The Maldives has been handed the co-chairmanship of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP), a regional consortium designed to foster collaboration among governments and diverse stakeholders for the efficacious management of protected areas across Asia.

The official appointment notice was presented to Thoriq Ibrahim, the Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, at the concluding ceremony of the Maldives Protected and Conserved Areas Forum, an event organised by the Ocean Country Partnership Programme of the United Kingdom.

Dr Dindo Campilan, the Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), handed over the notice to Minister Ibrahim. The two-year term as co-chair of APAP is a prestigious recognition for the Maldives and would significantly bolster the nation’s environmental conservation endeavours, Ibrahim said.

APAP was inaugurated in 2013 at the inaugural Asia Parks Congress held in Japan and was formally launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Australia. The organisation is chaired by the IUCN and co-chaired by an APAP member organisation on a rotational basis. The Maldives’ Ministry of Climate Change, Environment and Energy now holds the current co-chair position for a two-year term.

APAP’s mission is to facilitate improved conservation outcomes for protected areas in Asia by promoting best practices and innovative solutions to the challenges facing the region’s protected areas through knowledge sharing and capacity building. APAP currently boasts a membership of 91 member states and over 1,400 civic organisations from 170 countries.

The organisation also aims to strengthen transboundary and regional cooperation and raise awareness of the multiple benefits of Asia’s protected areas, both within and outside the region. Furthermore, APAP aspires to support national and regional efforts to implement the strategic plan for biodiversity, a global set of goals and targets adopted by countries worldwide to halt the loss of biodiversity.