Swiss envoy, ACB enter new phase of closer partnerships

His Excellency Alain Gaschen, Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines (left), meets ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim in a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the ACB. (Contributed photo by Angela Metin, ACB)

CALOOCAN CITY, March 20 (PIA) -- His Excellency Alain Gaschen, Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) have agreed to explore strengthening their collaboration across a range of vital areas when the envoy sheduled a courtesy visit earlier this week.

“The Swiss are innate nature lovers and together with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Switzerland is committed to engage in efforts to raise and address concerns affecting biodiversity such as climate change and environmental pressures as well to promote responsible and sustainable bio-trade,” Ambassador Gaschen told ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim, who warmly welcomed him, along with some staff.

To look at possible areas for partnerships and collaboration, the diplomat said the Swiss Government, as a sectoral dialogue partner of the ASEAN, “is prepared to support the ACB in maintaining biodiversity in order to protect forest ecosystems, which are central to people and planet.”

Dr. Lim, on her part, likewise discussed with the Swiss ambassador the ongoing efforts and programmes of the ACB in the region, particularly in line with mainstreaming biodiversity into various sectors, such as tourism, agriculture, trade, and education.

“We are deeply honoured that His Excellency took the time to visit us in our headquarters and expressed his keen interest in the region’s biodiversity. We are looking forward to working more closely with the Swiss government,” the ACB executive director said.

The Swiss ambassador also made a side visit to the Makiling Botanical Garden, a 300-hectare natural forest situated on the northern eastern slope of Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, a designated ASEAN Heritage Park in the Philippines.

“I was amazed to discover how much the forest at the Makiling Botanical Garden looked like my home canton of Neuch√Ętel. During the walk, I felt at some point I was in the Gorges de l’Areuse! An ASEAN Heritage Park, it was my pleasure to be able to visit such a bastion of conservation efforts here in the Philippines,” the Swiss ambassador said. Gorges de l’Areuse (Areuse gorges) is a popular nature reserve with waterfalls and ravines, located in Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland.

“The ACB has been advocating for this since the inception, the current pandemic reminds us how right they always were”, he said.

The ASEAN and Switzerland have completed, ongoing, and planned joint projects under the Practical Cooperation Areas (PCA) for ASEAN-Switzerland Sectoral Dialogue Partnership 2017-2021. (PIA NCR)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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