SCB Asia Section’s commitment to diversity and inclusion
By Hanyeh Ghaffari
Asia is a complex region. With over half of the world’s population, many Asian countries are facing crucial economic, political, religious and security challenges. In this context, biodiversity and environmental protection is often considered an expendable extravagance. A key question is therefore how to prioritize biodiversity conservation in countries dealing with these challenges?
Among and within Asian countries, differences in ethnicity, language, religion, political views and gender are the norm and not the exception. In line with the mission, vision, and strategic foci of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Asia Section is strongly committed to diversity values and to make our region’s human diversity a key asset to achieve conservation outcomes. In this sense, I recently became the Asia Section’s first diversity liaison and below are key things the section is currently working on:
- Being sensitive to diversity values and make sure that SCB Asia Section’s policies, goals, and activities are inclusive and do not create discrimination for people involved in biodiversity conservation;
- Promoting diversity values and facilitate collaboration that leads to positive conservation outcomes in the region;
- Identifying Asian countries that are underrepresented and ways to increase their engagement within the section;
- Supporting local diversity activities carried out by Asian conservation institutions and organizations;
- Recognizing challenges and obstacles that cause Asian conservation students and professionals not be involved in SCB activities and conferences and try to mitigate them;
- Increasing overall engagement with our members and enhance representation in terms of gender, ethnicity, language, religion, geographic origin, and other relevant factors.
SCB Asia Section invites all people interested in diversity values and conservation without borders with an emphasis on equity, inclusion, and without discrimination to work with us and help to bring these values to our Section, Chapters, and Society as a whole.
Hanyeh Ghaffari is an assistant professor at the University of Kurdistan in Iran. She is the Director of Pars Herpetologist Institute, member of IUCN’s SSC tortoise and freshwater turtle specialist group, and SCB Asia Section’s diversity liaison. You can contact Hani via email at: Ghaffari.hanyeh(at)gmail.com.