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UM AND WWF-Malaysia Leads Towards Sustainable Biodiversity and Ecosystem Development in Malaysia

by Shah Farouq

Universiti Malaya (UM) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Malaysia have inked their first long-term collaboration on the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development in Malaysia. 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides a framework for the collaboration between Universiti Malaya and WWF-Malaysia towards increasing awareness and knowledge database; that will contribute to conservation and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, and sustainable development in Malaysia

Signing ceremony between UM and WWF Malaysia

At a ceremony, Professor Ir. Dr. Shaliza Ibrahim, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Universiti Malaya said that the MoU will create a platform that launches collaborations, pursues outstanding research, and boosts the emergence of new knowledge.

WWF-Malaysia’s Marine Programme also collaborated with the Malaysia Society of Marine Science (MSMS) for a series of Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Expert Group Consultation Workshop to identify MyIMCA – Malaysian Important Marine and Coastal Area, with many of its key participating members from Universiti Malaya. Further engagements are expected in the coming months with the roundtable discussion and conferences.

“I hope this MoU will serve as a bridge to commemorate the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration and friendship that will shape a brighter shared future.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Shaliza Ibrahim (left) with Sophia Lim (right) at the MoU signing ceremony

“Our collaboration with WWF-Malaysia started with the Marine Programme, who first engaged Universiti Malaya as we are part of a research capacity-building programme called Blue Communities that involved building capacity for sustainable interactions with the marine ecosystem in Tun Mustapha Park (TMP),” said Dr. Shaliza.

She also added that quite a number of research grants have also been awarded to Universiti Malaya researchers in the past few years, respectively funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, the Marine Programme and WWF-Malaysia’s Conservation Partnership Schemes (CPS).

With support from these funding, outstanding research works have been carried out, especially to improve our understanding of sharks and rays’ diversity in Malaysia, which was also highlighted in the media.

Speaking on the collaboration, Executive Director and CEO of WWF-Malaysia, Ms Sophia Lim said that this MoU aims to, among others, promote joint research useful for policy development and management strategies.

The findings from the joint research are then exchanged and shared among the parties, especially on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

“As Universiti Malaya is currently ranked 36th of the world’s most Sustainable University in 2018 for various initiatives in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), WWF-Malaysia is pleased and honoured to embark on this collaboration with them,” she said.

In 2017, WWF-Malaysia also signed an MoU with Universiti Malaya under the UNESCO-HAMDAN Prize (UHP) fund to execute a Living Planet Project together with WWF-Malaysia’s Education for Sustainable Development Programme strategies. 

This MoU represents a partnership between a high-impact research institute and a local conservation organisation, in charting exciting new ways for knowledge expansion, as well as on-the-ground implementation. With research-based and data-informed initiatives, this collaboration brings renewed hope for the conservation of Malaysia’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems.

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