Press Release
December 8, 2010

SANLAKSANG BUHAY: Biodiversity Exhibit
of the National Museum and the Embassy of France

The Philippines, known as the Pearl of the Orient, is blessed with a rich biodiversity. In fact, it is one of the eighteen (18) mega-biodiversity countries, containing two-thirds of the earth's biodiversity and about 70-80% of the world's plant and animal species. It also ranks fifth (5th) in the number of plant species, fourth (4th) in bird endemism, and maintains five percent (5%) of the world's flora.[1]

However, while we boast of high levels of life forms in our country, the unfortunate reality is that we are also one of the world's top biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of species that are endangered or threatened of extinction.[2]

The mounting of this exhibit comes at an opportune time, with UNESCO declaring 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity and following the success of the recently concluded Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan where delegates from 193 countries agreed to protect 17 percent of the world's land areas and 10 percent of oceans by 2020.

Tonight is not only a manifestation and celebration of that international commitment. We see tonight a congregation of people from different countries, from government, non-government, civil society, the academe and private sector who all took time to show their support in the preservation and protection of the unique and at the same time precarious state of our country's biodiversity.

To the National Museum and the Embassy of France, my sincere congratulations for successfully establishing this exhibit. May this exhibit not only be a celebration of our country's commitment to this significant endeavour but also a renewal of our personal obligation--that we as individuals shall undertake, to the best of our ability, the actions necessary to prevent biodiversity loss in our own community, workplace, sector, and in our country as a whole.

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