Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sabah government gets WWF award for largest marine park

KOTA KINABALU: Global conservation organisation WWF yesterday presented its prestigious Leaders for a Living Planet Award to the state government in recognition of its effort to create the largest marine park in Malaysia.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said the State Government was deeply honoured to receive the award which was presented by WWF-Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma at the Chief Minister’s office conference room in Wisma Innoprise.

Musa said part of Sabah’s great strength lies in the richness of the natural resources contained within the lush forests and bountiful seas.

The proposal to gazette Tun Mustapha Park will pave the way for conservation of a significant ecosystem and coastline, he said, adding the Sabah Government has long recognised the importance of conserving the seas surrounding its coastlines.

“We are committed towards efforts to protect our seas and terrestrial landscapes, as reflected in the State’s Halatuju and Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

“In developing Sabah, we strive for a balanced and sustainable economic development, not to be at the expense of the environment.

“I wish to thank WWF for according Sabah Government this recognition and will strive to fulfill its objectives,” he said.

The proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) represents almost one million hectares of marine protected area off the north coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The park will encompass 50 islands and will protect one of the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems.

WWF has launched a major global effort to emphasize the value of coastal marine resources to hundreds of millions of people around the world and to strengthen marine conservation.

As part of this initiative, WWF pledged full support to the state government of Sabah for the designation of the park and to help secure the funding required to ensure its effective management once created.

“The gazettement of Tun Mustapha Park is a globally significant action that will boost the conservation and biodiversity of this uniquely rich natural environment. It will also do much to ensure the sustainable management of the significant marine resources in the area, for the long-term benefit of the more than 80,000 people living on the coast and islands in the proposed park,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.