Monday, 11 January 2021 on 10:44am

SEAMEO BIOTROP, IPB University and 23 universities from the Philippines: Building Network on Tropical Biology in the Southeast Asia Region

Bogor, 8 January 2021 - The Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Tropical Biology (SEAMEO BIOTROP), IPB University and 23 universities from the Philippines initiates the collaborative educational programs between Indonesia and the Philippines. The initial collaboration meeting was carried out virtually on 8 January 2021 due to the Covid -19 pandemic. Dr Aldrin Darilag, the Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Department of Education of the Philippines led the delegation from the Philippines. The Indonesia delegation was led by Prof Arif Satria, the Rector of IPB University and the Chairperson of SEAMEO BIOTROP Governing Board. Dr Zulhamsyah Imran, the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP, led the delegation from SEAMEO BIOTROP. The collaboration meeting was also joined by Dr Perdinan, the Deputy Director for Administration of SEAMEO BIOTROP, as well as affiliate scientists, managers and staff of SEAMEO BIOTROP.

Prof Arif Satria delivered his appreciation on the collaboration between universities from Indonesia and the Philippines, coordinated by SEAMEO BIOTROP. As the leading centre on tropical biology in the Southeast Asia region, SEAMEO BIOTROP has strategic roles in information exchanges and technology transfers, especially in the higher education level in the Southeast Asia. Prof Arif Satria shared his recommendations on the vocal points of the collaboration:

  1. Elevating human resources capacities and experties in the Southeast Asia region.
  2. Managing knowledge and information sharing mechanism on natural resources and biodiversity, climate change and ecotourism.
  3. Digitizing learning media to support "Education for All" program.
  4. Developing leadership forum to influence the policies in the Southeast Asia region in fighting the loss of biodiveristy.
  5. Building collaborative programs among countries in the Southeast Asia region, especially educational programs on biodiversity.
  6. Organizing communities to conserve biodiversity through local wisdom and local action.

These recommendations were well received and appreciated by Dr Aldrin Darilag, who shared his expectations in building collaborative programs on tropical biodiversity. The collaborative programs should be realized by building the Tropical Biology Network in the Southeast Asia region, coordinated by SEAMEO BIOTROP. Dr Darilag further explained that the collaborative programs can be implemented in the forms of Training for Teachers Program, Developing Learning Media, Strengthening Services, Initiating Innovations and Patents, as well as Elevating Information and Knowledge Exchanges among Higher Education Institutions between Indonesia and the Philippines.

Dr Zulhamsyah Imran, the Director of SEAMEO BIOTROP, greatly appreciated the initiation of this collaboration between Indonesia and the Philippines and stated that the collaboration is in fact in line with the programs of SEAMEO BIOTROP. Further, Dr Imran explained that SEAMEO BIOTROP is well aware of the immediate challenges brought by the Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0. These immediate challenges are accepted as huge opportunities for elevating the role of SEAMEO BIOTROP in the Southeast Asia region. These challenges has to be integrated into the main mandates of SEAMEO BIOTROP to develop research, trainings and information dissemination in tropical biology. SEAMEO BIOTROP is ready to synergize its missions with the missions of IPB University, CHED, and the 23 universities from the Philippines who actively participated in this first virtual collaboration meeting, to further develop the programs of SEAMEO BIOTROP in the future.

As the first concrete step of this collaboration, a discussion was held following the already mentioned recommendations and responses. The moderator of this discussion was Dr Perdinan, who directed the discussion to focus on conserving and sustainably using tropical biodiversity, promoting expertise clusters within the Southeast Asia region, and building tropical biology network. The discussion concluded that collaborative programs between Indonesia and the Philippines will be conducted in the areas of:

  1. Research on terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  2. Experts exchanges and/or virtual learning system.
  3. Knowledge and information exchanges and/or information sharing for high schools and universities students.
  4. Publication of research results through the international scientific Scopus indexed BIOTROPIA Journal of SEAMEO BIOTROP.
  5. Development of educational media and curricula in tropical biology.
  6. Building knowledge database on tropical biology resources and biodiversity.

The discussion was finalized with agreements to draft technical steps and guidelines for realizing the collaborative programs initiated by SEAMEO BIOTROP, IPB University and the 23 universities from the Philippines that are expected to include other countries within the Southeast Asia region. (rf/prd/sis).

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