Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Asia-Pacific Capacity Building Action Plan

Objective

To contribute to the long-term conservation of plants and their habitats worldwide, by building capacity and sharing expertise among botanic gardens of the Asia-Pacific region.

Rationale

The Botanic Gardens Trust is a leading botanic garden in Australia and internationally; it is relatively well resourced and has the capacity to help; it has good historical connections with countries in the Asia-Pacific region; Australia and New South Wales both have interests in the local region which this could enhance.

The Trust has stronger links with some countries and botanic gardens, for example Bogor and Singapore, and will use these relationships to assist in the program. There are some countries that, due to historical linkages, proximity or need, have been identified as high priorities: New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor and New Caledonia. However, rather than identify specific Ďtarget areasí, the Trust will be opportunistic and, where possible and reasonable, respond to demand.

Progress against actions

Establish relationships opportunistically with botanic gardens within the region

The Trust hosted a visit by a delegation from the Korea National Arboretum in June, who toured Mount Annan Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens to obtain information on plantings for their planned Australian plant collection. Both the Botanic Gardens Trust and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne signed agreements with the Korea National Arboretum, supporting further collaboration in research, horticulture and conservation.

Executive Director Dr Tim Entwisle has been invited to participate in the strategic review of the South China Botanical Garden in Guangzhou in November 2009. This will also be an occasion to celebrate the 80th anniversary of this botanic garden.

Scientists from the Botanic Gardens Trust continue to visit the Asia-Pacific region, forging relationships and assisting with conservation and research projects. On the advice of the Executive Director, the Friends of The Gardens continued to give priority to travel funding applications in this region. Dr Barry Conn conducted research trips to Singapore Botanic Gardens as well as Herbarium Bogoriense (Indonesia) in June. Dr Conn was awarded a Singapore Botanic Gardens Fellowship for his extensive work in the region and has maintained strong collaborative links with the Indonesian Botanic Gardens.

Develop a Diploma in Asia-Pacific Botanic Gardens Management with Singapore Botanic Gardens, Botanic Gardens Conservation International and Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) and Singapore Botanic Gardens have agreed to run an International Certificate in Botanic Garden Management in the Asia-Pacific Region, to be hosted by Singapore Botanic Gardens from 5-20 March 2010. The reduced course length and change in title, as requested by BGCI, is in response to the changed financial position of the countries involved in the project and the potential of students to fund participation.

The Certificate is seen as a commitment to help build local and regional capacity and expertise in both the management of living plant collections and the conservation of biodiversity at a time of rapid global change. It is designed to support the Targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC - see Global Strategy for Plant Conservation for further information on the Trustís contribution to these targets). At this stage representatives from Taiwan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore have expressed interest in the program.

Seek funding to assist staff (airfares and some living expenses) to travel to Singapore (or elsewhere) to teach in the Diploma course, and to consider funding a scholarship for a non-Australian attendee (can be country specific if this is more appealing to a funding source)

Principal Conservation Partner, HSBC Australia, will sponsor the Trustís contribution to delivery of the Asia-Pacific capacity building program. Funding provided by HSBC will support travel for two staff to teach the International Certificate in Botanic Gardens Management. This contribution, matched by Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, will allow BGANZ to support a number of full- or partscholarships for students attending the certificate program in 2010.

Prepare and implement procedures for overseas visitors generally

Draft procedures are in place and will be finalised in late 2009.

Prepare modular program for short-term stays by visiting botanic garden professionals, including consideration of accommodation options at Botanic Gardens Trust estates

Preliminary work has commenced and the program will be finalised in line with completion of the overseas visitor procedures in late 2009.

Integrate the Asia-Pacific Capacity Building program, along with any other international training projects for botanic gardens, in the proposed Centre for Plant Conservation and Research

A complete business case and functional brief has been prepared for PlantBank - the Centre for Plant Conservation and Research proposed for Mount Annan Botanic Garden. The business case recognises national and international conservation objectives, including those of seed bank partnerships and research initiatives under the Conventions of Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). PlantBank will be positioned as a leader in education and scientific research in plant conservation in the Asia-Pacific.