THE WORLD is now facing such massive environmental problems that creating awareness on the importance of biodiversity and how it affects humanity should be a top priority.
Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biodiversity and their ecosystems are the life-support systems of our planet. They provide us with food, air and water, ingredients for medicines, and materials for clothing and shelter. Biodiversity resources also provide raw materials for businesses. Hundreds of millions of the world’s poor rely on biodiversity for their livelihood and daily subsistence. Therefore, losing biodiversity is beyond losing species. At stake is the very survival of the entire human race.
To promote biodiversity conservation and protection, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), in cooperation with the German development cooperation company Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, is holding “Selfie for Biodiversity and Livelihood 2016,’’ an annual photo competition that commemorates the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) held every May 22.
IDB was proclaimed by the United Nations as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of 1993, to create global awareness of the importance of biodiversity and how it affects everyday life, which depends on the harmony of fauna and flora.
With this year’s theme, “Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Sustaining People and their Livelihoods,” the contest is looking for photos that tell stories of how efforts to protect biodiversity help sustain livelihood. The stories must underscore the importance of sustaining and protecting the natural environment in the Philippines that sustains livelihoods and industries such as agriculture and aquaculture, as well as keeps mass consumption at a level that will not imperil the environment.
“We are supporting the DENR-BMB again in getting simple commitments from everyone through the Selfie for Biodiversity photo contest. Biodiversity and livelihood are intertwined, and we want the photos to inspire others to appreciate this interconnectedness and how we all cannot get by without it,” said Berthold Schirm, GIZ Protected Area Management Enhancement (GIZ-PAME) Project Director.
The contest is open to individuals residing in the Philippines, male or female, aged 13 and up. Participants may join either on Facebook or Instagram, and must like the Biodiversity Challenge Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/biodiversitychallenge/ and Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/selfieforbiodiversity to join the contest.
This year’s Selfie for Biodiversity contest is supported by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), an intergovernmental organization that facilitates coordination and cooperation among the ten ASEAN Member States in conserving and protecting the rich biodiversity of the region.
GIZ and ACB remain committed to help the Philippine Government educate the public on the need to be more proactive in protecting the environment and its rich biodiversity.
“Through the Selfie for Biodiversity contest, we will take you to one of the 37 ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) in the ASEAN Region so that you can enjoy the beauty of nature while learning how an AHP conserves and protects its biological resources,” said Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, ACB Executive Director.
“AHPs are protected areas of high conservation importance, preserving a complete spectrum of representative ecosystems of the ASEAN region. Simply put, these are the best of the best protected areas in the ASEAN in terms of biodiversity richness,” added Oliva.
A panel of judges composed of a veteran photographer and executives from DENR-BMB, GIZ, and ACB will select the winner. The first placer will win a trip for two (covering airfare and accommodation) to an ASEAN Heritage Park, and the first runner-up will win a trip for two (covering airfare and accommodation) to any protected area or biodiversity area under the jurisdiction of the DENR-BMB, or to a project site of the GIZ-PAME Project, except in the island of Batanes.
Entries may be submitted until noon of May 15, 2016 only. All entries should be sent via Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #selfieforbiodiversity.
For the full contest mechanics and other inquiries, visit the Selfie for Biodiversity official Facebook or Instagram page or contact 02-426 0239 or 02-441 8440. You may also send an email to Selfie.Biodiversity@gmail.com.