HSI SUPPORTS ASIA PACIFIC BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS CONSERVATION
Today, HSI congratulated Senator Ian Campbell for announcing the fourth round recipients of funding through the Australian Government’s $10 million Regional Natural Heritage Program (RNHP). The program, established in 2004, awards funds to important projects saving habitats in Asia Pacific ‘biodiversity hotspots’, with funds given primarily to non-government organisations.
Humane Society International (HSI) worked closely with the Prime Minister’s office and Senator Meg Lees in the initiation of this program in 2004, and HSI’s Campaign Director Michael Kennedy is a member of the expert taskforce that advises Minister Campbell on projects deserving of funds.
Among the country/habitat/species beneficiaries in this fourth round of funding include; Orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia; Golden-headed Langur in Vietnam; conservation development in Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan; monitoring of illegal killing of elephants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand; marine turtle conservation in Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; lowland rainforest conservation in the Philippines; and conservation of the Torricelli Mountain Range in Papua New Guinea.
“It is incredibly important for developed nations like Australia to share the responsibility of protecting the immense and threatened biological diversity of our region”, said HSI Director Michael Kennedy. “HSI hopes this will be a role the Australian Government will play over the long-term, and would urge the Prime Minister and Minister Campbell to commit to renewing this critical program in the 2007 – 2008 budget process. Such work contributes significantly to regional environmental security.”
The program has also received international praise. Professor Norman Myers from Oxford University, inventor of the biodiversity hotspots theory, has said “Several of the world’s hottest hotspots are located in the Asia Pacific region, notably the Philippines, Wallacea, Sundaland, South-Central China, Indo-Burma, New Caledonia and Polynesia/Micronesia. There is much at stake in these global epicentres of biodiversity, and Australia is to be congratulated for offering so much leadership in helping to preserve the hotspots in question”.