An interesting article on Malaysia.

penang-hill-unesco

June 11 will go down as a memorable day for Penang as the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve received its recognition certificate after being listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) under its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme last year.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Datuk Ali Biju presented the certificate to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow during the certificate handover ceremony at the Penang Hill upper station yesterday.

PHBR is the state’s second accolade from Unesco after George Town was accorded the Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2008.

Chow, when he announced the official Unesco listing for PHBR last year on Sept 16, said the approval came during the 33rd Session of the Man and Biosphere Programme International Coordinating Council (MAB-ICC) which was held in Abuja, Nigeria on Sept 15.

“With this recognition, the state government is determined to make Penang Hill and its surroundings the preferred eco-tourism destination for visitors, while creating a world-class learning site to explore and illustrate methods of conservation and sustainable development.

“I am confident with PHBR being managed by the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) and supported by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA), our sustainable forest resource management will only get better.

“This also includes the preservation and conservation of our nature.

“Also, not to forget the coordinated efforts and collaboration with The Habitat Group, learned academics from the Universiti Sains Malaysia and the various state and federal agencies,” Chow said during his speech.

It is learned that a PHBR office would be set up soon to initiate the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve Action Plan (PHBRAP), while managing other important matters.

PHBR encompasses three major ecosystems, namely the terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems.

It spans an area of 12,481 hectares, covering Penang Hill, Penang National Park, Penang Botanic Gardens, Teluk Bahang Dam, Air Itam Dam, and six permanent forest reserves which are Bukit Kerajaan Forest Reserve, Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve, Laksamana Forest Reserve, Penara Hill Forest Reserve, Highlands Forest Reserve and Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve as well as several water catchment areas on Penang island.

Meanwhile, Ali congratulated Penang and the relevant agencies involved in the much-deserved Unesco listing for PHBR.

“I believe collective efforts from various parties have helped make this recognition possible.

“This type of international recognition is not only something that brings pride to our country, but it shows how committed we are towards achieving biodiversity conservation and supporting our country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This PHBR recognition will certainly play a crucial role in attracting more tourists to Penang while enhancing the state’s economy,” he added.

Ali said that recently, KeTSA had approved an allocation of RM192,810 under the Biodiversity National Conservation Trust Fund for Natural Resources (NCTF) for PHC to expedite documentation works for PHBR.

PHC general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said the recognition was the start of a super exciting journey ahead with all the parties involved.

“While there may be challenges along the way, I am sure the rewards will bring many smiles to everyone.

“We will continue to work hard to protect Penang’s biodiversity, heritage and culture, which we cannot afford to lose.

“The responsibility of protecting and conserving PHBR lies with everybody who utilises the natural resources and enjoys the natural assets of Penang,” he said.

Also, during the ceremony, PHBR’s new logo was unveiled.

Source: Buletin Mutiara

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