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ASEAN Announces Best Ecosystem Restoration Projects

Jakarta, 5 June 2023 – In celebration of the 50th World Environment Day, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) revealed the first-ever set of ASEAN Green Initiative (AGI) awardees—distinguished greening and reforestation programmes by individuals, organisations, and the private sector across the region.

The AGI programme aims to encourage the planting of at least 10 million native trees across 10 ASEAN Member States in a span of 10 years. The programme puts emphasis on native tree species for planting since they are likely to survive in their natural environment and are more sustainable in the long term. Native trees are well adapted to the climate and soil, hence they are more resilient and have a higher rate of survival. Planting and growing native trees could enrich biodiversity and help revive the natural interactions between organisms and species of both flora and fauna.

“Since its official launch in August 2021, the AGI was able to spark an ecosystem restoration movement in the ASEAN region that is built on sound scientific principles to reverse the significant decline of forest cover in the region which has been recorded at a rate of 8,000 km sq annually, from 2000-2020, or an equivalent of 160,000 km sq.  The AGI hopes to build momentum for more coordinated efforts from different sectors, including the youth and the education sector to help promote biodiversity literacy, contribute to building resilience against climate change impacts, future pandemics, and other global challenges,” said Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, ACB executive director.

Prior to the announcement of the first AGI awardees, the ACB conducted a forum on ecosystem restoration, which gathered experts, representatives of development organisations, and officers of local and national governments in the field of environment, forestry, and natural resources. 

The forum identified key issues and challenges, opportunities, and recommended actions for forest rehabilitation, and ecosystem restoration at the national and regional levels as well as opportunities for the expansion and collaboration of the AGI network of partners. Participants also shared approaches and tools in ecosystem restoration that advance  community resilience, including livelihoods, ecotourism, and incentives; as well as promotion of private sector partnerships, engagement of the youth, women, and Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in restoration initiatives. 

Recognising ASEAN’s Best

Eight greening initiatives were recognised for their exemplary work in ecosystem restoration from Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The awardees represent homeowner associations, national NGOs, local and national government agencies, and the private sector. Collectively, these recipients have planted more than 1.4 Million native trees in their respective areas. They were chosen based on the following criteria: ecological soundness, socio-economic impacts, Sustainability, and compliance with governance and institutional mechanisms. 

The ACB is proud to recognise the first-ever set of AGIs:

Medium-Scale Initiatives – 101 up to 5,000 trees planted

  1. Lao Cherry Blossom Tree Project, Lao PDR
  2. Ayala Westgrove Heights Native Tree and Wildlife Haven, Philippines
  3. Ayala Land Carbon Forest Project in Davao, Philippines

Large-Scale Initiatives –  Over 5,000 trees planted

  1. Habitat Rehabilitation Programme through Tree Planting Activities under Central Forest Spine (CFS) Management and Development Project, Malaysia
  2. Yayasan PETRONAS Tree Planting Activities in support of PETRONAS Walk4Trees Programme, Malaysia
  3. Ayala Land Carbon Forest Project in Cebu, Philippines
  4. BINHI: The Greening Legacy, Philippines
  5. OneMillionTrees Movement, Singapore

The recognition event was made possible with the support of the Federal Government of Germany through the ACB-GIZ Institutional Strengthening of the Biodiversity Sector in ASEAN II (ISB II) Project and the European Union (EU) through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) Project, in cooperation with the Republic of Indonesia, through its Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation of Species and Genetics, Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

To know more about the 2023 recipients of the ASEAN Green Initiative, download the AGI Pamphlet.