The National Biodiversity Council (NBC) needs to continue to be empowered as the main platform to strengthen biodiversity conservation policies and strategies at the national level, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
NBC is the main platform for the Federal and state governments to discuss the direction and strategy of biodiversity at the national level.
He said the establishment of the Malaysian Biodiversity Center (MBC) as a center of excellence for biodiversity at the national level could complete the biodiversity management initiative at the state level and realize the establishment of the Malaysian Natural History Museum.
In addition, the participation of Orang Asli or indigenous people and local communities in environmental preservation and conservation activities, including through social forestry programs should be given focus,” he said in his speech at the opening of the National Biodiversity Conference and the Launch of the National Biodiversity Policy (DKBK) 2022-2030 here, today.
The text of his speech was read by Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
Anwar said efforts to improve the management of biological diversity are indeed challenging because it is under the jurisdiction of the state and it is an area that crosses sectors.
“Therefore, in order to strengthen and accelerate the biodiversity conservation agenda in this country, several initiatives have been taken at various levels such as the establishment of a National Task Force for Malayan Tiger Conservation by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC), Pahang Biodiversity Council, Sarawak Biodiversity Center and Sabah Biodiversity Centre,” he said.
He also suggested that the state government enact biodiversity plans in their respective states in line with the 2022-2030 DKBK.
He said the sincerity of private companies, corporate bodies, non-governmental organizations and individuals in helping the Federal and state governments in strengthening efforts to preserve and conserve biological diversity is very welcome.
The DKBK is the result of a revision of the 2016-2025 DKBK, taking into account the current needs at the national level and the international biodiversity framework, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, based on the country’s conditions, priorities and capabilities.
As a government that is concerned with aspects of biodiversity conservation, Anwar said transformative measures have been intensified in the presentation of Budget 2024 to strengthen efforts to combat encroachment, illegal logging and wildlife hunting.
It includes financial incentives for biodiversity and forest conservation (EFT) increased to RM200 million compared to RM150 million in 2023 to empower the state government to conserve and gazette protected areas.
He said, Malaysia is committed to maintaining at least 50 percent of the country’s land area covered by trees and the forest area is achieved, which is that currently, the country’s forested area is 18,045,600 hectares or 54.58 percent of the country’s land area.
“Based on a report by the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch and the University of Maryland on deforestation, Malaysia has reportedly succeeded in keeping the rate of natural forest loss at the lowest level.
“Overall, Malaysia has reduced the deforestation of natural forests by 57 percent in 2022, thus placing Malaysia in fourth place among the top 10 countries in reducing the deforestation of natural forests in 2022,” he said.
Anwar also informed that he will attend the World Climate Action Summit on Dec 1 and 2 in Dubai, which is held in conjunction with the 28th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP28).
The Prime Minister will also deliver a national statement to voice Malaysia’s views and efforts in dealing with climate change issues, especially those that touch directly with forest management.