Sabah to host 2nd Asia Parks Congress in May

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will play host to the 2nd Asia Parks Congress in May, with the event's outcome expected to set the agenda for the region's protected and conserved areas for the following 10 years.

At least 1,000 Malaysian and international participants are expected to attend the hybrid congress to be held at Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here from May 24-29.

Held in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Asia Protected Areas Partnership (Apap), it will be hosted through the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and its agency Sabah Parks.

"We expect participants from around 40 countries in Asia, but it will probably be more than that as participation is not necessarily from Asia alone, especially online from around the world.

"We anticipate around 500 participants to attend physically and 500 virtually," Sabah Parks director Dr Maklarin Lakim told a press conference for the congress on Friday (Nov 26).

He said the organisers were seeking the participation of protected area practitioners, civil society, indigenous people's groups, private sector, academicians and research institutes in an effort to have rich and diverse discussions.

Meanwhile, state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the theme for the congress will be "Parks for Nature and People", highlighting the connection between nature and society.

"Building on our successes during the 1st Asia Parks Congress in Sendai, Japan in 2013, this event will address important conservation issues facing the region today," he said in his speech delivered by his Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Among the topics and issues are nature-based solutions for health and well-being; governance of protected and conserved areas; and connectivity and trans-boundary conservation.

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