The year 2020 reminded us that a healthy humankind is impossible without a healthy planet. From the familiar impacts of climate change to the systems shock brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, all nations experienced more dire impacts of disrupted ecological balance, triggered by harmful human activities. We must never lose sight that what lies in nature is not the root of our problems, but the road to true sustainability. Among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the least prioritization and progress are Goals 14 and 15, corresponding to biodiversity and ecosystems. Their decline would undermine up to 80% of the targets under the SDGs related to key issues such as poverty, public health, and climate change; this has been exemplified by several global crises being experienced today. With this context, it is clear that key to the economic development of Southeast Asia is the protection, management, and restoration of its biodiversity and ecosystems. The region hosts around 20% of all plant and animal species and four of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. It is also home to the biggest blue carbon stock in the world, with the largest areas of mangrove swamps and seagrass meadows found in Indonesia and the Philippines. This, along with the 500 million hectares of tropical forests, represents significant potential for absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the environment. A babirusa, or deer-pig, in Indonesia. All species of babirusa are listed as threatened by the IUCN. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay. However, the region is not…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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