2-day South Asian Consultation on Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework begins

A two-day meeting of the South Asian Consultation Meeting on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was held in New Delhi today.  The meeting was attended by the representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in addition to representatives from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal; the Global Environmental Facility, Washington; French Embassy in New Delhi; UNDP-India; IUCN Offices in Canada and Singapore; National Geographic, USA and Campaign for Nature; Montreal in this virtual cum real meeting.

In his address Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav said that South Asia with its over 1.97 billion human populations and high biological diversity face formidable developmental challenges and impediments, which are amplified by the weak socio-economic status and the presence of high natural resource dependent communities. It is also necessary that tribal and other local communities which are cultivating or doing other activities for their livelihood should be exempted from the Biological Diversity Act to find balance between development of the local community and conservation of biodiversity, he added.

He also said that Biological Diversity Act will be implemented to lay greater emphasis on the local community interest and to encourage research in the area of biodiversity to make necessary changes in policy to ensure more Access & Benefit Sharing (ABS). “We need to encourage investment for sustainable use with necessary regulation to increase ABS fund, which can be used for conservation of biodiversity and betterment of the local community”, the Minister added.

Shri Bhupender Yadav said that the country subscribe to the theory and practice of green infrastructure development and “Development with Design” particularly in the linear infrastructure sector that we build to promote economic development, conservation and connectivity.  He said conservation is mainstreamed in all sectors of economic development under the philosophy of “Development without Destruction”.

The Minister said that India has joined over 75 countries that are part of the 30 by 30 High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. In South Asia, already Pakistan and Maldives have joined.  He urged other countries to join HAC and also requested GEF, Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and Campaign for Nature and others to ensure that timely and adequate resources for developing countries.  The Minister said that the two-day regional consultation will help in developing strategies that would feed into the global meetings of CBD planned in March, 2022 in Geneva and for the 15th Conference of Parties of the CBD in China in April-May, 2022.

In her speech, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ms. Leena Nandan said that this Convention is a milestone towards developing South Asia perspective and calls for innovative financing methods from GEF.



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Hong Kong – Speech by CE at Asian Insurance Forum 2021 Opening Ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

Speech by CE at Asian Insurance Forum 2021 Opening Ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)


     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Asian Insurance Forum 2021 Opening Ceremony this morning (December 7):

Deputy Director Yin Zonghua (Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), Moses (Chairman of the Insurance Authority, Dr Moses Cheng), Clement (Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Authority, Mr Clement Cheung), ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. I am delighted to speak to you, once again, at the Asian Insurance Forum, a flagship event hosted annually by the Insurance Authority. I have been participating every year since the Forum’s inauguration in 2018, including through a video speech last year when the event was held online. This year, the event is in hybrid form. I am pleased to be here in person and speak to more than 100 guests and participants, on top of the hundreds of professionals, from Asia and from around the world, who are taking in today’s event online.

     This year’s theme, “Opportunities and Challenges in the Post-Pandemic New Normal”, respond, of course, to COVID-19. I am pleased to say that Hong Kong has been doing well in controlling the pandemic, with no local infection at all for some months now. That’s thanks to the remarkable resilience and patience displayed by the Hong Kong community and is an excellent demonstration of the “can-do” spirit of Hong Kong. The stable epidemic situation has provided us with a good basis to resume normal, which makes this year’s Forum theme particularly fitting. Among the things that people want to resume, I believe that quarantine-free cross-boundary travel into the Mainland tops many people’s wish lists. While we are not yet there, I can assure you we are making good progress in our talks with the Mainland authorities, and I do hope to bring you good news pretty soon.

     Beyond cross-boundary travel, it is time to adopt a forward-looking perspective, time to focus on the post-pandemic economy and the boundless prospects it will offer us. My 2021 Policy Address delivered on October 6 includes a chapter entitled “New Impetus to the Economy: Integration into the National Development”. In it, I emphasise that the development of Hong Kong is inextricably linked to that of our nation, that by embracing the Central Government’s policies in support of Hong Kong, we can take full advantage of our unique capabilities. And with these, and the support of our country, we can find the flourishing future we all want.


     The National 14th Five-Year Plan promotes our strengthening as an international financial centre and a global risk-management centre under the nation’s “dual-circulation” development strategy. As I see it, this is also a golden opportunity for our insurance industry to grow, to take advantage of the bountiful prospects there for Hong Kong and for you. 


     This morning’s opening panel discussion will focus on China’s dual-circulation economic strategy and Hong Kong’s place in it. Our positioning in the strategy reflects our central role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. With a population of some 86 million and a combined GDP of about US$1.7 trillion, the Greater Bay Area is an ideal entry into the Mainland’s domestic loop. After all, the fast-emerging bay area development will enable the unimpeded flow of people, goods and capital throughout the nine Mainland cities and the two special administrative regions.


     The insurance industry has an essential role to play in realising the vision of the Greater Bay Area. Mitigating risks is at the heart of the insurance profession. And in doing so, you will help ease the minds of those planning to live, study and work in the Greater Bay Area. Insurance creates confidence, too, in our entrepreneurs looking to the Greater Bay Area for their future.


     To help you seize the far-reaching opportunities of the Greater Bay Area, my Government has been working in concert with the Insurance Authority to establish after-sales service centres in co-operation with our Mainland and Macao counterparts. This is the breakthrough that everyone in the insurance industry has been longing for, and I can understand that expectations have been further raised following the formal launch of Wealth Management Connect in September. As the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), I would try my best to give it a further push. The pandemic has amply demonstrated the practical value of such after-sales centres, for they will do away with the need for Greater Bay Area policyholders to come to Hong Kong for their customer support.


     We are also preparing for the introduction of the unilateral recognition policy. This will allow third-party insurance coverage for Hong Kong vehicles entering Guangdong Province via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, something which is set to be in huge demand after we have overcome the pandemic. There is also the possibility of developing cross-boundary health policies and other innovative insurance products. These could be of great benefit to those who regularly travel to and from the Greater Bay Area.


     Looking a bit further than the Greater Bay Area, there is opportunity too in assisting Mainland enterprises planning to expand overseas. The Central Government has announced that it supports Hong Kong in providing insurance and reinsurance services for large infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. It also backs Mainland enterprises looking to set up captives in Hong Kong to enhance their corporate risk-management systems. The prospects are enormous, and I encourage the insurance industry to take advantage of them by advancing your participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, while contributing to national development.


     The Insurance Authority, let me add, has put together a Specialty Risks Consortium. It is created to help match risk owners in the Mainland with professional service providers around the world. The Consortium has attracted 38 members. They’re companies and captives, insurers, brokers and risk advisers, and they’re creating tailor-made solutions for big-ticket investment projects in emerging markets. The Authority is also partnering with the Mainland’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission to identify entities interested in forming captives or risk-management centres in Hong Kong.


     Beyond opportunities arising from our country’s development, the global challenge of climate change will also have an impact on the insurance industry. The COP26 United Nations Climate Conference, which concluded last month in Glasgow, Scotland, keeps alive the Paris Agreement. The Glasgow Climate Pact, the outcome document of the Conference agreed by the nearly 200 countries that took part, maintains the hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 


     While Hong Kong is small in size, we are determined to play our part in combating climate change. My Government has pledged that we will reach carbon neutrality before the year 2050 in my Policy Address last November. And this year, soon after my 2021 Policy Address, the Secretary for the Environment has released Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 and we have set for ourselves a midterm goal of 2035, at which time we hope to reduce carbon emission by 50 per cent as compared to the base year of 2005.


     While it is important to reduce carbon emission, Hong Kong can contribute much more by leveraging our strengths as an international financial centre. I am pleased to note that the Insurance Authority is participating in the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group, under which government bureaux and financial regulators collaborate to bolster Hong Kong’s position as a leader in green and sustainable finance and help transition the financial ecosystem towards carbon neutrality. The Insurance Authority is also developing a multi-pronged approach for the insurance industry’s contribution. Initiatives will include public advocacy and education, corporate disclosures, risk advisory and modelling, product innovation and impact investment.


     The development of insurance-linked securities is another illustration of how the insurance industry can play a meaningful role in the fight against climate change by helping manage the risks involved. In his welcome remarks, Moses touched on the growing impact of climate change, both around the world and right here in Hong Kong. The escalating frequency of extreme weather events, the rapid pace of urbanisation and rising volatility of financial markets have pumped up the demand for insurance-linked securities as a means of managing natural disasters and their fallout.


     In May, riding on an endorsement from the Central Government, my Government put in place a dedicated regulatory framework and pilot subsidy scheme to promote Hong Kong’s development as a centre for insurance-linked securities. In October, we issued our inaugural catastrophe bond in Hong Kong. That landmark achievement was realised through a Special Purpose Insurer, aptly named “Greater Bay Re”. Given that most instruments currently on offer are underpinned by catastrophic risks in North America and the Oceanic region, enormous potential exists within the Greater Bay Area. I trust that the inaugural catastrophe bond will mark the beginning of our journey to nurturing a vibrant insurance-linked securities ecosystem in Hong Kong, and will for sure attract top talents in this area to join us here. Meanwhile, nurturing of local talents for the insurance sector remains a priority of my Government. I am glad to note that under the Pilot Programme to Enhance Talent Training for the Insurance Sector implemented by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, over 7 300 insurance practitioners have participated in quality training courses organised by industry associations since August 2016, whereas about 370 university students have completed internships in insurance companies and insurance broker companies. We look forward to continuing co-operation with the industry in enhancing the talent pool to fuel sustainable market growth.


     Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong has overcome unprecedented challenges over the past two years. Today, “One Country, Two Systems”, the fundamental element for Hong Kong’s success, is back on the right track, and we are entering a new era, one of great promise and opportunity – for our economy and for our community. That’s thanks to two significant initiatives by the Central Government, namely the enactment and implementation of the National Security Law in June last year and the improvement to the Hong Kong SAR’s electoral system this year. Speaking of the latter, we will soon be holding the Legislation Council General Election in less than two weeks’ time. I would appeal to all registered voters here to cast your vote on December 19, to demonstrate your confidence in the improved electoral system, and in Hong Kong’s future.


     Finally, I would take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the insurance industry for offering relief for policyholders when economic activities were most severely curtailed and, more recently, for actively promoting the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I look forward to the industry’s continued support, particularly in our work to promote Hong Kong as a global risk-management centre. I have every confidence in your ability to reach new heights and, in doing so, help create a rewarding future for us all.


     I know you will enjoy today’s Asian Insurance Forum. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the best of health and happiness in the New Year. Thank you very much.

Alan Roland’s “Cultural Pluralism and Psychoanalysis: The Asian and North American Experience” Provides Creative Insights Regarding European/North American Culture of Individualism When Applied From Asian Cultures

“Cultural Pluralism and Psychoanalysis: The Asian and North American Experience” turns focus to the intricate interface between South and East Asians and Euro-Americans. He establishes the groundbreaking work for this study by first presenting how Western psychology and psychoanalysis are specifically rooted in the modern Western culture of individualism (e.g. the experiential self in the West is an “I-self” in contrast to the Asian “we-self”).


Roland discusses the cultural/psychological misunderstandings, discrepancies, and confusion between both South and East Asians and Euro-Americans. A bi-cultural self develops in Asian Americans that can generate substantial internal turmoil in the immigrant generation and often confusion in the second generation, as well as also resulting in new integrations in an expanding self. Case studies are replete to illustrate these points. In addition, he introduces into psychoanalysis “the spiritual self,” which can be highly relevant to some of his Asian patients who are involved in meditation or other spiritual practices. Two other psychoanalytic therapists and an anthropologist supplement Roland’s work on Indians and Japanese with essays on Chinese and South Koreans.


Read the book to learn the relationships between Americans and Asians as well as the author’s extensive studies of root causes of misunderstandings of Asian cultures and how they are in conflict with Westerners and their expectations.


Book available at https://youronlinepublicist.com/product/cultural-pluralism-and-psychoanalysis-the-asian-and-american-experience-by-alan-roland/ 


Cultural Pluralism and Psychoanalysis: The Asian and American Experience

Alan Roland

Publisher: Your Online Publicist

Publication Date: October 2021

Genre: Psychoanalysis with Ethnographic Orientation that takes culture into account

Target Audience: Anthropologists, People who are involved in Asian studies, Broadening citizens of the United States, Practicing analysts, and psychoanalysts who are working with people with Asian-Americans and with different cultures.


About the Author

Alan Roland, Ph.D., a psychoanalyst, author, artist, and playwright/librettist. He has made seminal contributions in the area of cross-cultural psychology with Asians and Asian Americans, having written three books on the subject.


Dr. Roland is an accomplished artist, regularly exhibiting watercolors, intaglio prints and conte crayon drawings in venues around the country. Following this theme, he also wrote a book on drama, creativity and the artist.


In addition, to visual art, he has written and had performed a musical theater work with dance. It is a historical play set in the Ummayad Caliphate in 10th century Cordoba, Spain, entitled “Flight of the Ibis.” He has also written an opera-oratorio, “War of the Sons of Light,” in collaboration with the Israeli composer, Ami Maayani.

South Asian American Playwright Trail Blazes In SFBATCO New Roots Theatre Festival

Aidaa Peerzada co-creates San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s inaugural “New Roots Theatre Festival” October 16 & 17 and writes new play “Shining,” an afro futurist innovation of the Greek myth of Phaeton.

Aidaa Peerzada Author of

Aidaa Peerzada Author of “Shining”


San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company Artist in Residence, playwright and co-creator of the new “New Roots Theatre Festival,” Aidaa Peerzada, whose artistic family hails from Pakistan, knows about artistic limitations and barriers.

Peerzada, who is African American and second- generation Pakistani, has developed the “New Roots Theatre Festival” along with San Francisco native Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company to make way for BIPOC artists to have a theatrical space defined by BIPOC artists and audiences. Both are graduates of Carnegie-Mellon University.

“We just couldn’t sit back and let the pandemic keep us in a corner.  As artists we have to create so we developed a response that is indicative of SFBATCO’s mission to give voice to BIPOC communities that benefit all of society,” said Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr., Co-founder of SFBATCO.

“In the American theater the idea that Black and Brown people simply have no stake in the performing arts is a pervasive excuse to allow a lack of diversity on stage and in the audience. The implication is that our cultures do not have theatrical practices. My first theatrical experiences were of my father, Imraan Peerzada’s plays at the Rafi Peer Theater’s World Performing Arts Festivals, so I am lucky enough to have always known this was not true,”  says Peerzada.

The “New Roots Theater Festival” will feature eight unique projects that will presented throughout the day on October 16th and 17th. Jackson and Peerzada describe that the core theme of the festival is resilience.”My experiences at The World Performing Arts Festivals in Lahore (Pakistan) taught me that atmosphere of celebration can engage people, even in art forms they may have never seen and that core value of centering joy is a big part of ‘The New Roots Theater Festival’,” says Peerzada.

“We’re done with a theater that only features our trauma,” says Jackson.

Peerzada’s own original work SHINING: an afro futurist innovation on the myth of Phaeton which will be featured in the “New Roots Theatre Festival,” is sure to blaze a trail in the hearts of people who understand resistance in dark times. ” I think my play makes use of a myth that features state violence because that is a theme that is relevant both in the Black community here in America and throughout South Asia, ” says Peerzada.

In a time that the pandemic has shuttered theaters and impacted the voices of artists, Peerzada’s work shines forth with a dual or maybe even triple purpose.  Her work is a candle against the darkness the pandemic has caused in the art world. She is a female playwright. Peerzada speaks forth her truth in spite of the restraints often placed on South Asian Women and Black Women.

“The unique voice that Aidaa brings is so important as we consider the fate of the women in Afghanistan. She and her family hailing from that part of the world and with many family members still living there, understand what it is to be silenced and kept from thriving,” says Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company. “The Performing Arts are still taboo within Muslim-South Asian communities, and I’m proud to come from people who have held on to the need for these collective dream spaces, even after the threat of conservative nationalism and extremism has taken hold over much of the region,” says Peerzada.

From what Peerzada expressed in the synopsis, the play  is sure to be thought-provoking, the perfect subject for coffee or a post theater meal. “Shining” is the story of a young man who gets in trouble while trying to prove himself to his estranged father. It so happens that he is a child of the Sun God,  and the trouble is setting the world on fire when he demands that his father Helios prove his legitimacy by allowing him to drive the chariot of the Sun. At the end, Zeus, strikes him from the sky to try and stop the devastation he is causing, but Shining’s sisters grieve over the trapped nature of Shining’s plight; his desire for affirmation was a fatal mistake. This ancient myth encapsulates so many stories of people who are caught in demanding validation from a system that is committed to their oppression, and yet has also created them.

Peerzada’s “Shining” is one of eight works from six BIPOC companies including the African-American Shakespeare Company, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre; AfroSolo; Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico; and PUSH Dance.  “Shining” will be paired with PUSH Dance in one of four performance blocks called “Afrofuturistic Journeys.”

An emerging work of art, “Shining” can be seen, Saturday and Sunday, October 16 & 17, 2021 at the BRAVA Theatre Center in the historic Mission District of San Francisco.  Tickets start at $30 for a performance block of two shows or $50 for all eight performances (https://www.sfbatco.org/nrtf-projects).  They include: The second of two artworks produced by SFBATCO,  “Sign My Name to Freedom: The Unheard Songs of Betty Reid Soskin,” a musical by Jamie Zimmer about Betty Reid Soskin, who turned 100 years old on September 22, 2021. The play is based the National Park Service’s oldest Rangers’ compositions; The African-American Shakespeare Company (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare {Abridged}[Revised]; “The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (LHT Artistic Director, Margo Hall and playwright Traci TolmairesIn the Evening by the Moonlight” about Civil Rights-era friends: Lorraine Hansberry, Nina Simone and James Baldwin); AfroSolo’s Founder Thomas Simpson’s  “San Francisco: Variation of Black Joy, White Supremacy and Hope!); “Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico, “México Lindo y Querido“; and PUSH Dance, “Emma Ya: Expedition.”

For more information about Peerzada, “Shining,” the seven other productions, and tickets, visit www.sfbatco.org.




Hong Kong – New York Asian Film Festival showcases vibrancy of Hong Kong cinema

New York Asian Film Festival showcases vibrancy of Hong Kong cinema


     The vibrant and versatile Hong Kong cinema will continue to shine on the world stage at the upcoming New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) running from today (August 6) to August 22 (New York Time). This year, the Hong Kong Panorama film series will feature 15 Hong Kong films with screenings taking place online, in-theatre and outdoors.

     The Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York (HKETONY), Ms Candy Nip, said that the collection of movies this year is exhilarating. They fully exhibit the diversity of our homegrown film talents from across different generations. The NYAFF will honour legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui with the Variety Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award during the festival. Director Hui’s two earlier works, “The Story of Woo Viet” and “Boat People”, will be among the highlights. Man Lim-chung’s “Keep Rolling” will enable the audience to take an up-close look into the world of Director Hui.

     In addition, Gordon Lam Ka-tung, one of Hong Kong’s most all-round and prolific actors, will be presented with the Variety Star Asia Award by the NYAFF. The audience will also have an opportunity to appreciate the final work of director Benny Chan, “Raging Fire”.
     On August 11, the HKETONY, in partnership with the NYAFF and Film at Lincoln Center, will present a free outdoor screening of Hong Kong’s wuxia classic “New Dragon Gate Inn” by Raymond Lee at the Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. 

     For the full lineup of this year’s Hong Kong Panorama at the NYAFF, please visit website: www.hketousa.gov.hk/usa/arts-cultural/hkpanorama.html.