Acknowledging their shared visions in the fields of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, Russell Leiman, the Nature Conservancy’s Managing Director for the Asia-Pacific Region and Hubert Gijzen, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding in Jakarta on November 21, 2008. It extends an earlier MoU on regional cooperation made in 2003 and contributes significantly to a global partnership agreement between UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre and the Nature Conservancy.
Both Directors noted common interests, e.g. in regard to the endorsement and support of natural World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves, including sustainable natural and cultural heritage-based tourism, capacity-building and training for sustainable natural resource management, and a strong focus on community involvement in protected area management. Both parties underlined their commitment to continue ongoing collaboration by supporting the identification, nomination and management of natural sites with outstanding universal value, e.g. in the context of the Coral Triangle Initiative. Responding to recent global surveys assessing the management effectiveness of protected areas under the global framework of the Convention on Biodiversity, TNC and UNESCO aim to increase their support for site-based capacity-building for protected area management, as well as to foster the ecological science capacity in the region, particularly in regard to taxonomy and biodiversity assessment.