Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
Target 1: By 2025, more Malaysians are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably. ()
In keeping with Malaysia’s commitment to conserving its biological diversity, the Malaysian government has set the national biodiversity Target 1 to raise awareness across all segments of society, nurture youth participation as well as engagement with legislature and judiciary. Creating public awareness across the country to drive community behavioural change is the foremost step in order to address biodiversity loss. Through a better understanding of its values, Malaysians will be more motivated to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably.
Target 2: By 2025, the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society and the private sector to the conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity have increased significantly. ()
Securing greater buy-in of the conservation agenda requires the engagement of all segments of society in building a broader constituency for biodiversity conservation. Therefore, mobilizing Malaysians to value and take actions on biodiversity is critical. The Malaysian government recognizes the importance of partnerships in biodiversity conservation and the implementation of the NPBD. To sustain the awareness-raising campaign, the recognition, support, and empowerment of key stakeholders especially the indigenous peoples and local communities (ILCs), the civil society, and private sector on biodiversity conservation is required. The successful implementation of the NPBD is contingent on the commitment of these stakeholders through participatory and inclusive process in decision-making.
Target 3: By 2025, biodiversity conservation has been mainstreamed into national development planning and sectoral policies and plans. ()
Biodiversity conservation has traditionally been the domain of the environment sector. The notion of mainstreaming biodiversity began to contextualize in 2008 when the Common Vision on Biodiversity was published to explain the concept, importance and ways to embed biodiversity into Malaysian policies, plans or programmes. Recognizing that biodiversity underpins the economic growth and social wellbeing, Target 3 aims to promote biodiversity mainstreaming by embedding into national and state development planning and sectoral polices; recognizing the economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services; protecting environmentally sensitive areas; and promoting sustainable consumption and production.
Target 4: By 2025, our production forests, agriculture production and fisheries are managed and harvested sustainably. ()
The sustainable management and use of natural resources are equally crucial in achieving biodiversity conservation objectives. The forestry, agriculture and fisheries sector are important sub-sectors in Malaysia and plays a significant role in the national economy. They are also a source of employment, foreign exchange and a source of protein for the Malaysian particularly the rural population. A healthy natural ecosystem underpins the growth of the primary industries thus effort to promote sustainable management of the natural resources and preserve the ecosystem and its biodiversity is at the interest of the nation’s economy. The emphasis for Target 4 is the drive towards sustainable primary production in the forestry, agriculture and fisheries sector.
Target 5: By 2025, tourism is sustainably managed and promotes biodiversity conservation. ()
In Malaysia, tourism is the third largest source of foreign income after the manufacturing and palm oil industries. Target 5 calls for the identification and mitigation of tourism impacts on biodiversity; promote green guide certification; and engage indigenous peoples and local communities in developing tourism sustainably.
Target 6: By 2025, at least 20% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through a representative system of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. ()
The PA network is an indispensable tool to preserve our rich biodiversity and ecosystem services. Thus, the Government has made a commitment to increase the coverage and representativeness of the existing PAs. Increasingly, the focus is also given to improve the management effectiveness of the existing PAs. Aside from serving the main purpose of biodiversity conservation, these conserved areas offer socio-economic benefits to the indigenous and local communities (ILCs) through ecotourism, agriculture and bioprospecting. Protected areas have long been established in Malaysia (beginning with the Chior Wildlife Reserve in 1903), and over the years the number of protected areas established and managed by various governance structures
Target 7: By 2025, vulnerable ecosystems and habitats, particularly limestone hills, wetlands, coral reefs and seagrass beds, are adequately protected and restored. ()
Examples of vulnerable ecosystems in Malaysia include mangrove, coral reefs, seagrass beds, limestone forest, caves, riverine habitats peat swamp and wetlands. These ecosystems harbour valuable biodiversity, some of which have a narrow distributional range, demonstrate high site-affinity and is highly endemic. Despite its ecological importance, there might be inadequate representation of such vulnerable ecosystems in current protected area network. Target 7 was established to identify and map these vulnerable ecosystems, enhance its management and rehabilitation, and also call for better protection of peatlands via strengthened implementation of the National Action Plan on Peatlands.
Target 8: By 2025, important terrestrial and marine ecological corridors have been identified, restored and protected. ()
To mitigate the effects of rapid development and urbanization, the government embarked on large scale project to restore ecological connectivity restoration of its landscapes and seascapes. In Peninsular Malaysia, the National Physical Plan (NPP) which guides spatial planning, has espoused ecological connectivity through the Central Forest Spine (CFS) Initiative. In Sabah and Sarawak, the trilateral Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative aims to connect the forests of Borneo through sustainable land use. In the marine environment, Malaysia is a part of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), a network of transboundary collaboration among six countries within the Coral Triangle for coral reef preservation and marine ecological connectivity.
Target 9: By 2025, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status has been improved and sustained. ()
Besides addressing the pressures of species loss, focus on actively conserving and managing species and genetic diversity is essential. Key wildlife legislations include the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which was passed to repeal the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 in Peninsular Malaysia. The Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (amended in 2002 and 2016) and the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 (amended 2008) are applicable in Sabah and Sarawak respectively. To prevent illicit international wildlife trade, the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 has been implemented in compliance towards the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) obligations. For aquatic species, Fisheries Regulation (Control of the Endangered Fish Species) 1999 of the Fisheries Act 1985 is the key legislation for protected marine species. Target 9 focuses on conserving threatened species through assessment of conservation status, enhance the protection of flora and fauna, and ex-situ conservation programmes to restore populations of threatened species.
Target 10: By 2025, illegal harvesting and illegal trade of wildlife, fish and plants are under control and significantly reduced. ()
Malaysia’s rich biodiversity is threatened by the compounding effect of habitat loss and poaching which fuel the illegal wildlife trade. Federal legislation that governs the import and export of wildlife are the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (also known as the CITES Act) and the Customs Act 1967. Target 10 seeks to reinforce the monitoring and enforcement measures which move in tandem with public awareness programmes to reduce poaching and trade of threatened wildlife and plants.
Target 11: By 2025, invasive alien species and pathways are identified, priority species controlled, and measures are in place to prevent their introduction and establishment. ()
Invasive alien species (IAS) are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health. Increasing travel, shipping and trade, and tourism associated with globalization and expansion of the human population have facilitated the intentional and unintentional movement of species beyond natural biogeographical barriers, and many of these alien species have become invasive. In Malaysia, IAS control is predominantly directed to the agriculture and commodity sector with relatively small emphasis on its impact on local biodiversity. The National Committee on Invasive Alien Species was established to implement and deliberate on IAS management. Target 11 strives to control the establishment and spread of IAS through an integrated approach of research, education and awareness; as well as strengthening inspection and control at the border.
Target 12: By 2025, a comprehensive biosafety system inclusive of a liability and redress regime is operational to manage potential adverse impacts of modern biotechnology on biodiversity and human health. ()
Malaysia ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) in September 2003 and has immediately taken steps to ensure that a regulatory framework for biosafety is in place to undertake all the other obligations encompassed within the CPB. The Malaysian Biosafety Act 2007 was approved with the main objectives to protect human, plant and animal health, the environment and biological diversity, by regulating the release, importation, exportation and contained use of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), and the release of products of such organisms. The Act came into force on 1 December 2009. This was followed by the Biosafety (Approval and Notification) Regulations 2010 on 1 November 2010 to implement the Act.
Target 13: By 2025, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives is adequately conserved. ()
Agricultural biodiversity is a vital component of food security and sustainable agriculture. Malaysia is rich in agricultural biodiversity and in tree species along with their genetic resources. However, environmental degradation and land-use change may have caused irreversible impacts on species genetic diversity. Malaysia has adopted the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) at the International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources in 1996. Monitoring and periodical assessment on the implementation of GPA and its related activities are fundamental to conserve and sustainable utilization of PGRFA in the future. As a result, the National Strategies and Action Plans on Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation (NSAP-ABCSU) was launched in 2012 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MOA) as a framework to protect the genetic diversity of cultivated plants; and farmed and domesticated animals as well as its wild relatives. The NSAP-ABSCU also include the arthropod and microbial genetic resources, as important players which contribute to food and agriculture sectors. Target 13 is formulated to drive the implementation of the NSAP-ABCSU. The NSAP-ABCSU aims to create awareness among policymakers and the public, increase capacity building, enhance research and development on conservation and utilization, improve in-situ and ex-situ conservation and strengthen policy and regulations on the conservation of agricultural biodiversity.
Target 14: By 2025, Malaysia has an operational ABS framework that is consistent with the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation. ()
As a biological resource-rich country, Malaysia plays a pivotal role in the negotiation of Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and issues emerging from ABS such as Digital Sequence Information of Genetic Resources (DSI). Malaysia acceded to the Nagoya Protocol in November 2018, following the introduction of the Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing Act 2017. At the national level, an effective ABS law and its regulations are at the final stage of preparation to enable implementation of the ABS regime. Hence, Target 14 pertains to the development and operationalization of a national framework on ABS; capacity building and awareness-raising, and the documentation of traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities (ILCs).
Target 15: By 2025, capacity for the implementation of the national and subnational biodiversity strategies, the CBD and other related MEAs has significantly increased. ()
Malaysia is party to various biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Ramsar Convention. Target 15 involves strengthening the capacity to implement the MEAs at the federal and state level; enhancing coordination between federal and state agencies; as well as improving legislation and encouraging international cooperation.
Target 16: By 2025, knowledge and the science base relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are significantly improved and applied. ()
Sound evidence-based scientific insights are the prerequisites of effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Science must be applied to inform decision-making to meet the growing challenges that Malaysia faces in achieving its conservation goals. Biodiversity, water, and environment issues are specified as the Mega Science Agenda by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia. Target 16 seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of research on Malaysia’s biodiversity, establish comprehensive databases and monitoring programmes, improve our knowledge on the link between climate change and biodiversity and improve the interface and communication between science and policy.
Target 17: By 2025, there is a significant increase in funds and resources mobilised for the conservation of biodiversity from both government and non-government sources. ()
Mobilizing financial resources for conservation investments is crucial to address the direct and indirect pressures on biodiversity and to drive conservation efforts. Globally, it is estimated that the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity is valued at around USD 740 billion per annum. Like many countries, the majority of biodiversity finance in Malaysia is largely being generated through traditional sources of finance namely government budget allocations, official development assistance (ODA), corporate CSR and philanthropy. However, there is limited understanding of how existing financing is contributing to desirable biodiversity outcomes. Target 17 aims to improve resource mobilization for biodiversity through i. improving the utilization of the existing funding mechanism; ii. Scale-up National Conservation Trust Funds; iii. Explore and implement new and innovative financing mechanisms and iv. Diversify state governments’ revenue streams.
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
TARGET 1 BIODIVERSITY AWARENESS
Target 1: By 2025, more Malaysians are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
In keeping with Malaysia’s commitment to conserving its biological diversity, Target 1 was envisioned to raise awareness across all segments of society, nurture youth participation as well as engagement with legislature and judiciary. Behaviour change across all segments of society is crucial to address the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss. Hence, improving public awareness across the country is vital to account for the value and promote sustainable use of biodiversity.
Action 1.1 Create awareness across all segments of society
Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programmes are usually carried out to promote awareness on biodiversity issues to the public. Such programmes are usually embedded in the annual plans of related government agencies and organized in partnership with the private sector and NGOs. Among the biodiversity awareness activities implemented include environmental camps, nature walks, talks, exhibitions, quizzes, workshops, seminars, tree-planting, and radio shows especially in conjunction with commemorative events such as International Day of Forest (21 March), Earth Day (22 April), World Environment Day (5 June), World Wetlands Day (2 February), World Oceans’ Day (8 June).
To complement these activities, key biodiversity agencies maintain nature education and interpretation centres (Table 4) to educate the public. Several local NGOs have also taken initiative to create similar nature education centres. For example, MNS maintains a network of Environmental Education Centres across Peninsular Malaysia in both urban and natural settings to promote awareness and engage the public in environmental discussions. This includes the FRIM-MNS Nature Education Centre in Kepong, Ecocare Environmental Education Centre in Kerteh, Environment Interpretive Centre in Sepang, Urban Environment Education Hub in Kuala Lumpur, the BOH Nature Study Centre in Cameron Highlands, and Belum Discovery Centre.
Table 4: List of Education Centre/ Interpretive Centre maintained by key biodiversity agencies.
No. of Education / Interpretation Centre
Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)
Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM)
Department of Fisheries (DOF)