ASEAN is host to seven of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Failure of governments and their peoples to protect and conserve the region’s rich biodiversity is one of the greatest threats to the over 500 million people of ASEAN. As in other areas of the developing world, biodiversity conservation demands a delicate balance between development and conservation. The region’s rich biodiversity is inextricably linked to the livelihood of its people; about 65% of its population is dependent on its agricultural sector. The sector is a prime contributor to food security, employment, income generation and overall prosperity of the region. The linkage between biodiversity and agriculture is further emphasised as a result of global conventions and agreements that deal with the threats posed by invasive alien species to natural and agro-environments and issues of environmental sustainability. Biosecurity, together with biosafety, proposes a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses policy and regulatory frameworks for analysing and managing relevant risks to human, animal and plant life and health, and associated risks to the environment. The concept of managing these risks in a holistic manner has, however, not yet been fully embraced by developing countries, where biosecurity continues to be managed on a sector basis, often with separate policy and legislative frameworks. The migration towards a more harmonised and integrated approach, with the different sectors and components of biosecurity working towards common goals to take advantage of the available synergies and complementarities is often plagued by difficulties in cross-institutional cooperation and commitment, and agreement on sharing of limiting human capacity and resources.


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