The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) have agreed to continue cooperating on programs that will mainstream biodiversity in agriculture.
In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 4 November 2019, the two international organizations agree to carry on their collaboration to pursue their common objective of building capacities of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) in biodiversity conservation as it relates to agriculture and food.
Signatories to the MOU were Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, ACB Executive Director.
SEARCA and ACB will jointly undertake projects and activities covering thematic areas on agriculture and biodiversity, along with capacity enhancement activities and information exchange and awareness campaigns.
The collaboration includes capacity building activities, information exchange and awareness campaigns, and project development and implementation on sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.
Dr. Gregorio said a healthy natural resource base as a prerequisite for sustainable agricultural and rural development is emphasized under SEARCA's new five-year strategic plan.
"Mainstreaming is important because of the inextricable connection between agriculture and biodiversity. Together, our organizations can work to strike the balance between the two," Dr. Lim said.
This was affirmed by Dr. Gregorio, noting that "this is especially important as we now see the urban sprawl creeping fast into the countryside diminishing fertile agricultural lands and consequently affecting food and nutrition security and biodiversity in the region."
"Our hope is that these common interests will evolve into concrete plans for joint research and development undertakings, and scientific fora and conferences on emerging development issues in the region we both serve and call home," Dr. Gregorio said.