Friday, April 9, 2010

KERA - Key Environmental Result Areas

The Prime Minister had identified 6 Key Result Areas (KRA) – covering poverty eradication, public transport, crime reduction, etc). None of them (except perhaps the public transport) have much to do with environmental and natural resources management. Environment is obviously not very high on the priority list – but you can’t blame Najib for this because most voters would prefer to see the rate crime reduced compared to protecting some rhinoceros or elephants. Untill a vast majority of the people give priority to protecting the environment, don’t expect the politicians to give much focus to this sector.

Nevertheless, Planet of the Monyets, being the busybody as usual, has come up with 10 Key Environmental Result Areas (KERAs – not to be confused with kera which is a small monyet). I hope that folks at MONRE or EPU will read this and perhaps incorporate some of the stuff into the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Increased the extent of protected areas in the country to 20% of the land area by 2015. The current extent is about 12%. Many previous studies and plans have already identified key areas that require protection – it now left to the various state governments to gazette them. It is also important to ensure a wide range of ecosystems are protected (not only highland forests). Financial support (non-partisan, please) from the Federal government is crucial as protecting these areas will deprive state governments of substantial revenue. (note : Thailand and Cambodia have PA ratio of 21.2% and 23.5% respectively).

Increased the total area of forest operations that is FSC certified from the current 203,842 hectares to 500,000 hectares by 2015. This is not very difficult – many forest concessions in Sabah have started the process and if their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak can do their bit, achieving this should not be a problem.

Establish at least one (yes, only one) wildlife corridor (identified in the Central Forest Spine study by JPBD) by 2015. There are many ecological corridors needed in the country and establishing them will prove challenging in terms of resources needed, social and political hurdles, etc. So that is why I am proposing just one corridor for the time being.

Increase the percentage of renewable energy (excluding conventional hydro) to the total energy supply in the country to 10% by 2020. I think the government has a target of 5% now - which I think is too low. Need to work a bit harder on solar energy, microhydros and biomass. At the same time, we need to really work on improving energy efficiency across all sectors.

Achieve a solid waste recycling rate of 20% by 2020. With the new solid waste management act and the Jabatan Pengurusan Sisa Pepejal Negara, the government has signaled that it is serious about managing waste. However, we need bite the bullet and start enforcing recycling. Encouragement and awareness-raising is not enough. We simply cannot afford to continue building more and more landfills and incinerators. Just go and learn how Singapore is doing it. Singapore current recycling rate is 56% of all waste and is planning to raise the rate to 65% by 2020 and 70% by 2030.

Increase the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified crude palm oil to 1,500,000 metric tonnes by 2015 and the number of RSPO certified mills to 50. This is also relatively easy to do if the Government applies the right pressures and incentives. The current number is 20 mills and 761,582 metric tonnes. Palm oil is a very important revenue earner for the country and is facing tremendous pressure to improve its environmental performance. This KERA is necessary to save our palm oil industry.

Clean up 1 (yes, 1 only) river by 2020. Despite all the talk and so many studies, we have failed miserably in this area. Improving river water quality is difficult, very difficult because it requires controlling pollution from in the entire catchment. This involves various agencies and industry types, not to mention thousands of houses, shops, factories, plantations, etc, etc. Just pick 1 river and start cracking. And for goodness sake, stop this nonsense about throwing mudballs all over the place.

Increase the number of environmental personnel in the government to 1 to 10,000 population by 2015. I think the current rate is about 1 to 14,000 persons (DOE, NREB and EPD combined) – which means that we have to employ about 1,000 personnel between now and 2015. The numbers are needed to enforce the numerous legislations, oversee pollution control, and educate industry and the public. At the same time, there is an obvious need to boost the staff force at the wildlife and forestry departments.

Establish the Malaysian EcoLabelling Scheme by 2015. This scheme is necessary to promote sustainable consumption and production. Our neighbours (Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam and Singapore) have all established this scheme several years ago – so no reason why we can’t do it? May be one day, these schemes can be merged to become the ASEAN Ecolabelling Scheme.

Promulgate and gazette, by 2015, key environmental legislations / amendments that are vital to tackle some of urgent environment and biodiversity related issues in the country. These include (i) Marine Parks Act; (ii) Access and Benefit Sharing Act; (iii) regulations to control non-point sources of pollution (iv) amend the Federal Constitution to allow greater share of government revenue to states.

I look forward to hearing from you if there are other key areas that should be included or whether the above KERAs need to be modified.

Monyet King also says
1. I actualy posted this last year. I thought it is a good idea to repost the article now (also partly because I am too lazy to write something new today)

2. Protect the kera from the KERA

3. Jangan jadi seperti kera kena belacan.



mh said...

Dr Bala, Didn't know your blog last year so thank you for this pragmatic & thought provoking post!Love the clean up 1 river & 1wildlife corridoor on the central spine(gazette & protect it this core zone). The mudballs with effective microorganisms work in cleansing fouled & putrid, still water sections of rivers, streams & drains. I have my reservations about your conservative proposal on the oil palm. National over dependence on oil palm while we bleed away our wealth of natural resources is rapidly impoverishing us & future generations in more than mere economic areas alone. So I commend you on the keras'mostly...:)

semuanya OK kot said...

Thanks for the info. that our protected areas is 12%. Unfortunately, this is worth @#&*;# because (a) the states can change the status of an area on a whim, and have frequently done so in secret (b) protection of these areas is a joke - just visit one of our protected islands or look around you on our more remote highways if you are unconvinced.

The NEAC claimed in its unofficial (repeat, strictly unofficial to date) report on NEM that our forests are 60% of land area. I wonder if anyone can provide these %:
- Virgin forest, with portion for wetlands and peat soil.
- Secondary forest
- Rubber and oil palm plantations, with portion for peat soil
- Bare or abandoned (not replanted)
- Other (developed including fields)

kelvin said...

In Sarawak's case, I don't it's so much of increasing the FSC certified forest concessions. It's more about 'who' will be processing this certification. For instance, the existing MTCC areas, are already disputed area between the local communities and timber concessions.

Also, using the same timber company, that robbed their land in the first place for instance, to work on the certification process in the area is something that many locals find strange and almost insulting. Principles #2 and #3 of FSC have already been breached by the companies and state governments, and some cases are still pending in court. Now they want to certify sustainable timber products from the same area? What good would that do to the communities?

I'd say, first solve the issues of issuing timber concessions to timber companies with a tarnished record, acknowledge of local communities' rights to the land and its resources, resolve the existing cases such as sexual harassment, etc. before any certification processes can be carried out.

I think the same can be applied to the KERA6 as well, in regards to certification, as the same timber companies are also into the palm oil business.tat

wilykat said...

The kera kena belacan photo is adorable. That, you didnt have in your article last year.


Monyet King said...

Everyone, thanks your comments and insights. There are obvious problems in many aspects of environmental management in the country that we need to work on.

Wilykat, I wonder if anyone has really seen a kera kena belacan ?