stats & stories - storytelling for biodiversity, southeast asia & beyond

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Biodiversity is lost. People are the problem. People are the solution. People are storytelling organisms. Let’s tell them stories then. For real behavior change we must turn data into drama, numbers into narrative, and stats into stories. A biodiversity storybook along the Strategic Goals and Targets of The Convention on Biological Diversity. A journey through Southeast Asia’s treasure chest of biodiversity. A resource for conservation facilitators, communicators and educators in Southeast Asia and beyond. And for everybody who’s agenda starts with Once upon a time…


  • STATS & STORIESStorytelling for Biodiversity

    Southeast Asia & beyond


    ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity3/F ERDB Building, Forestry CampusUniversity of the Philippines Los Baos, Laguna,

    2014 ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity


    The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is ASEANs response to the challenge of biodiversity loss. It is an intergovernmental organization that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the ten ASEAN Member States and with regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such natural treasures.


    The Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, is a non-profit cooperation enterprise for sustainable development and operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Most of the activities are commissioned by the German Government. GIZ works closely with the public and private sector as well as civil societies to carry out results-oriented international cooperation. Its considerable experience with alliances in partner countries is a key factor for successful projects.

    Since September 2010, GIZ through the Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP), has been supporting the institutionalization of ACBs core program on biodiversity and its nexus with climate change, contributing to an ASEAN-wide strategy.

    AUTHOR: Philipp Gassner

    GreenChallenge Accepted - Interface expert for the strategic communication of sustainability - beyond the ivory towerGreen: Call Philipp a resourceful, enthusiastic and conscientious interface expert with a passion for knowledge, people and the environment.Challenge: Hes dedicated to get the science of sustainability across interfaces. On his mission he combines

    Content as cross-disciplinary environmental scientist with Method from science communication, knowledge and project management, and consultancy.

    Accepted: Philipp frees science and sustainability from the green ivory tower: He turns data into drama, numbers into narrative, and stats into stories - translating knowledge into practice in order to change institutions.

    EDITORS: Dr. Monina T. Uriarte, Mr. Rolando A. Inciong, Ms. Leslie Ann V. Jose, Ms. Agnes R. Pantastico

    LAYOUT: Mr. Nanie Gonzales, Mr. Eisen Bernard V. Bernardo

    DISCLAIMER: This publication may be reproduced for educational or non-profit purposes without special permission, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ACB or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) or contributory organizations. The designations employed and the presentations do not imply the expressions of any option whatsoever on the parts of ACB or contributory organizations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area and its authority, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

    For all correspondence relating to this publication, please contact:

    Most articles were first published in the BusinessMirror or the ASEAN Biodiversity Magazine.

  • Stats and Stories Storytelling for Biodiversity iii

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which entered into force on 29 December 1993, has three objectives: the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits

    arising from genetic resources. The Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to

    the CBD in 2010 adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, together with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

    Aichi Target No. 1 states that: By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably. The challenge to meet the first target is to increase public awareness on the importance of biodiversity.

    In this context, the CBD promotes awareness raising for biodiversity issues and concerns. The International Day for Biological Diversity, every 22nd day of May, and the UN Decade on Biodiversity, are but two examples of these efforts.

    People always like to listen to a good story. Storytelling has the power to engage and move people. Biodiversity facts and figures, when presented in story form, can be easily understood.

    This publication, Stats & Stories Storytelling for Biodiversity Southeast Asia & Beyond, is a unique attempt to tell stories about biodiversity. It hopes to contribute to the promotion of biodiversity conservation using simple and clear language.

    And what better way to start with once upon a time.

    Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza DiasExecutive SecretaryCBD


  • iv Stats and Stories Storytelling for Biodiversity

    Just like the rest of the world, the ASEAN region faces the daunting challenge of biodiversity loss. Such challenge is a crosscutting concern which recognizes no geographical, social, cultural and political boundaries. As such, halting biodiversity loss is not the sole turf of governments and environmentalists. It is the concern of all sectors.

    An equally challenging task is to make biodiversity an easy-to-understand term. The world of biodiversity is filled with

    scientific and technical terms and would thus be unattractive

    to ordinary people. To engage more sectors in conserving biodiversity, specifically meeting the Aichi Targets, there is a

    need to make biodiversity a public by-word. Biodiversity needs to be demystified.

    It is in this context that the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and Germany, through the GIZ-assisted Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, are publishing Stats and Stories. Author Philipp Gassner, a technical person himself, has simplified complex

    biodiversity issues and concerns through his adept story-telling craft.Stats and Stories is our contribution to achieving Aichi Target No. 1: By 2020, at the latest, people are aware

    of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.Stats and Stories is our contribution to demystifying biodiversity.

    Atty. Roberto V. Oliva Executive DirectorACB


  • Stats and Stories Storytelling for Biodiversity v

    Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life. This was the message for the International Year of Biodiversity (2010).

    Whose life? Biodiversity as a concept is not relevant to most people and perhaps never will be. So, how could we ever promote biodiversity and its conservation in our societies, develop concepts for the sustainable use of biodiversity elements, and incorporate the value of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits

    in concepts of green and sustainable economies? People do relate to biodiversity and its conservation

    if the concepts are referred and translated to my life, my job my health, or my future. Translation is communication. Communication is naming things by a name, its storytelling, among others. Its both pre-requisite and a tool for change. Communication prepares the fertile ground for information exchange, consensus among divergent opinions, know-how and decision making.

    But there is no shortcut between Said and Done. Said is not yet heard... Heard is not yet understood... Understood is not yet approved... and Approved is not yet done!

    Recognizing this, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provides a plan to fill the gap between Said

    and Done. Its over arching framework, the Strategic Plan, is for all to engage in biodiversity management and policy development. It underlines the importance of biodiversity for Mankind as well as the steps towards a sustainable future for upcoming generations.

    On its journey to a sustainable future, the CBD is supported by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in translating and promoting sustainability and biodiversity in the ASEAN region, striving for a unified response to

    the challenges ahead. This publication aims at decoding and demystifying Biodiversity, this web we call life. This publication intends

    to show the reader the full range of what biodiversity is, what biodiversity means and how important biodiversity is in the lives of our ancestors, of ourselves, and for the future of our children. These press articles represent a collection of stories about my life, my job my health, or my future unfolding the amplitude of Biodiversity - stories which will continue to unfold through time. Forever.

    Dr. Berthold SeibertProject ManagerGIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project


  • vi Stats and Stories Storytelling for BiodiversityPhoto by Jan Brendan Singlador

  • Stats and Stories Storytelling for Biodiversity

    Once upon a time... Communicating Biodiversity

    Green is the new pink. Sustainability is en vogue. And quite rightly so. Illustrations come by the bookful. Take climate change, pollution, the sixth global mass extinction, land degradation, and threats to food security. You name it, we have it. The world is hitting the environmental buffers. This is more and more jeopardizing meaningful development, with Southeast Asias dwindling treasure chest of biodiversity at the forefront. However, simply gazing at these symptoms will leave us stumped for an answer numerous global efforts dont bear fruit. Also, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the key agreemen