KOTA KINABALU: Political leaders should include achievable environmental commitments in their party manifestos to protect Sabah's biodiversity, says the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia.
“It is even more important now that we ensure a healthy and resilient recovery for people and nature in Sabah, ” said WWF Malaysia Head of Conservation for Sabah Dr Robecca Jumin.
She said that people are living in an unprecedented time as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected lives and livelihoods.
Dr Robecca added that WWF Malaysia had sent an open letter to all political parties in Sabah last week, outlining six key environmental questions to be addressed in view of the coming state polls.
She said that this includes how leaders can meet the goal of totally protecting 30% of Sabah’s landmass in a way that will also improve the standard of living for local communities.
“What are their plans to spur green growth in Sabah which ensures safeguards for people and nature? How will their party ensure that oil palm production in Sabah is sustainable via certifications, ” said Dr Robecca.
She asked politicians to state their plan to ensure that environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is factored into all major infrastructure and development projects in Sabah so that people and nature can live in harmony
She also asked politicians how they plan to address poaching, taking into consideration that some of those involved are stateless people or living in hardcore poverty.
“How do they plan to continue with the commitment of protecting at least 13% of marine areas in Sabah to ensure a thriving marine biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, ” said Dr Robecca
She also asked politicians to spell out plans to increase the resilience of Sabah’s people, nature and economy in a way that creates jobs for Sabahans in light of a very possible future that includes zoonotic and climate change disasters.
She said a thriving ecosystem and environment as a whole is an integral part of ensuring the wellbeing of the state and its people.
Dr Robecca said that it is with this in mind that WWF-Malaysia is urging political parties and leaders to ensure that their manifestos factor in the key environmental issues that would benefit the environment, communities and the state.
She said it is only through a thriving ecosystem that people can enjoy the benefits from Mother Nature including water, food, shelter, and economic opportunities.
Therefore, a firm commitment to keeping our biodiversity intact is the first step in ensuring sustainable development for Sabah in the long run, she added.
“By informing voters of your aspirations, plans for sustainable development and highlighting the crucial role of biodiversity on the integrity of the state, you will then allow voters to make informed decisions, ” said Dr Robecca.
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