GEORGE CITY: Bukit Bendera received today a certificate of recognition as a biosphere reserve site under the “Man and the Biosphere (MAB)” program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific Organization and culture (UNESCO).
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA), in a statement issued today, said that UNESCO on September 15 last year recognized Bukit Bendera with an area of 12,481 hectares as the third site of Malaysia Biosphere Reserve for the country.
“Bukit Bendera is one of 727 biosphere reserve sites in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and this recognition reflects the commitment of the country in general and the government of Penang State in particular.
“A shared commitment to creating a balance between the care of natural resources and development activities through a sustainable development approach while being able to raise the profile of the site as an area of international importance and a center of excellence in matter of learning,” he said in a statement today.
KeTSA said Malaysia’s participation in the MAB program began in 2009 with the recognition of Tasik Chini, Pahang as the first biosphere reserve site in Malaysia with an area of 6,922.97 hectares on May 26, 2009.
According to Ketsa’s statement, the Crocker Range in Sabah was recognized as the second biosphere reserve site in Malaysia on June 12, 2014 covering an area of 350,584 hectares.
KeTSA hopes that the declaration of Bukit Bendera as a Biosphere Reserve site under this UNESCO MAB program will inspire other state governments to designate areas with potential as Sites of International Biodiversity Importance. .
“The MAB program was launched in 1971 by UNESCO. MAB is an intergovernmental scientific program aimed at establishing a scientific basis for creating a balance between human activities and environmental sustainability,” the statement said.
KeTSA also said that it combines elements of nature, social science, economics and education with the aim of improving human living standards and protecting natural ecosystems.
The MAB program promotes innovative economic development that does not conflict with socio-culture and at the same time the environment is managed in a sustainable manner, according to the statement.
According to the declaration, a biosphere reserve is a site created by a country and recognized under the MAB program to promote sustainable development through the efforts of local people and scientific research.
“Established biosphere reserves have functions for conservation, development and logistical support purposes, as prescribed by the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. To date, there are a total of 727 biosphere reserve sites in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) which covers 131 countries,” he said. — Bernama