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Sabah’s role in ensuring Malaysia 50pc covered in natural environ
Published on: Tuesday, November 14, 2023
By: Ricardo Unto
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Sabah’s role in ensuring Malaysia 50pc covered in natural environ
Liew and others visiting one of the exhibition booths.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has contributed to ensuring that Malaysia is still more than 50 per cent covered in the natural environment, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said the State did so with its more than 20 per cent protected terrestrial areas surpassing the Aichi Target of 15 per cent by 2020. 

“However, like many other regions, we are consistently trying our best to make it a reality to contribute to the achievement of the global movement to achieve 30 per cent of terrestrial and 30 per cent of marine areas conserved by the year 2030,” she said at the 14th Southeast Asian Biosphere Reserves Network (SeaBRnet) Meeting, here, Monday.

“Generally, for Malaysia, particularly for Sabah, the key focus sector on economic growth has strategised approaches to accelerate development focusing on the productive growth sectors – agriculture, industrial and tourism.” 

Tourism in Sabah, she said, is primarily on nature-based tourism. 

“Therefore, the Ministry has a considerably huge task to ensure Sabah’s biodiversity and natural environment are sustainably conserved, charting ways for the three pillars of sustainability, the environment, social and economic development, to thrive in harmony,” she said.

She added that the government has shown its seriousness in ensuring conservation finds its way to support the socio-economic status of the people and local communities, particularly in Sabah.

Among them, she said, was the designation of the 800,000-hectare Crocker Range Tropical Rainforest under the Unesco frameworks of conservation and sustainable development due to its outstanding universal and international values.

“This effort made Sabah the third in the world to receive Unesco Triple Crown designation as the Kinabalu Park World Heritage Site, Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve, and Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark, after Jeju, South Korea, and  Shennonjia, China.”

She said that in October, the Sabah Parks Board of Trustees members visited Jeju to learn how to manage the Triple Crowned Site. 

Delegates from Shennonjia, China, also attended the 14th SeaBRnet Meeting.

“The SeaBRnet is more than just an initiative. It is a testament to the shared vision of our nations in Southeast Asia. 

“It recognises that the environment knows no borders and that the cultural diversity within our region is a source of strength and unity. 

“SeaBRnet is a collaborative effort to safeguard our common heritage, built upon several key pillars,” she said.

Among the key pillars are biosphere reserve conservation, cultural exchange and preservation, sustainable tourism, research and knowledge sharing, and youth and community engagement.

“Our environment and cultural diversity are the threads that weave together the fabric of our region, and SeaBRnet reinforces that unity.”

To this end, she said the success of SeaBRnet depends on the collective efforts of all participants.

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