INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY 2023
19 APRIL 2023
The severity of the planet’s current climate calls for a stronger emphasis on environmental protection. Despite Malaysia’s past and current efforts in preserving nature and the environment, various forms of pollution, together with human-induced disasters such as illegal poaching and deforestation, still remain serious challenges for the country.
These disastrous effects can be seen with the extinction of animals and environmental degradation. In 2019, Malaysia lost its last Sumatran rhinoceros while the Malayan Tiger and various other species of animals and plants were placed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species under the endangered category. This is alarming as our wildlife plays an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, simultaneously ensuring that our planet remains protected and healthy.
The deterioration of our planet’s health does not only negatively affect our flora and fauna but also humankind. Climate change severely impacts our coasts and cities as seen with the rising sea levels and increasing temperatures which in turn directly and indirectly, affects our country’s agriculture and food supply, housing, welfare and human health.
Hence, in addition to the on-going efforts in preserving Malaysia’s wildlife and forests, investment in green technologies and adoption of a circular economy, more efforts must be made to promote and practise sustainability within its general populace. A whole-of-nation approach is crucial in the continuous efforts to protect the environment.
In conjunction with the International Mother Earth Day celebrated on 22nd April, Institut Masa Depan Malaysia (MASA) calls on the government to keep to its pledge of maintaining 50 per cent of its land areas as forest cover as pledged during the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (Rio+20). The government must also ensure that all gazetted national parks are preserved and protected due to the fact that nature and climate related risks are closely related and can be manifested in physical, transitional and liability risk.
According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Annual Report 2022, Malaysia is expected to lose 6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030 due to adverse impacts from the damage of the country’s forestry and fisheries ecosystems.
MASA’s calls are in line with one of the objectives of the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) to strengthen environmental governance by improving policy and legislation and strengthening of the local authorities and adopting a circular economy towards achieving a systematic shift for long-term resilience. This is aimed at eliminating unsustainable consumption and production practices that could lead to environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. This is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 17 (SDG 17) which calls for strengthening the means of implementation and revitalising the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
We must always uphold our respect for “perfect equilibrium” of nature and fulfill our moral obligation in conserving our planet for our future generations.
Happy International Mother Earth Day 2023.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN
Chief Executive Officer
Institut Masa Depan Malaysia