International World Biodiversity Day in Asia-Pacific

“Humanity’s fate is tightly linked with biological diversity – the variety of life on earth.

Biodiversity is essential for sustainable development and human well-being. It is crucial to the reduction of poverty, due to the basic goods and ecosystem services it provides.”

Today, May 22, is a day recognised by the United Nation as Biological Diversity Day, with this year's theme: Biodiversity for Sustainable Development. I sit here and reflect on the moments on my journey where I was consumed and mesmerized by bursting signs of life. I have gained a new appreciation for nature and wildlife having had the opportunity to see, feel and hear different forms of life.

Asia Pacific's Biodiversity

I have been so fortunate to spend the past half year discovering different regions of Asia-Pacific, from the jungles of Laos to the Himalayas of Nepal, the biodiversity in these countries are the foundation and home to more than half of the world's population.

Perhaps when you think of biodiversity you immediately think of Brazil, where the Amazonian rainforest is the heartbeat of biodiversity, yet Asia-Pacific is not to be overlooked. Just as there is so much diversity in Asia-Pacific with language, there are also so a lot of biodiversities to be celebrated.

Indonesia, for example, is considered one of the top three biodiverse countries. The archipelago of more than 10,000 islands has the world's third largest rainforest and a range of marine ecosystems. Indonesia is the only place on Earth where the following animals can be roaming around together: rhinos, orangutans, elephants, bears, and tigers.

"Protecting and restoring ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services are necessary for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger." - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Today I learned that the European Union has a Biodiversity Target set out until 2020: "Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020... while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss."

So far, I have seen many different projects that either directly work with preserving biodiversity, such as the ecotourism and rural development in Laos, or indirectly with sustainable fishing practices in Cambodia that could reduce overfishing and maintain a fragile river that the people demand on.

It is important that there is a unity created with the aim of contribution and collaboration t0 avert biodiversity loss. In my eyes, biodiversity - the range of different plant and animals - make the world such a beautiful place.

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