodiversity websites, the Philippine government has accelerated the country’s digital transformation in terms of sustainability. The Space Data Dashboard was created in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and includes an interactive Philippine map displaying data from various satellite projects. The dashboard is designed to display satellite image data such as traffic monitoring, air quality, water quality, night lights, land cover, flood maps, landslides, and disaster incidence.


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