Aside from the Philippines’ participation as a Party to the 8th Conference of Parties serving as Meeting of Parties for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP 8) in Cancun, Mexico last December 4-17, it also took the lead as one of the main organizers of the Asia BCH Family’s Side Event entitled “For a Successful Asia BCH Family”.
The Side Event was an opportunity for the ABF to showcase their journey at a global scale-- its main goal was to highlight the history and milestones achieved by the Asian Region leading to the developments of the Asia BCH Roadmap. The achievements of the Family such as its initiatives since its formation in 2008, the implementation of the Roadmap, their lessons learned and success stories, as well as the developments of the BCH in the region were presented through a series of talks given by the key people that helped in its creation.
Dr. Ho Min Jang, Director of the Korea Biosafety Clearing-House, recounted the experiences of ABF since its inception in 2008, when he realized the importance and the need for a sense of cooperation among the Asian region. Meanwhile, Dr. Letchumanan Ramatha of Malaysia shared the Roadmap’s contributions as an enhancer of regional cooperation to improve compliance to the Protocol. The Philippines' very own Ms. Julieta Fe Estacio, BCH Focal Point, narrated the experiences of the ABF as a family reaching out to help one another, making sure that every country is capacitated in terms of the BCH implementation. China, represented by Prof. Wang Changyong, then discussed the commitment of member countries on capacity building in all aspect of the Protocol, but more importantly in becoming a self-sustaining Family by 2020.
As a testament of a stronger and continued partnership of the Asian countries, South Korea also announced its hosting of the Asia BCH Regional Portal where information on the activities in the region can be posted and shared among the countries, specifically, those in need of assistance in fulfilling their obligations to the protocol.
Aside from the talks, the event depicted the journey of the family creatively through a series of photographs and anecdotes, and two song numbers lead by Dr. Ruel Maningas, UNEP Regional Advisor from the Philippines. The warmth of the Asian culture was also felt by the participants through a hosted dinner and an exchange of tokens. As closing, Ms. Ileana Lopez of UNEP invited the participants to do similar initiatives in their own countries to help less able parts of their region and to help the Convention on Biological Diversity to uphold biosafety.