6 Communities Gathered For a Forum on Wetland Rehabilitation and Conservation

64 participants were enriched with much needed knowledge

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Getting dirty for a good reason!

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and Global Environment Centre (GEC) hosted a community forum attended by 64 participants from six communities (from Perak, Johor, Kedah, Melaka and Selangor) on 2nd to 5th August 2022 in Johor.

Entitled Community-based Wetland Management Forum and Study Tour to Johor, the 4D/3N programme aimed to establish a network amongst identified communities involved in wetland rehabilitation and conservation initiatives and empower each other on best management practices as a community-based organisation (CBO).

Johor State Forestry Department Deputy Director, Tuan Abd Ramlizauyahhudin Mahli said, “Collaborations and increased awareness among stakeholders including local communities who live near forest reserves and other protected areas, such wildlife reserves, beach or river protection zones. This further enables and enhances the State Forestry Department’s effort in forest conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable wetland resource management planning.”

In his speech, he welcomes more CBOs and community groups to work together with the State Forestry Department to implement forest restoration, conservation, protection and rehabilitation activities.

GEC’s Director, Faizal Parish believes that community participation is crucial to address environmental issues at global and local scales. Environmental issues are local issues that need to be handled with the participation of all concerned citizens including trained CBOs, at relevant levels. Each trained CBO should have cooperation and access to environmental information held by public authorities and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes for the common good. “The programme provides a platform for the communities to exchange ideas, experience and knowledge to enhance the management and develop systematic operations of CBOs and community groups in their efforts to be the eyes and ears of their nearby forests.”

“I am confident that this effort allows wider exposure for the communities to learn from each other and eventually becoming a model community in wetlands conservation and rehabilitation such as mangroves, peat swamp forests and dam areas,” he added.

“YSD is proud to be able to assist GEC to bring together a group of passionate and like-minded individuals through this very meaningful programme, which serves as an effective platform for in-depth sharing and exchange of best practices on successful wetlands ecosystem restoration, as well as management of its operations. Additionally, YSD is optimistic that all the participants and their respective communities will experience greater benefits and success as the programme empowers them with new ideas, skills and knowledge to further build a more resilient and sustainable livelihood,” expressed Dr Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin, Chief Executive Officer of YSD.

On the second day of the programme, communities planted 1,000 Rhizophora mucronata trees in a degraded mangrove area in Tanjung Surat Island and toured the village to learn about the economic potential that can be developed. On the third day, five community forum sessions on SWOT analysis, managing and administrating CBOs were conducted by GEC as part of the project funded by YSD.

The 4D/3N programme is an initiative under the Community-based Mangrove Conservation and Sustainable Livelihood Programme in Kuala Gula – Kerian and Sitiawan – Manjung, Perak, funded by YSD and implemented by GEC. The six communities who had participated in the programme include:

Pertubuhan Sahabat Hutan Bakau Kuala Gula (Perak)

Pertubuhan Sahabat Hutan Bakau Pasir Panjang Laut (Perak)

Pertubuhan Sahabat Hutan Bakau Pulau Tanjung Surat (Johor)

Komuniti Bakau Kampung Taman Nilam (Kedah)

Komuniti Ayer Pasir (Melaka)

Komuniti Warisan Hutan Sungai Tengi Selatan (Selangor)