NEWS FEATURE: SorSUenos Towards Access And Benefit Sharing; On Forth Biodiversity And Conservation

With an uproar “ABS, Yes! Yes! Yes!”; it has been heard loud and clear as the morning starts to fold onto noon above the sun-drenched land of SorSU Main Campus.

It was a particular cheer that marks the start as well as the end of an influential Youth Forum held at Sorsogon State University – Sorsogon City Campus Dormtel, conducted by the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Project on August 23, 2023.

The discussion of the forum stretches from the access of genetic resources of the biodiversity and beyond the scope of sharing the benefits of such, as being used academically in the field of research discoveries, scientific breakthroughs as well as in particular circumstances in which the facile understanding of Access and Benefit Sharing be of application, undistinguished in any social condition.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the ABS Project is being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines. The said event was facilitated by Ms. Orange Omengan, Communications Officer of the ABS Project, together with the Project Management Unit, in collaboration with Sorsogon State University through Ms. Maria Flora Renovalles. This activity is part of the week-long celebration of the 31st Annual Philippine Biodiversity Symposium of the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines.

Under the title, “ABS Uncovered: Fostering Ethical and Sustainable Research and Development Among Youth”, the forum aims to enhance the understanding of youth on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) mechanisms, highlight their roles in biodiversity conservation, and discuss the importance of ABS in the field of research. Students and teachers from different departments of SorSU campuses, primarily those with great interest in sustaining genetic resources and biodiversity in the field of research, participated in the forum.

Part of this year’s 31st Annual Philippine Biodiversity Symposium of the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines, was the great coordination of numerous Organization, corporations, partners, sponsors, presenters, programs and projects such as the Energy Development Corporation, Sorsogon State University as hosts for this year’s celebration, DENR-UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative, Forest Foundation Philippines, Foundation for the Philippine Environment, UNDP-DENR-BMB, ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, USAID Foundation, UP Zoological Society, UP Association of Biology Majors, Biodiversity Research Laboratory – UP Diliman, Center for Conservation Innovations Ph Inc., Office of the Mayor – City of Sorsogon, Office of the Governor – Province of Sorsogon, Alliance of Bacman Farmer’s Association, Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX) and of the Sorsogon City Tourism Culture and Arts Office.

The objectives of the event was to spread awareness, knowledge and understanding of the current and the preserved history of the Philippine’s genetic resources and Biodiversity, to highlight the role of the youth in preserving, as well as in the growth of the Biodiversity itself and to discuss the significance of such message that the event tried to implies toward the mind and soul of the youth, to not only be satisfied of hearing and seeing – but rather to take move, is what it delivers; claimed by certain student participants of the event.

Together with the usual opening of classes, the booths at the court, the freebies, souvenirs, games, and engagement given in exchange for no cents, did somehow, for those who particularly lend time, had eased the unprecedented pressure of what every first day classes had used to be. Tomorrow, August 25, 2023, will end the long week 31st Annual Philippine Biodiversity Symposium of the Biodiversity Conservative Society of the Philippines, honing SorSUeños of wisdom that never lasts.

The long week of celebration had come to an end, but not the legacy and knowledge left upon SorSUeños.

Text by Reign Joy Merca and Photos by Eadrielle Deuna and Aran Joel Belmonte (The ARTIFICER, the Official Student Publication of SorSU Sorsogon City Campus)