The College of Development Communication (CDC) represented UPLB at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity’s (ACB) ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes (ABH) Forum held on Aug. 11-12, 2023 at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

The CDC delegation was composed of members of student organizations, namely: the UP Alliance of Development Communication Students (ADS), UP Community Broadcasters’ Society (ComBroadSoc), and the UPLB Development Communicators’ Society (DCS), which was also an official partner of the event.

The forum provided a venue for the recently appointed ABH, composed of top officials and experts from the ASEAN region, to interact and share their conservation narratives with aspiring and experienced development communication professionals, storytellers, content creators, journalists, and innovative writers.

The representatives from the ASEAN countries and various organizations were brought together by ACB as part of the 56th ASEAN Day and International Youth Day celebration to promote biodiversity conservation awareness and action.

In her welcome remarks, ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim said, “today, we will hear the stories of triumphs and challenges of our ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes who represent very diverse fields of expertise. We have heroes who are wildlife veterinarians, educators, government officials, youth leaders, community leaders, medical doctors, marine scientists, businessmen, foresters, and researchers.”

Dr. Maria Stella C. Tirol, dean of CDC, one of the speakers at the forum, gave a talk on “Development Communication for Biodiversity,” highlighting the importance of accuracy and of engaging community immersion to raise awareness about biodiversity issues.

“Devcom can raise awareness and knowledge on the importance of biodiversity and the threats it faces due to human activities,” Tirol said, emphasizing the role of development communicators in involving local communities in biodiversity conservation projects and influencing policy decisions.

Tirol added that underlining the increasing knowledge among communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders about the value of biodiversity leads to informed decisions.

CDC also led a workshop on how to be a biodiversity hero in one’s own community. Through interactive activities and discussions, participants learned about various biodiversity threats and practical steps they could take to protect biodiversity in their daily lives.

Highlighted in the forum was the need for greater collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders in the ASEAN region to resolve the complex challenges of biodiversity conservation and develop innovative solutions to biodiversity problems.

The participants also discussed the significance of information management and the value of sharing best practices.

The forum highlighted the critical role of education and awareness-raising in promoting biodiversity conservation. Participants stressed the need to engage young people in biodiversity conservation efforts and to promote a greater public understanding of the value of biodiversity.

(C) Nico Ratrullo

The second day of the forum was dedicated to mobilizing the youth in biodiversity protection. Development communication students from various state universities and colleges and young ASEAN storytellers facilitated a workshop on how they could become heroes for biodiversity. The goal was to get the youth to use their creativity and skills to speak up for the environment.

At the end of the program, CDC students Jamil Creado and Jean Wae Landicho, were given the Most Participative and the Best Performer Awards, respectively, to recognize them for their participation in the workshop. They shared these awards with two other Devcom students from Benguet State University and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

The forum was attended by representatives of government agencies, NGOs, academe, and the private sector, who share a common goal in promoting biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region. (Sharmaine De La Cruz)

This article was originally published on the UPLB website.

Cover photo courtesty of the ASEAN Centre for Biodivbersity (ACB).