Global Taxonomy Initiative Workshop

The Global Taxonomy  Initiative Workshop ( ASEAN plus Japan, China , Korea and France ) Needs Assessment and Networking was held last May 18 to 22, 2009 in University of the Philippines Los  Baños in Laguna.

My room mate in the  SEARCA dormitory  is Mr. Nestor Bambalan a forester who is working for Forest Management Bureau-DENR Quezon City.

On May 18, The cultural and opening night was held at around 6:00 pm with  dances from different parts of the Philippines were performed by the University of the Philippines students  and the group was serenaded by  a singer from the college of mass communications.

college deans and UP chancellor Velasco personally welcomed the GTI participants

College deans including UPLB chancellor Dr. Luis Rey Velasco were on hand to personally ” welcome ” the delegates from the Philippines and the world. Buffet was served to the delegates

Binasuan- a popular folk dance using glass filled with water

I saw some familiar faces and met several new friends during the opening gala dinner – one of the first  foreign acquaintances is Dr. Jean Young from Singapore – we started our conversation with  exchanges of business card and telling stories on personal hobbies and profession.

The chit- chat extended to late evening and we were fetch by the organizers to our dormitory .

SEARCA convention center -site of the GTI workshop

Keynote speech was delivered by  DENR undersecretary Manuel D. Gerochi  in behalf for Hon. Secretary Joselito Atienza . opening remarks was made by ACB executive director  Dr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes , Mr. Alistair Mac Donald ambassador of European Commission , Dr. Noriaki Sakaguchi of Japan , Welcoming remarks from UP chancellor Dr. Luis Rey Velasco and Opening remarks from HE Maurice Siveton ambassador of France to Thailand   highlighted the importance of the GTI workshop.

The workshop, organized by the European Union-funded ACB, is supported by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), specialists from other branches of the Japanese government, experts from the Museum of Natural History of France (MNHN), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT), the a Global Network for Taxonomy (Bionet), and other taxonomic specialists in the region.

Four (4) representatives from each member-state shall be invited to participate:

  • One participant shall be the National Contact Point for the in-country GTI;
  • One participant from the academe/relevant research institution;
  • One participants from Government, involved in policy development and could champion the ASEAN GTI at the national policy-making level; and
  • One participant from the industry/private sector utilizing taxonomy in his/her professional work but is not a taxonomist (from the Trade & Industry, Tourism, etc.)

breakfast

On the second day of the workshop , the participants were divided into three groups : Group 1 Scientific Capacity Development , Group 2 Information Exchange and Networking, Group 3 Biodiversity Information Inventory each of the group was specified to accomplished suggestions which will be brought to the plenary after intense debacle .

group photo of the second group

Dr. Sovanmoly Hul -curator of Asian Collection and editor of ” Flore du Cambodge du Laos et du Vietnam ” was the chair of the second group

Dr. Bakhtiar Effendi Yahya– Univeriti Malaysai Sabah served as co-chair

I served as the rapporteur for the workshop. Dr. Danilo Largo- University of San Carlos  , Mr. Danilo Dannug- Bureau of Plant Industry- NSQCS  ,Dr. Aida Baja -Lapis -ERDB -DENR gave interesting commendation ,suggestion  and outputs during the workshop. The Filipino group is highly commendable for their efforts.

The workshop is an eye opener for ASEAN members states and their  dialogue partners  that some of the  national policies  differ from each members states and there were a lot of problems with the information exchange between members states like  some herbarium specimens were not easily accessible even to taxonomist and para-taxonomist ( copyright restrictions) . Some taxonomists  had to fly to other countries in order to obtain typo- collection records . In the case of the Philippines, most of the 300,000 taxonomical records were destroyed during the closing months of the second world war .

Networking with other herbaria around the world is needed. Information exchange between member states and taxonomist is definitely encourage . IUCN and CITES status of each members states must be properly decimate  through  publishing books, internet websites, brochures and pamphlet to the public. Public information is one of the key to proper understanding of taxonomy.

Dr. Benito Tan -Singapore

These were all brought to the plenary for  discussion and to be able to set objectives for the next workshop. The plenary discussion were extended way beyond the allotted time . The second group proposal serves as a link to the two other group .

dinner buffet at the Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bae

After the day’s presentation the group rode colorful passenger  jeepneys passed through narrow road and International Rice Research Institute – IRRI , UPLB, quaint houses  and we arrived at a tranquil place at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bae . The group had their evening buffet dinner at the main building. The place is dotted with an interesting   landscape complete with tropical ferns,orchids, bromeliads , native plams and trees . Grilled liempo , grilled chicken , tilapia , prawns, sinigang soup, chopsuey  complete with  chillies, calamansi,  vinegar and soy sauce dip.  Beers , juice , coffee,  soft drink were served to the guests. Desserts such as fresh fruits ,  leche flan were also part of the menu.

Singapore delegates with souvenir yellow t-shirts

On May 21, after the general plenary presentation , Each of the participants were given a yellow collared shirt, a biodiversity magazine,  several leaflets  and a certificate of participation. after the lunch , We quickly told everybody that we were leaving the place , Mr. Danilo Dannug  and I quickly rode a  bus going to Manila .

Philippine delegates

Field trips to Mt. Makiling , UPLB Museum of Natural History, National Herbarium in Manila , Intramuros etc.. were scheduled the following day after the Biodiversity celebration.

“The workshop is very timely as the international community will be observing the International Day for Biodiversity in 22 May with invasive alien species as this year’s theme.