Malaysia’s First Marine Spatial Plan Proceeds to Public Consultation
The event was to introduce marine spatial planning (MSP) and its processes, particularly SMSP, to the communities and local institution agencies in Semporna. Over this consultation period, communities were provided the opportunity to understand in greater depth the MSP process and also have an input to the work programme.
“MSP is a process that brings together multiple users or stakeholders of a marine area – including industry, government, local communities and fishermen, conservation and recreation – to make informed and coordinated decisions about how to use marine resources sustainably. The SMSP strategy aims to deliver a balanced approach for the demands of development in Semporna Priority Conservation Area (PCA), protect marine ecosystems, and achieve social and economic objectives in an integrated, participatory and planned manner,” said Ms Monique Sumampouw, People and Marine Biodiversity Manager, WWF-Malaysia Marine Programme.
An engaging process from initially agreeing on the issues and challenges to designing a marine spatial plan, MSP will lead to a shared vision by all stakeholders. The shared vision in MSP is an appreciation of each other’s objectives and challenges. The creation of an integrated solution creates a sense of ownership of the management process, implementation and subsequent monitoring and enforcement by all stakeholders.
The three-day public consultation included several dialogue and analytical sessions which resulted in fruitful discussions and consensus amongst participants from highly varied backgrounds, expertise and experience.
Out of this, five action committees have been established, which are:
- Tourism, which will be led by Semporna District Council and Sabah Parks,
- Biodiversity Conservation , by Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia,
- Fisheries, by the Department of Fisheries,
- Mariculture, by Farmers Organisation Authority of Semporna, and
- Heritage and Culture, by Community College, Sabah Museum, and Department of Education
“This is indeed a proud moment – to know that majority care about the future of Semporna and have taken on responsibilities in sectors within their expertise. While the three-day consultation has resulted into five major working committees, we are still looking forward to receiving interest from two equally important elements to the planning; which are aquaculture and marine transport,” reacted YB Dato’ Dr Haji Jaujan bin Haji Sambakong, ADUN N.52 Sulabayan Semporna, to the positive result of the consultation.
Dr Chacho bin Haji Bulah, Semporna’s District Officer said, “we hold the responsibility to take care of Semporna. MSP will be a way to protect our marine ecosystem and requires commitment from every party involved, especially the community. Participation from the local community will ensure consistent and significant progress of MSP. I am in full support of WWF-Malaysia’s work for MSP and look forward to working together for the future of Semporna PCA.”
“WWF-Malaysia is immensely grateful for TRPD and Dr Chacho bin Haji Bulah’s strong support with MSP. WWF believes there have been tangible and positive outcomes from this public consultation. Having received positive motivation from the SMSP’s recent shortlisting for the prestigious International Award for Planning of Excellence Award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), UK, WWF is optimistic about the great value that MSP will bring to Sabah, and hopefully, to Malaysia as a whole,” said Ms Sumampouw.
This public consultation was held in line with raising more awareness during the celebration of Regatta Lepa-Lepa 2016 in Semporna; in encouraging people from all walks of life to aim towards working together in achieving a marine spatial plan that sustainably manages marine resources in Semporna PCA.
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For further information:
Kimberly Chung, Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer, Marine Programme, WWF-Malaysia (Sabah office)
Tel: +60 88 262 420, Ext.37, Email: email@example.com
Rumaizah Mohammad Abu Bakar, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia,
Tel: +60-3-7450-3773, Email: RBakar@wwf.org.my