CIMB Islamic Investing in a Sustainable Future for Setiu Wetlands, Terengganu
Making a Difference
Making a difference is now more crucial than ever. This is due to the unprecedented risks to our planet and society as manifested by the degradation of our ecosystems and wildlife habitats, along with catastrophic climate change impacts.
To tackle these challenges and create solutions, we all must play our role and work together. Globally and similarly in Malaysia, corporates and businesses are embracing sustainability values and increasingly creating, engaging and getting involved in collaborative initiatives with various stakeholders.
The finance sector in particular is building up momentum in demonstrating leadership for environmental protection, nature conservation and enhancement of people’s wellbeing. CIMB Islamic Bank is certainly an exemplary model of such leadership in championing, a range of sustainability efforts in Malaysia around strategic green initiatives aimed at safeguarding nature and reducing environmental impacts. Through the partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) that was sealed recently, CIMB Islamic Bank endeavours to scale up its sustainability efforts focused on supporting the sustainable management of Setiu Wetlands, an area of high conservation value of national importance.
CIMB Islamic and WWF-Malaysia Partnership in Setiu Wetlands
Setiu Wetlands is located in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Terengganu. This unique and diverse wetland encompasses freshwater, brackish and marine environments with at least 9 types of inter-connected ecosystems. It is listed as a wetland of national importance in the Malaysian Wetland Directory (1987). It also forms part of Terengganu’s identified secondary ecological linkage under the Central Forest Spine (CFS) Master Plan developed by the Federal Government of Malaysia to help protect the country’s biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The wetlands provide various ecosystem functions and services including flood control, erosion mitigation, nursery ground for juvenile marine fishes and supply of natural resources for the local population’s traditional livelihood. Furthermore, the wetlands also have great potential as an ecotourism destination that can generate economic returns to the local communities and to the State.
All of these are essential in fulfilling human needs, supporting livelihood and as a basis for sustainable development, besides safeguarding biodiversity. Recognizing these roles, maintaining healthy and functioning wetland ecosystems as well as addressing the threats and issues affecting the wetlands are critical to ensure the benefits they provide to both humans and nature can be sustained.
It is encouraging that continuous advocacy by various parties including WWF-Malaysia, the State Government sees the need to afford protection to safeguard the Wetlands. This resulted in the Setiu State Park gazettement in May 2018, initially involving 432ha with larger areas of wetlands to be incorporated in the subsequent four phases. Nevertheless, further degradation of Setiu Wetlands needs to be prevented as over the years, the wetlands and its watershed have experienced progressive conversion to incompatible land uses.
CIMB Islamic Bank has allocated RM1 million, generated from 0.2% of the EcoSave Savings Account-i (“EcoSave”) total average portfolio balance towards this partnership for an initial one-year project, and is renewable annually for up to 3 years. The partnership aims to strengthen the protection and management of Setiu Wetlands in addition to educating and building capacity of local communities to support, participate and drive conservation efforts that can contribute supplemental livelihood to the communities.
Incorporated within the project scope are a range of activities. These activities comprise field assessments on the wetlands biodiversity including a series of scientific expeditions, advocacy and developing effective management tools for the Setiu Wetlands State Park. In addition, activities involving education and awareness, community capacity building through training of trainers and citizen science, and training in ecotourism and 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) concept as well as piloting selected community based ecotourism and upcycling initiatives will also be undertaken.
The project outcomes will contribute to:
- establishing comprehensive knowledge base to support protection and management of Setiu Wetlands;
- enhancing capacity and collaboration among key stakeholders;
- empowering local community with knowledge and practical skills to implement responsible management of natural resources;
- mobilizing initiatives in which revenue streams are generated from sustainable use of the wetlands’ resources and ecosystem services.
Alignment is made to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that forms both the stimulus and framework for the focus and intended outcomes of this project. Of specific relevance are the SDGs 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 16.
Together in this partnership, CIMB Islamic Bank and WWF-Malaysia can meaningfully champion the efforts in bringing about a sustainable future for Setiu Wetlands with tangible and beneficial outcomes for nature and people.
"And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur’an 6:165).
Key messages from the verse:
The verse highlights our responsibility and roles as caretakers and guardians to care and safeguard our planet (essentially relating to stewardship) and warns us of the repercussions if we fail the trials of preserving the trust He has bestowed upon us. The verse also shows us of His vast mercy.