South East Asia BR Network

The 7th Southeast Asia Biosphere Reserve Network (SeaBRnet) Meeting: Biosphere Partnership for Green Economy was held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan BR, Philippines from 24‐26 October 2013.

The event was attended by more than 80 participants consisting of representatives from MAB National Committees and MAB focal points in the Region: Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor Leste, Philippines, and People’s Republic of China, as well as the UNESCO National Commission for the Philippines, PCSD Staff, local government and NGOs.

Welcome remarks were given by the co‐hosts, Mayor of Puerto Princesa, Hon. Lucilo Bayron, Vice Governor of Palawan Province and Hon. Victorino Dennis Socrates, Secretary General of UNESCO National Commission for the Philippines (UNACOM), Ms. Virginia A. Miralao, Chair of Science and Technology of UNACOM, Mr. Reynaldo B. Vea, and UNESCO Office Jakarta, Mr. Shahbaz Khan, Deputy Director and Senior Programme Specialist for Science, as the Secretariat of SeaBRnet.

Collin Campbell Director and founder of Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC) lead a workshop on social enterprise and BRs. Colin introduced the Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Sustainable Development Framework, designed by ASC as a route map towards the emergence of social enterprise as a means to promote sustainable economic development, in harmony with social and environmental sustainability.

The Framework is based on 4 key factors: public participation, social enterprise, social investment and sustainable public procurement.

  • The BR strengths identified from the breakout groups discussions in South East Asia Pacific include: strong local institutions, existing links between government, NGOs, private sector, researchers, and local community, branding/certification for local products in Vietnam, recognition of NGOs by the governments as strong partners and lead organizations in conservation, flagship programs, strong civil society participation, change towards green growth, involvement of different sectors and new technologies and communication.

Concerning the role of SeaBRnet to develop social capital, the groups agreed that it can be achieved through:

  • sharing management experiences and scientific knowledge, establishment of linkages,
  • scaling up good management, joint expertise, revising zoning in relation to the current challenges and commitments of MAB
  • supporting the coordination and communication with the government and other stakeholders such as the private sector and developing common baseline of scientific data and to securing more sustainable financing.

The meeting highlighted the importance of (1) public‐private partnerships in Biosphere Reserves, (2) Green Economy and Sustainability in Biosphere Reserves, (3) the need to build Social Capital to ensure equity and long term benefits to local economies and (4) the role of Biosphere Reserves for defining and delivering the Post 2015 Agenda.

Download the conference report here.