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The Living Landscapes Approach - a Model to Halt and Reverse Biodiversity Loss

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia must update its national biodiversity strategies and action plans in alignment with the global goal of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, as agreed in the recent Kunming-Montreal Agreement. 

On 19 December 2022 at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), 196 countries including Malaysia agreed to four goals and 23 targets in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

Due to delays brought on by the COVID pandemic, the agreement was adopted two years later than anticipated. 

The goals include to conserve at least 30% of land, freshwater and ocean globally by 2030, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and recognizing the contributions of indigenous and traditional territories towards the target’s tally.

“It is crucial to translate these ambitious goals into our national plans and policies, to commensurate with the scale of the nature crisis,” said WWF-Malaysia Conservation Director Dr Henry Chan. 

WWF applauds the adoption of the agreement but warns that the goal of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 could be undermined if weak language in critical areas such as the protection of intact ecosystems and tackling unsustainable production and consumption is not addressed at the national level.

In line with the global deal to reverse nature by 2030, Dr Henry highlighted that the Living Landscapes Approach (LLA) is crucial to preventing habitat loss. 

“By conserving wildlife, we are ensuring that future generations can enjoy our natural world and the incredible species that live within it,” he added.

In line with the overarching aim of the GBF for people “to live in harmony with nature” by 2050, Sabah sets an example for harmonious coexistence with wildlife.

“As a result of LLA, a jurisdictional approach to sustainable oil palm production was taken by the Sabah government with a goal in mind: reaching 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification of all its palm oil by 2025,” said Chief Conservator of Forests, Sabah Forestry Department, Datuk Frederick Kugan.

The state-level target is also supported by the national policy to enforce a mandatory Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification of all palm oil in Malaysia. 

Both Henry and Frederick were part of a panel of speakers at the side event “Showcasing the Living Landscapes Approach” hosted recently by WWF at COP15 in Montreal, Canada.

The panel discussion brought together speakers from the government, the private sector and businesses to highlight the LLA as a model of innovative nature-based solutions to protect biodiversity in balance with economic development.

Moderated by the CEO of WWF-UK, Tanya Steele, other speakers include Director of Sustainable Trade Finance and Alternate Distribution, HSBC, NL Swaroop and WWF Global Palm Oil Lead, Kamal Seth.

The session also heard recorded speeches from Group Managing Director, Sawit Kinabalu, Datuk Bacho Jansie and CEO of Sabah Softwoods Berhad, Datuk Haji Mohd Daud Tampokong who both shared about their respective conservation efforts, in line with the implementation of LLA in Sabah.

Adopted by WWF-Malaysia, LLA is a conservation strategy that balances biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. 

With its three areas referred to as the three pillars of Protect, Produce and Restore, LLA aims to protect forests, wildlife and freshwater ecosystems, support the sustainable production of palm oil through certification, and restoration of forests by establishing wildlife corridors. 

Link to the recorded session here.

Photo (c) WWF-Malaysia

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