The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) formalized its agreement with the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) through its Asia Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand to cooperate on training programs, scholarships, and development projects.
Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Dr. Dindo M. Campilan, IUCN Regional Director for Asia and Oceania Hub Director, signed a five-year memorandum of understanding between the two international organizations in a virtual ceremony held on 28 May 2021. Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, and Dr. Scott Perkin, IUCN-Natural Resources Group (NRG) for Asia Head, also signed the agreement as witnesses.
“IUCN is a democratic Union that brings together the world’s most influential organizations and top experts in a combined effort to conserve nature and accelerate the transition to sustainable development. Six IUCN Commissions made up of 18,000 experts inform IUCN’s knowledge and help produce its work,” said Dr. Campilan in his message during the signing ceremony.
Among the areas of collaboration of SEARCA and IUCN are graduate education and scholarship programs, proposed to be in line with IUCN Academy, which will be composed of online trainings, regional knowledge platforms and resource centers, GEF 8 or Global Environment Facility project development, and other project proposals development for conservation of crop wild relatives (CRWs), forest landscape restoration and youth in agriculture and natural resources management. A joint working team has been assigned to work on each of the identified areas of collaboration.
Dr. Campilan said that SEARCA can help IUCN in connecting the Philippines to the global union as well as with other regional platforms.
“Philippines is one of the very few countries, which is not a member state of IUCN. This will be an opportunity for SEARCA to help us get connected. SEARCA is very well placed for IUCN to expand its work in the Southeast Asian region,” added the IUCN Regional Director.
Dr. Gregorio affirmed that SEARCA is one with IUCN in nurturing partnerships and collaborations that would benefit our respective stakeholders. He pointed out that SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan focused on accelerating transformation through agricultural innovation (ATTAIN) is very much aligned with IUCN’s thrusts.
“This will bring us all to full circle as we aim to collaborate with the key players from the academe, the industry and the government to bridge the gaps in agri-food systems. We are very much confident that this partnership between IUCN and SEARCA will lead us to a better, bigger, and smarter normal that is highly relevant for the future of our respective stakeholders,” concluded Dr. Gregorio.