Manila, Philippines – With more than two hundred participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with partners from USA, UK, India, and Bangladesh, the 2nd ASEAN Mangrove Congress commenced on September 5, 2017 at the Forbes Hall of Conrad Hotel in Pasay City.

The second gathering of ASEAN researchers, government officials, policy makers, NGOs, and other environment managers aims to enhance public awareness on current pressing issues, impacts and threats to mangroves such as climate change. The event is spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) with funding support from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, in his keynote address, pushed for the convergence of ASEAN countries’ research and development efforts for a sustainable regional-wide mangrove conservation.

“May I assure you that the Philippines, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is giving serious attention in protecting and rehabilitating our ecosystems to attain our vision as one of the countries in the ASEAN region that enjoys and sustains its natural resources and a clean and healthy environment. This is the reason why the DENR brings forth the 2nd ASEAN mangrove congress” said Sec. Cimatu.

Meanwhile, in his speech, ERDB Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado also urged the participants from the academe, government, and non-government organizations to work collaboratively in developing sustainable mechanisms and initiatives for mangrove ecosystems conservation, rehabilitation, and management.

Dr. Carmelita I. Villamor, Chief of ERDB’s Coastal Zones and Freshwater Ecosystems Research Division and the Overall Coordinator for the event emphasized that this year’s gathering also aims to review whether the objectives set during the first mangrove congress has been achieved.

The Congress’ exhibit also showcased ASEAN mangrove researches, including 32 poster papers and 38 paper presentations. The paper presentations covered four key themes including: 1) mangrove ecology, functions, and fisheries; 2) mangrove restoration and rehabilitation; 3) climate change adaptation and mitigation; and 4) socio-economic and valuation studies.

The book entitled Mangroves and Beach Forest Species in the Philippines was also officially launched with DENR-ERDB as the publisher who commissioned Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, Dr. Resurreccion Sadaba, Dr. Junemie Lebata-Ramos, and Dr. Jon Altamirano as the authors.

The Day 1 of the event which was devoted for reporting of status of mangroves in Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam provided a venue for the exchange of in-depth learning and good practices on mangrove research, conservation, and management.