22 May 2019 – Bangkok, Thailand. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presides over the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Biodiversity 2019, or IBD2019, which is held from 22-24 May 2019 at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World.

IBD2019 is organized by Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), represented by the NSTDA and the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (Public Organization), respectively. Supporters and collaborators of this event also include the National Research Council of Thailand, Thailand Science Research and Innovation, the National Science Museum, Center of Excellence on Biodiversity,  the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the Royal Forest Department, the Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.

In his report, Dr. Soranit Siltham, MHESI Permanent Secretary, states that the conference aims to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge of biodiversity which includes topics such as taxonomy, technology and innovation related to bioresource utilization, and in-situ and ex-situ conservation and rehabilitation of habitats, in order to respond to climate change and promote bioeconomy; and to disseminate and publicize the work on biodiversity implemented by Thai organizations from various sectors, including public agencies, industry, academic institutes and local communities. The knowledge gained from this conference will help the country formulate guidelines for the sustainable management of biodiversity to maximize its benefit to the Thai people.

The scientific seminars have a total of 116 presenters, including local and international experts, to share their work on four main topics which are Species in Natural Ecosystem, Utilization, Impact and Threat, and Biodiversity Management. In addition, 16 botanists from world-class botanical gardens are invited to share their knowledge and experience on the work of botanical gardens which serve as a resource for biodiversity study and preservation.  

Dr. Wijam Simachaya, MNRE Permanent Secretary, remarks that the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (Public Organization) has been working in collaboration with 31 agencies from public and private sectors and 25 local communities, all of which engage in the Royal Initiative on plant genetic conservation and biodiversity. Held under the concept “Bio-Wealth Country”, the exhibition consists of 9 zones such as the Royal Pavilion, Citizen Science, Bio wealth Community, Restoration & Utilization, Actions toward Sustainable Management, Bio Market, Eco Tourism & Geopark and Biodiversity in Thailand.  In addition, there are activities dedicated to showcase biodiversity-based businesses and community products.  This comprehensive exhibition represents the richness of Thai biodiversity which has significantly contributed to the livelihood of Thai people and the development of our nation, as well as the efforts of all sectors in preserving its national treasures.

Today also marks a special occasion as May the twenty second has been proclaimed by the United Nation to be the International Day for Biological Diversity. The theme of this year “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” aims to shine the light on the dependency of our food systems, nutrition, and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, a display dedicated to this theme is included in the exhibition as well.

Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, NSTDA President, introduces two keynote speakers of the opening ceremony: Dr. Rachel Warmington and Mr. Arie-Johann Heiertz.  A science team manager of Eden Project in the United Kingdom, Dr. Rachel Warmington leads the Rainforests Research Group at Eden Project, working with universities on diverse projects in the rainforest biome. The title of her lecture is “The Phadaeng Botanic Garden: A model for a regenerative tropical botanic garden”. Mr. Arie-Johann Heiertz is an expert in mining engineering for any large-scale mining project in opencast mines of RWE Technology International, Germany. His lecture is titled “Technical Aspects of Mine Reclamation in the Rhenish Lignite Basin and Possible Ways of Biodiversity, Bioeconomy and Public Use”.

Princess Sirindhorn makes a visit to exhibition on “Discovers the Treasures and Unique Biodiversity in Thailand (From the Mountain to the Sea)” showcasing of projects concerning biodiversity biodiversity-based businesses and a display of community products. Examples include Smart Patrol which applies information technology to monitor plants and animals for conservation purpose; Soft Coral Propagation for marine ecosystem rehabilitation and eco-tourism; C-Aoss/CapsultArtoOcean Sediment System using eco-friendly artificial wood to expedite the sedimentation thus prevent coastal erosion; and Conservation of Leatherback Sea Turtle.