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Partnerships in Conservation Vital at All Levels - Special Days Reminding People on Their Dependence on Nature

10 March 2023, Kuching, Sarawak: Keeping nature healthy requires serious partnerships. For nature-rich places like Sarawak, this means partnerships among stakeholders at local, regional and international levels need to be forged, renewed or strengthened. March this year is a significant month, as the world comes together to celebrate important days dedicated to the natural world.

The World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March, themed ‘Partnerships for wildlife conservation’. It emphasises the importance of working together in  conserving nature, particularly the fauna and flora.  

Strong partnership is key to WWF-Malaysia. We work in different parts of Sarawak, covering wildlife, forest and river conservation. Being the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak is also endowed with rich biodiversity, and is home to some of the most unique and endangered species on Earth. Conserving them would only be possible if all come and work together, to put an end to human’s activities that threaten their existence and survival.

WWF-Malaysia Associate Director for Sarawak and Conservation Science Dr Jason Hon said the organisation works closely with various government ministries, departments, agencies, universities, private sectors, fellow NGOs and civil societies, as well as indigenous communities, towards achieving Sarawak’s conservation goals and sustainable development agenda, including  the protection and conservation of wildlife in Sarawak. 

This year’s International Day of Forest (21 March) is celebrated with the theme, ‘Forests and health’, a salient reminder of mankind's dependence on forests. On the next day, 22 March, World Water Day is about the need to hasten change to solve the water and sanitation crisis that affects our daily lives. These celebrations will come full circle with Earth Hour on the last Saturday of the month (25 March) that urges people around the globe to dedicate an hour to the natural world. 

Dr Hon said forests have been providing us with clean air, water, food and medicines. 

“They capture carbon to fight climate change, regulate floods and improve people’s well-being. Our rivers have been providing us with abundant water all year round. Rivers also provide food resources and help generate energy for human’s needs.” 

“While we immerse ourselves in these global environmental celebrations and rejoice that our vast forests and rivers have provided us with unmeasurable benefits that sustain our life on Earth, they are also slowly depleting in resources and health. 

“Perhaps, let us take heed of this year’s celebrations to give back to nature. It is our duty to better manage and sustain our forests and rivers, and recognise the services these ecosystems have been providing not only for us humans but also for our wildlife,” he said in a statement today in conjunction with the environmental celebrations in March. 

Dr Hon said Sarawak must transform how businesses are conducted by emphasising environmental and social sustainability. 

For a start, he stressed that the state must maintain its existing forest cover, which is currently above the national target of 50% and continue not only promote, but also implement stringent and sustainable management of our forests and protected areas. 

“Our water catchments must be holistically managed, to ensure clean water provision for all, which is one of our basic human rights. One approach is through the payments for ecosystem services, that could provide benefits back to the areas to be better managed and conserved. In the end, healthy forests and rivers will bring life and health to people,” he said. 

The call for all to come together to protect our forests and water has never been louder than now. 
Therefore, Sarawak needs the committed cooperation from all, especially the business sectors,  alongside the strong political will of our government. 

“We must forge partnerships to climate smart our businesses, to ensure not only the prosperity and well-being of people are taken care of, but also our natural world,” he pointed out. 

“At your personal level you could do something positive by making your voices heard and joining forces with others. Be part of the biggest hour for Earth come this Earth Hour celebration,” he added. 

On a side note, Dr Hon said WWF-Malaysia will be playing host to the organisation’s Asia Pacific CEO and Board Conference, in Kuching from 14 to 17 March. 

More than 40 conservation leaders comprising WWF Chairs, Board Members and CEOs of Asia Pacific will gather in this four-day event to deliberate on the conservation strategies for the region. We envisage that event will also build new partnerships and enhance existing ones with our conservation like-minded stakeholders. 

The conference will project Malaysia and Sarawak in particular, as the destination that not only appreciates cultural harmonies and embraces societal inclusivity, but also has strong commitments towards biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability. 

Forests provide the people with clean air, water, food and medicines. Photo © Zora Chan / WWF-Malaysia 

Our water catchments must be holistically managed to ensure clean water provision for all. 
Photo © Zora Chan / WWF-Malaysia 

WWF-Malaysia Associate Director for Sarawak and Conservation Science Dr Jason Hon. 
Photo © WWF-Malaysia 

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