Petaling Jaya, 29 July 2020: GEC is proud to announce our recognition as the Role Model for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), given by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA)under the “Program Penanaman Pokok Bakau dan Spesies-spesies yang Sesuai di Pesisiran Pantai Negara” (National Programme for Planting Mangroves and other Suitable Species on the coast). KeTSA established the Award to appreciate and recognise the commitment and efforts of NGOs under this Programme. It is also a recognition of the partnership amongst various stakeholders in conserving mangroves and addressing climate change issues in Malaysia.
The award was presented to GEC by YB Dato’ Dr. Shamsul Anuar bin Hj. Nasarah, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) during the Celebration of International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystems 2020 at the National Level in Perak on July 26, 2020 at Pusat Eko Pelajaran Hutan Paya Laut Matang, Kuala Sepetang, Perak.
Faizal Parish, Director of GEC said, “GEC is delighted and honoured to receive the Award and we would like to thank the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources for the recognition. We believe in the importance of conserving mangrove forests as they play important roles in conserving biodiversity, mitigating climate and supporting welfare and socio-economy of the local communities.”
“Mangrove ecosystems are one of the most dynamic, yet vulnerable ecosystems on Earth. While hosting a unique biodiversity, they provide key ecosystem services and are a critical source of livelihood for coastal communities. Malaysia is the global centre for mangrove biodiversity with more mangrove tree species that any other country. Unfortunately, mangroves in Malaysia have been significantly degraded over the past 60 years – impacting the biodiversity and welfare of local communities as well as increasing vulnerability to storms, erosion and sea level rise.”
Through a multi-stakeholder partnership approach, GEC has been empowering local communities to protect and restore mangrove forest for the past 15 years. We also develop economic incentives, to encourage local communities to conserve and protect mangrove forest, rather than degrade it. To date, the communities have protected thousands of ha of forest and, with the help of more than 25,000 volunteers, planted more than 300,000 mangrove trees at the degraded areas in 3 states (Johor, Perak and Selangor) with survivability rate of 90% said Nagarajan Rengasamy, Manager of GECs Forest and Coastal Programme. “Alternative livelihood using mangrove resources have also been developed including local handicraft, mangrove products and ecotourism.”
Faizal further stated that “We would like to highlight that GEC alone could not have achieved this without the support from our local communities – the Sahabat Hutan Bakau groups and Sungai Limau community; or funders including Yayasan Sime Darby, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Aramco Asia Singapore, Aramco Overseas Malaysia, Vale Malaysia Minerals, Ericsson Malaysia and our committed partners – the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia, State Forestry Departments and the local authorities, as well as our volunteers. We’ll take this as further inspiration to continue and enhance our effort of promoting sustainable management of our valuable mangroves.”
For the Award of Role Model for NGO, GEC has fulfilled the four criteria as follows: –
- Active participation/involvement in conservation and preservation programs of coastal and coastal mangrove forests with the involvement of community
- Network of cooperation with third parties (private/corporate/educational institutions) in implementing awareness campaigns/conservation and preservation programs of coastal and coastal mangrove forests
- Conservation and preservation programs of coastal and coastal mangrove forests
GEC calls on other stakeholders to support GEC’s ongoing initiatives to conserve mangrove ecosystems, in partnership with local communities, through funding, volunteering or other contributions. We also call on the Malaysian Government to further enhance the protection of mangroves and to allocate more resources to support the actions by local communities living in mangrove areas.