By Tung-Le Pan and Sabina Ma, AUN Interns
On 6 September 2022, the 7th iteration of the ECAAR Dialogues webinar series was conducted under the theme “Sustainability and Biodiversity: Emerging Ethics”. The webinar focused on the important ethical issues that must be prioritised to protect the ever-changing ASEAN landscape for current and future generations to enjoy. The webinar concluded with the successful participation of more than 380 attendees through Zoom platform.
The first session featured two ASEAN students pursuing the newly introduced Master’s degree in Sustainability Management at the University of Gadjah Mada, Anjulie Razak & Ian Mia Benedict. Both of them are currently undergoing their internship at the University of Agner in Norway.
The two Master’s students presented a virtual tour of biodiversity in an ASEAN context, providing an overview of the importance of the ecosystem in the ASEAN on a global scale and how ethics play a role in sustaining biodiversity. Ian Mia Benedict’s presentation highlighted that the ASEAN region’s biodiversity contains 18% of all known plant and animal species in the world – it provides economic benefits worth at least USD 2.19 trillion annually. He also emphasized the importance of providing support in the form of capacity building, technological provisions, and policy implementation to equip citizens with the knowledge to protect the natural environment. Next, Anjulie Razak stressed the importance of raising awareness of the ASEAN environmental crisis and the need for leaders who will make decisions that aim to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainability while taking the positions of various stakeholders into consideration.
This was shortly followed by a video message interlude from Bianca Lisboa de Camara Brasil, Programme Manager for Business Engagement from the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, about the COP15 conference.
The second session invited Dr. Mary Kristerie Baleva, External Relations and Policy Specialist from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and Mr. Yulius S. Bulo, Operation Director at the Pertamina Foundation and Senior Liaison Officer to ASEAN, from the ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO) Indonesia, and Dr. Bob Aubrey, Founder of the ASEAN Human Development Organisation (AHDO) and the Chair of its Advisory Board, who also served as the moderator for the event.
This panel session concerned a diverse range of topics including initiatives undertaken by ASEAN to contribute to the conservation of the precious biodiversity in the region, ethical considerations of energy companies to adopt eco-friendly business practices, and the development of social stakeholders through a sustainable workforce. They also shared about the research and policy initiatives being done to gain an in-depth understanding of the current ASEAN situation and what can be done to promote biodiversity protection with specific examples from the private sector.
The webinar concluded with a Q&A session attracting dozens of audience members asking insightful questions including the cruciality of good governance as a factor in environmental and social governance, how the media can assist in spreading awareness about current efforts towards sustainability in the ASEAN region, and consequences of companies violating environmental laws.
For the full webinar, please visit this link.
This article was first posted on ASEAN University Network.