ASEAN Green Initiative (AGI)
The ASEAN region is rich in both biological and cultural diversity. While it occupies only 3 per cent of the Earth’s surface, it is home to 18 per cent of the world’s known plants and animals. The forests of ASEAN are considered one of the most biologically rich and diverse in the world. At least 60 per cent of the globe’s tropical peatlands and 42 per cent of its mangroves are also in Southeast Asia. However, drivers including pollution, land conversion, over-exploitation, and poaching contribute to the rapid rate of biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and deforestation, which in turn, have substantial impacts on the environmental quality and natural resources in the Region, and on people’s livelihoods, food security, health, and wellbeing.
In response to the UN’s declaration of 2021-2030 being the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, ASEAN launched the ASEAN Green Initiative (AGI) on 8 August 2021, to recognise and promote grassroots initiatives in restoring the region’s rich biodiversity. It is also a demonstration of regional cooperation to restore and promote the sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems and the use of nature-based solutions to combat desertification, halt biodiversity loss, halt and reverse land degradation, and respond to climate change, through community engagement and public outreach
The AGI is a recognition scheme for government agencies, communities, organisations, and individuals with tree planting initiatives in the ASEAN region. Its main objective is for 10 million trees to be planted over a period of 10 years. Moreover, the AGI will contribute to strengthening environmental linkages within cities, particularly between urban, peri-urban, and rural areas, and to increasing green spaces that are accessible to the public, which provide benefits to human health and well-being. Ongoing and new tree planting initiatives from 2021 to 2030 may be recognised, provided that they are nominated and qualify as AGI.
The AGI aims to:
- contribute to the efforts relating to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration;
- raise awareness about biodiversity and its ecosystem services and values;
- contribute to the health and well-being of ASEAN citizens;
- promote public and private investment in biodiversity and its ecosystem services; and
- recognise grassroot actions that support regional policies, strategies, and programmes.
The AGI will be spearheaded by ASEAN Member States (AMS), with the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) playing an enabling and supporting role. It complements tree planting activities that the AMS are undertaking according to their national targets, and encourages the mainstreaming of biodiversity across sectors through the engagement of various stakeholders.
The AGI is also supported by the Federal Government of Germany through the Institutional Strengthening of the Biodiversity Sector in ASEAN (ISB II) Project implemented by the GIZ and ACB and the EU-funded Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) Project of the ACB.
For more information, watch https://www.facebook.com/ASEANBiodiversity/videos/314360650429691 or visit https://agi.aseanbiodiversity.org/