The ASEAN region is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies where people are enjoying a new era of prosperity. This impressive feat partly made possible through its rich natural resources, is now exacting a high price from its people—the depletion of the very resources that support their economic advancement. The need to balance social and economic development with actions that will prevent irreversible damage to biodiversity presents one of the most difficult aspects of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
The complexities of the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss require equally multifaceted solutions covering a range of environmental challenges. Thus, governments, entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, public health practitioners, civil society, activists, innovative thinkers, and all other stakeholders in the region should work together to amplify their efforts to protect the region’s rich but finite natural systems. This means shifting away from the businessas- usual way of doing things towards a lowemission, resource-efficient green economy that seamlessly integrates biodiversity into the economic and financial decisions of policymakers and implementors. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the immense and widespread impact of nature, species, and anthropogenic activities to the global public health and economy. Additionally, the pandemic revealed the unavoidable links between biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. It is therefore imperative that conservation, rehabilitation, and recovery initiatives be integrated into one urgent, science-based, and cumulative undertaking. The ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) is one such initiative which serves as the region’s exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis of which biodiversity conservation is a key platform for action that can be found in the frameworks’ basic strategies. The ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook 3 (ABO 3) presents the past and current state of biodiversity in the ASEAN region and it provides analyses on how factors such as deforestation, intensive agriculture, industries, expanding urbanisation are putting intense pressure on its natural ecosystems and resources.