OREANDA-NEWS. The business division KfW Entwicklungsbank has signed a EUR 10 million agreement for suitable measures to protect biological diversity in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region. As part of the small grants programme (SGP), it will support rural communities and non-government organisations in and around the ASEAN Heritage Parks. This constitutes the first collaboration between the KfW and the Southeast Asian federation of states which includes member states Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The ecosystems in the ASEAN region are endangered. Population growth and economic development along with high levels of poverty are putting an increasing strain on the environment. In particular, the rural population is dependent on vital resources such as clean water and fertile soil for agriculture, wood for construction and cooking or mangrove swamps to protect against flooding. The needs of the local population and protection of the environment need to be in tune with each other,” said Dr. Norbert Kloppenburg, member of the Executive Board of KfW Bankengruppe.

The collaboration starts here. It promotes small projects in countries of the ASEAN region that benefit the local population economically while protecting nature at the same time. Measures might include those aimed at ecological coffee or rice growing or reforestations in order to enable sustainable forestry. The project will initially focus on two parks in Indonesia and four in Myanmar, where a collaboration with non-government, international and domestic organisations is planned.