Philippines, as an active member of the Southeast Asian Biosphere
(SeaBRnet), hosted the 12th SeaBRnet meeting with the theme “Strengthening Networks for Sustainable Management of Biosphere Reserve” from March 26 to 28, 2019 in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines. The Provincial Government of Albay and the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO (PH NatCom), otherwise known as UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM), presented a special session of the Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network (APBRN). The sessions, which gathered 120 participants, were supported by the SeaBRnet Secretariat at UNESCO Office Jakarta and the Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT).
During the event, PH NatCom introduced to the international networks the Philippine Biosphere Reserve Network spearheaded by the three inscribed BRs in the country: Albay, Puerto Galera, and Palawan.
The sessions also provided venue to exchange updates from members of SeaBRnet and its sister networks, as well as to discuss the implementation of the Lima Action Plan and the strategic contributions of MAB and its networks in Asia and the Pacific to attain Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Three guideline documents were launched and discussed during the SeaBRNet meeting. These were product of studies coordinated by the UNESCO Office Jakarta with the support of JFIT. The guidelines include a framework for biosphere reserve management informed by sustainability science, guidelines for applying eco-labelling in biosphere reserves, and a comparative study on legal aspects of biosphere reserve zonation.)
On the last day, participants joined the technical visit of key sites of the Albay Biosphere Reserve or ABR (Corangon Shoal, Jovellar Underground River, Mount Masaraga, Quituinan Hill, and Sumlang Lake). The field visit allowed participants to communicate with local community and provide advice on the implementation of the biosphere reserve concept in practice as well as to enjoy the spectacular scenery of ABR.
Note: The Philippine Biosphere Reserves Network or PhilBRNet was officially launched on 20 June 2018 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The PhilBRNet aims to serve as a platform for collaboration and cooperation among existing and aspiring BRs in the Philippines. The launch in Palawan also seeks to promote the PBRN as an active and strong advocate of sustainable development through the collective initiatives and actions of the biosphere reserves in the country.