JAKARTA, 20 November 2017 – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, the Ambassadors of the 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) participating countries in Jakarta, collectively referred to as the East Asia Summit Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta (EAMJ), planted mangrove seedlings at the Taman Wisata Alam Angke Kapuk (Ecotourism Mangrove Park) in North Jakarta.  The activity was jointly organized by the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat.

H.E. Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN and Chair of the EAMJ, led the mangrove planting and was joined by over 100 representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, Nature Conservation Agency of Jakarta and volunteers from the ASEAN Youth Organisation. The event reiterated EAS countries’ commitment to the global environmental agenda through the protection, conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources, in line with the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In her remarks, Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, stressed the importance of the EAS as a Leaders-led, ASEAN-centered forum which addresses the major challenges, including environmental degradation, that confront the region.  The EAMJ, she emphasized, is tasked to see to it that Leaders’ statements are translated into action, and environmental awareness through the mangrove planting event is one such on-ground example.

Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) highlighted that ASEAN is home to one-third of the world’s mangrove forests and expressed the hope that the event will “raise the awareness of the peoples in the region on the importance of mangrove ecosystems and the need for collective action to conserve it in order to contribute to climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction, for a low carbon, disaster resilient region.”

In his remarks, Dr. Hillman Nugroho, Director-General of the Watershed and Forest Directorate of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), expressed his appreciation to the EAMJ on their initiative to promote mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation and noted that it “reflects the growing awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as critical for people’s well-being.”  He also shared that the initiative is very much in line with President Widodo’s call for every individual to plant 25 trees in their life.

Prior to the mangrove planting, Executive Director Roberto Oliva delivered a compelling presentation that further highlighted the importance of mangrove forests, not only for the ASEAN region, but also for the global environment.

The EAS is a regional leaders’ forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in East Asia. The 18 EAS participating countries are the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.

Original source.