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Sabah hosts marine conservation learning exchange, in support of international ocean governance

Photo (c) European Union-funded Ocean Governance Project

13 October 2022, Kota Kinabalu: This week, Sabah is hosting an inter-regional learning exchange among marine conservationists from Southeast Asia and the Atlantic Basin, championing the need for stronger international ocean governance and collaboration. Supported by WWF-Malaysia, Sabah Parks and Sabah Tourism Board, the exchange aims to boost existing efforts towards marine conservation and sustainable development of the marine sector - not just in Sabah, Malaysia but also regionally and globally.

As part of the wider European Union-funded Ocean Governance Project, this is the 2nd learning exchange organised together with the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) - a six-country multilateral platform that aims to safeguard the world’s richest marine resources and ensure the income, livelihoods and food security for millions who depend on these resources. Representatives from governments, academic institutions, conservation and community groups of over 16 countries are gathered to share best practices and lessons learnt to help overcome common challenges to effectively protecting and managing marine resources.

“More than ever, we are now aware of the need to restore the delicate balance between protecting the environment and sustaining economic growth, by retaining natural habitats and promoting sustainable use of resources,” stressed Dr Henry Chan, Conservation Director of WWF-Malaysia.

The Ocean Governance Project supports the EU’s objectives on global sustainable development, climate change and biodiversity protection. Covering two geographical regions - the Sulu Sulawesi Seascape shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as the Atlantic Basin, part of the Project’s mission is to promote and strengthen networking and partnerships among managers of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a direct way to improve their skills and knowledge, thereby supporting management effectiveness of MPAs.

Dr Henry Chan added, “Located within the Coral Triangle - the world’s centre of marine biodiversity, Malaysia plays a critical role in sustaining the ocean health and wealth of this spectacular marine region. I believe our active role in the Ocean Governance Project will help propel marine conservation efforts on a larger scale, protect our ocean resources and the well-being of coastal people whose livelihoods are directly reliant on the health of our oceans.”
This cross-cutting project highlights Malaysia's crucial role in ensuring balanced planetary health that promotes the belief in a shared ocean. This delicate balance will ensure the protection of marine life and the sustainability of the ecosystem is preserved in the long run. Momentously, future generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of a well-balanced marine ecosystem.
“Sabah Parks’ mission is to preserve areas in Sabah that contain outstanding natural values as heritage for the benefit of the people, now and in the future. On top of our existing coral restoration commitment in Tun Mustapha Park, we look forward to continue working closely with WWF-Malaysia through this Ocean Governance project to further contribute towards CTI-CFF activities on Marine Protected Areas,” states Dr Maklarin Lakim, Director of Sabah Parks.
CTI-CFF supports the effective management of MPAs by fostering knowledge exchange, promoting networks of connectivity and elevating management standards through certification. This 2nd Learning Exchange programme promotes the sharing of information between marine park managers and practitioners from different countries and regions and aims to stimulate further periodical exchanges and networking between them.
“Sabah Tourism Board strongly believes that this project will greatly contribute towards the mutual sustainability goals. Sabah prides itself on its natural beauty and recognises that it holds immense value towards our tourism industry. Our flourishing tourism depends majorly on the protection and sustainability of our state, for the benefit of local communities. We anticipate that only great outcomes will be achieved through this project,” concluded Puan Noredah Othman, Chief Executive Officer of Sabah Tourism Board.
It is only with such great hope and equal dedication committed to the objectives of this project that this collaborative effort is possible. Multiple stakeholders have come together with a shared vision to nurture areas where not only biodiversity and marine species are protected, but also the coastal communities who rely on it. Together, we are able to achieve milestones and attain conservation goals for the future of Sabah and generations to come.
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About WWF-Malaysia
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organisation also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.  For latest news and media resources, visit http://www.wwf.org.my/media_and_information/media_centre/
About Sabah Parks
Sabah Parks is a conservation-based statutory body under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah, Malaysia, established in 1964 with the purpose of conserving the scenic, scientific and historic heritage of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. The organisation is also responsible for the management and promotion of the various protected reserves in Sabah, in particular those designated as state parks. It is also mandated to develop tourism-friendly facilities to accommodate tourist arrivals to these reserves and ensure that the state of the reserves is not compromised. The first choice for inclusion in a park system was Mount Kinabalu. As a result, Kinabalu Park was gazetted in 1964, and today it is designated as the first Malaysia World Heritage Site. For more information, please visit https://www.sabahparks.org.my/
About Sabah Tourism Board
The Sabah Tourism Board, or generally known as Sabah Tourism, is an agency of the Sabah State Government operating under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment. Sabah Tourism’s primary responsibility is the marketing and promotion of tourism for the State. For more information, please visit http://www.sabahtourism.com/
About the EU-funded Ocean Governance Project
The Ocean Governance project contributes to European Union (EU) objectives on international ocean governance and to the delivery of EU global commitments regarding sustainable development, climate change and biodiversity protection. It is funded by the EU and implemented in partnership with GOPA Worldwide Consultants, WWF, government agencies and community organisations.
The purposes of the project are:
- To advance a process leading to enhanced cooperation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in and between the Atlantic and South-East Asian regions.
- To support the implementation of marine and coastal ecosystem restoration and to facilitate broader regional cooperation on marine and coastal resilience in the South-East Asian region.
- To contribute to the effective management of MPAs in the Atlantic and South-East Asian regions.
More: https://oceangovernance4mpas.eu/
Note to the media:
1)            All quotes are to be attributed to the designated persons quoted in this media release.
2)           Should you need more information, please see the details below but please note that this person is for contact purposes only and is not the organisation's authorised spokesperson, so we would appreciate it if this name is not printed in the article.
Kimberly Christine Chung
Communications Manager, Marine Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 88 262 420
Email: kchung@wwf.org.my
Ak. Mohd. Rodzan Bin Pg. Dahlan
Principal Assistant Director (Corporate Communication Division)
Tel: +60 88 523 510 / 523 500
Email: rodzanpg.dahlan@sabahparks.org.my
Cassie Forsythe
Digital & Communications Manager, Sabah Tourism Board
Tel: +60 88 212121
Email: cassie@sabahtourism.com

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