Tag #biodiversity
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APRU-EBPHK Joint Conference Drives International Collaborations to Slow Biodiversity Loss
Photo Credit: The Chinese University of Hong Kong   “Collaboration” was reiterated at the 2024 APRU x EBPHK Joint International Conference on Biodiversity, Conservation, Genomics and Sustainability from February 15 to 17 at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) that attracted 127 participants from 17 universities and other organizations from eight economies. The three-day conference, jointly organized by the APRU Biodiversity and Sustainability Program and Earth BioGenome Project: Hong Kong and hosted by CUHK, gathered academics from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as NGO practitioners, schoolteachers and members of the public from Hong Kong. Participants shared insights into biodiversity, conservation, genomics, and sustainability, against the backdrop of over a million species being under threat of extinction. 49 speakers delved deeply into a wide range of subtopics, including genetics and genome evolutionary biology research in response to climate change, biodiversity of bacteria, fungi, insects and plants, human-environment interactions for sustainable cities and sustainable lifestyles, as well as biodiversity education. “Collaboration is key to the goal we wish to achieve, and collaboration cannot stop at the borders,” said Professor Alan Chan, Provost of CUHK. Prof. Chan, who serves on the APRU Biodiversity and Sustainability Program Steering Committee, added that “we will generate new knowledge that improves our understanding of technological intervention that allows us to better manage the resources that are part of the human heritage.” The APRU Biodiversity and Sustainability Program was established in 2021 drawing its strength from APRU member institutions representing a significant portion of the world’s research and knowledge capabilities on biodiversity. The program was jointly led by Prof. Jerome Hui from CUHK and Prof. Nathan Lo from The University of Sydney. Earth BioGenome Project: Hong Kong (EBPHK) is another organizer of the conference. The Hong Kong initiative is derived from the Earth BioGenome Project, which is described as a moonshot project for biology and aims to sequence, catalogue, and analyse the genomes of all eukaryotes on Earth, including animals, fungi, and plants. As a local chapter of the global project, EBPHK was jointly established by eight publicly funded universities in Hong Kong, with an initial focus on organisms that are in high concern and great interest in the city. The conference was complemented with a field trip to Tai O, a traditional fishing village on Lantau Island that is endowed with a wide variety of natural habitats and species of animals and plants with conservation value. “At the moment we are losing species at a frequency over a thousand times faster than species were lost before human lived on this planet,” said Professor Kathy Belov, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sydney. Also an APRU Biodiversity Program SC member, Prof. Belov added that “today, you are here to think about how to drive solutions to address biodiversity loss, to better protect the ecosystems, and to combat the impacts of climate change.” APRU’s Chief Executive Professor Thomas Schneider pointed out that the program provides a platform to support catalytic partnerships and collaborations. “By connecting scientists, as well as experts and key stakeholders from other sectors of society, the hub creates new incentives for collective action to protect Asia Pacific ecosystems, address biodiversity loss and combat the impacts of climate change,” Prof. Schneider said. Here is a news article on the conference published by CUHK.
March 12, 2024
APRU At APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Lima, Perú
The APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology, and Innovation (PPSTI) Meeting in Lima, Peru, on February 29 constituted a perfect platform for Professor Ery Odette Fukushima of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to share her insights on STI’s crucial role in contributing to the development of resilient solutions in the face of current global challenges, such as biodiversity. As a delegate of APRU and representative of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Prof. Fukushima presented on a panel titled “Innovation Ecosystems for Resilience Solutions.” Prof. Fukushima illustrated how STI can enhance ecosystem resilience through habitat restoration, conservation biology, and genetic diversity. Citing examples conducted at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station and the Galápagos Science Center, Fukushima emphasized the importance of international and multidisciplinary collaboration to foster innovation to develop effective solutions to sustainability and resilience challenges. Fukushima also showed that biodiversity underpins everything that economies do by providing essential services and resources and STI fosters sustainable industries and jobs. Prof. Fukushima delved into advances in genetics and genomics, remote sensing, and data analytics. She presented data showing that STI-driven support for biodiversity for Ecuador has created 3,200 job offers and over 2,500 agreements for internships, with 50 foreign students coming to Ecuador for internships. “STI has supported young innovators engaged around the topic of biodiversity, including those from groups with untapped economic potential, through mentorship, funding, and resources for sustainable solutions,” Prof. Fukushima said. The PPSTI Afternoon Policy Dialogue was held in the context of the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 1) and chaired by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Technology and Space Affairs, Rahima Kandahari at APEC Perú 2024 who was also key contributor at APRU’s APEC University Leaders’ Forum 2023 in San Francisco, CA. It welcomed speakers from academia, government, and industry to discuss successful examples of resiliency solutions developed through STI. The panels closely aligned with the priorities of the PPSTI and the APEC host economy.
March 5, 2024