Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Existing Legislative, Administrative and Policy Framework for the Mangrove Biodiversity Management & Conservation in Malaysia

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Existing Legislative, Administrative and Policy Framework for the Mangrove Biodiversity Management & Conservation in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

The pertinent roles of mangroves have been clearly recognised particularly after the 2004 tsunami. Lots of interests have been created on the importance of sustainable management of mangrove biodiversity, which plays an important role to the environment as well as in the socio-economic growth in coastal zones. As the world's fifth largest, Malaysian mangroves are facing threats from anthropogenic activities such as deforestation, aquaculture, pollution run off and land development. A signatory to both the Convention of Biological Diversity and UNCLOS, Malaysia has to develop national strategies, plans and programmes by taking legislative, administrative and policy (LAP) measures for the conservation and sustainable use of mangrove biodiversity outlined by these two conventions. Sustainable management of mangrove biodiversity requires proper and effective LAP framework including clear allotment of jurisdictional boundaries between the various departments involved. The existing LAP framework in the management of mangrove biodiversity was examined where three problems were found to hinder the sustainable management of mangrove biodiversity in Malaysia namely the unclear policies, segmented laws and overlapping administrative jurisdictions. These problems collectively contribute to the insufficiency of the existing LAP framework to provide for the sustainable management of mangrove biodiversity in Malaysia.

Keywords: Malaysia, Mangrove biodiversity, Legislation, Policy, Administration

1. Introduction

Mangroves are essential constituent in coastal ecosystems with various ecological functions: buffer between sea and land; filtering system to protect coastal land by trapping debris and silt; nutrient filterer and producer; habitat to more than 1,300 species of flora and fauna; sources of wood; and other aesthetic values. Ecosystems can be divided into two: terrestrial and aquatic. Within the terrestrial ecosystems, forests are the major repository of biological diversity in almost over 90% (Grime, 1997). The aquatic ecosystems include both freshwater and marine environment such as coral reefs and coastal mangroves. Mangrove ecosystems are unique in the sense that they can be both terrestrial and aquatic: terrestrial because of the forests and aquatic because of the location in the coastal zones as well as the wetland status. The pertinent roles of mangrove have been clearly recognised particularly after the 2004 tsunami, which has consequentially created lots of interests on the importance of sustainable management of mangrove biodiversity (Jusoff and Taha, 2008).

The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), which was adopted during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and came into force in 1993, establishes an integrated web of obligations on countries to conserve biological diversity, to use components of biodiversity in a sustainable way and to share the benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources. These obligations are derived from the objectives of CBD provided under Article 1, which are aimed to pursue firstly, the conservation of biological diversity; secondly, the sustainable use of its components; and thirdly, the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding. As a state party to CBD, Malaysia is obligated to develop national strategies, plans and programmes by taking legislative, administrative and policy (LAP) measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources and diversity. For a country like Malaysia, which is one of the 12 mega-biodiversity countries of the world, an integrated approach to conservation is necessary to develop cornerstone biodiversity conservation. Mega-diverse countries are highly rich in environmental and natural resources and these 12 mega-diverse countries, according to EPU (2009), contribute about 75% of the world biological diversity. …

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