The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed the appointment of Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) to the advisory body of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), calling it a recognition of the country's efforts to conserve and protect its rich biodiversity.

The CBD, which secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada, recently appointed Lim to be the next head of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), an intergovernmental body that gives scientific advice to the CBD’s Conference of Parties or COP.

CBD is an international legally-binding treaty with three main goals: conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of biodiversity; fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Its overall objective is to encourage actions which will lead to a sustainable future.

Lim, who will serve a two-year term starting this year, was appointed during a recent conference dubbed as COP13 held last December in Cancun, Mexico. One of her main duties is to prepare a set of recommendations for the COP14 to be held in Egypt in 2018.

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, who had endorsed Lim to the post, said that the appointment of the BMB chief to the CBD would “allow the Philippines to show how its biodiversity programs can benefit humanity.”

“Biodiversity is the wealth of the planet. If we keep it alive, our planet will see the light of day. In the Philippines, our aim is to explore biodiversity in a way that benefits the surrounding communities,” Lopez said.

She added: "The environment is not only land, air, and water, but also people. If the people do not benefit in a sustainable manner, then our conservation efforts can be considered a failure."

Lopez’s statements jive with the objectives of the Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-Being, which was signed during the COP13.

The declaration recognizes the value of biodiversity to the “lifeblood of economies,” which include tourism, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

It also calls for urgent, strong and responsible actions to ensure the survival of the natural capital, biological wealth and healthy ecosystems that support humanity’s development and well-being.

Lim, as SBSTTA chair, will also advise or recommend to the COP’s other bodies the assessment of the status of biodiversity and other measures taken to successfully implement the convention, if necessary.

The BMB chief is a graduate of veterinary medicine from the University of the Philippines. Her expertise and work experience in championing wildlife protection and biodiversity conservation in the Philippines has made her a very able country representative in various international fora.

The BMB under Lim’s watch has improved conservation programs, including management and sustainable financing of protected areas and key biodiversity areas nationwide. ###