Everyone’s job to protect our jungles

(From left) Dr Hum Gurung of BirdLife International, MNS Conservation head Balu Perumal, Datuk Dr Freezailah Che Yeom, Salleh, MNS honorary secretary Stephanie Bacon and Goh at the launch of MY forest.

THE Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) launched the Malaysian implementation of MY forest’s project titled “Strengthening Non-State Actor Involvement in Forest Governance in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.”

MY forest is a high-impact partnership, as it looks at Malaysia’s natural heritage, its forests, and how non-state actors – non-governmental organisations, civil societies, local communities, the private and public sectors – can inform and change policies towards better forest governance.

The project’s target forest areas are the peninsula’s Central Forest Spine, heart of Borneo and selected Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).

Under the five-year project (2017-2021) funded by the European Union, MNS is tasked with building the capacity of non-state actors nationwide to engage more effectively with the government in protecting Malaysia’s forests.

MNS president Henry Goh said Malaysians are aware of the issues affecting the country’s green areas, such as deforestation, fragmentation of forests and destruction of wildlife habitats, which lead to a whole list of problems affecting the country and the people, including floods, landslides, water supply problems and loss of our wildlife species.

He said Malaysians have always looked to the governing authorities to protect the country’s resources, but the project sought to change this mindset by delivering non-governmental participation in protecting the forests.

“One of MNS’ tenets is the promotion of responsible environmental stewardship in Malaysia, and the society truly believes that each and every one of us has a role to play as stewards of our natural heritage,” he said.

Goh called on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), environmental groups, local communities, the public and the media to come together to be part of changing the Malaysian forest landscape, to maintain the country’s green mountains and hills, its clean rivers, its home for tigers and elephants and tapirs.

“We want all Malaysians to be part of it, to look at our natural heritage and proclaim: MY forest, MY wildlife, MY responsibility,” he said.

MY forest was officially launched by former MNS president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, who is currently MNS senior adviser and MY forest adviser.

The launch was followed by the MY forest National Stakeholder Committee inception meeting, which saw the participation of government agencies, 13 NGOs and 10 MNS state branches to plan the way forward for nationwide implementation of MY forest.

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