September 24, 2015

Biodiversity in Malaysia to get More Help from Government

Biodiversity in Malaysia to get More Help from Government

Malaysian wildlife getting a helping hand by tiny_packages @flickr

Malaysia’s national biodiversity policy is currently being revised to include further consideration for the country’s delicate environment.  The opportunity is a great one – the vital document hasn’t been reviewed in decades, and it could do more to protect Malaysia’s plant and animal life.

On paper, biodiversity in Malaysia has been well-protected for decades.  The country penned its original biodiversity policy in 1998 and for its time, the document was quite progressive.  It outlined 15 strategies and 85 action plans recommending that government agencies safeguard Malaysia’s flora and fauna.  Goals included improving scientific knowledge of wildlife, strengthening existing conservation programs, promoting international cooperation and enhancing public awareness on environmental conservation.

Unfortunately, the document’s language was too vague to actually require its strategies to be implemented.  Because they weren’t held to deadlines or legally obligated to change, Malaysia’s governments and institutions didn’t do nearly as much as they could have.  Some real good came of the 1998 policy (the establishment of the Penang, Selangor and Royal Belum state parks, for example), but it didn’t live up to its potential.

This is why the current revision process is so important – it provides a chance for the lofty 1998 recommendations to be written more firmly into law.  A specific set of guidelines that hold Malaysia accountable to change could do much to ensure the country’s sustainable development.

Protecting biodiversity means protecting the environment, which is integral to Malaysia’s future.  The forests harboring this biodiversity act to clean the air, retain soil, keep pollution from making its way into rivers and even keep weather patterns regular.

Recent news reports that the biodiversity policy is just now being revised to account for challenges and opportunities surrounding Malaysia’s growing eco-tourism industry.  Many of Malaysia’s forested areas double as eco-tourism parks, so ‘revising eco-tourism’ equates to protecting many large and environmentally critical parts of the country.  A comprehensive review of the national biodiversity act is to be hoped for, so further news of these revisions is eagerly awaited.

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