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Environment and Energy

The poor are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and lack of access to clean, affordable energy services. UNDP helps countries strengthen their capacity to address these challenges at the global, national and community levels, seeking out and sharing best practices, providing innovative policy advice and linking partners through pilot projects.

Our Goals
UNDP strengthens national capacity to manage the environment in a sustainable manner to advance poverty reduction efforts. Through our country teams in 135 developing countries, we help our partners build their capacity to integrate environmental considerations into development plans and strategies, establish effective partnerships, secure resources, and implement programmes to support sustainable, low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathways.

Case Study 1:

Locals learn the benefits of environmental protection in Thailand

Tongkam Juathai, a Local Samut Songkhram Resident Says the Initiative Allowed her to Learn from the Experiences and Best Practices of other Communities in Thailand (Photo Undp Thailand)

Over the last several decades, Thailand has seen remarkable economic growth, but at a high social and environmental cost. Rising consumption, industrialization and the intensification of agriculture have placed enormous strain on natural resources. As a result, communities who rely mostly on farming, forestry and fishing for their livelihoods have been adversely affected. But in Samut Songkram, Thailands smallest province, the outlook is good. In spite of strong pressure to industrialize and the threat posed by mass tourism to its traditional life style and unique environment, the province has managed to hold on to its agriculture-based livelihoods, ranking fifth among Thailands 76 provinces in the national Human Development Report. Samut Songkrams success was achieved in part of an innovative programme that helps policy makers better address the problems of environment and poverty in an integrated manner. Launched in 2010 in Thailand, the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) is a joint programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Working together with the Ministry of interior, the initiative supported capacity building for provincial and local government planners and

strengthened community scientific knowledge to support the sustainable use of natural resources in their own locality. People understand better how well-being is linked directly to ecosystems and the surrounding environment, says Pawin Talerngsri, PEI Project Coordinator in Thailand. It allowed us to participate more effectively in the planning of the local community, says Chitchanuwat Maneesrikum, the coordinator of a local NGO. We can now analyze the economic, environmental and social problems and use the information to make better planning decisions. Other provinces, like Samut Songkrams neighbor, Samut Sakorn, boast higher income and employment, but perform lower in terms of housing, education, and living environments. Pollution and health are also concerns, as the province is much more industrialized. The initiative also engaged the public and increased local understanding of the connection between poverty and the environment through workshops and seminars. It allowed us to learn from other communities so that we can adopt good practices for our own use, says Tongkam Juathai, a local villager.

Farming, forestry and fishing still provide over 40% of all jobs in

Through the initiative local communities have expressed their wish

to preserve their traditional lifestyle and develop an eco-tourism model that will reduce negative impact on the environment.
Samut Songkram province ranks fifth among 76 provinces in the

2009 Thailand National Human Development Report.

Case Study 2:

Tajikistan: Putting environmental resources in local hands

Farmer Field Schools Helped Introduce New Crops and Methods of Cultivation in Tajikistans Vakhsh River Valley. Here, a Women Rides Her Bicycle in a Pomegranate Plantation. Photo: Undp/Safarbek Soliev

Tajikistans Vakhsh River valley is crucial to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people, but the degradation of natural resources has been persistent and extensive over the past 100 years. The tugai forests, reservoirs of biodiversity and source of income for local communities, have been stripped at an ever-escalating rate, either to clear land for agriculture or as source of energy. In the district of Nuri Vakhsh, only 126 hectares of forest survive. In 2008, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) began working with community members to help protect it and regulate exploitation through a forestry management committee.

Local authorities let villagers lease land at nominal rates for grazing. The community management committee is responsible for regulating the number of livestock and the wood-cutting. Dead trees are cleared and distributed as firewood. Restrictions are never welcomed by people, but now those involved in the protection of the forests can see the results," says community member Salima Bekmurodova. After four years, an evaluation of the project found that tree-cutting had declined by 90 percent since 2008, allowing the forest to regenerate, while populations of birds and animals increased by 50 percent. Community members say they feel a sense of pride and ownership in what they have been able to accomplish. "Protecting the forests is a noble cause that should always be supported," says Bekmurodov Kurbonmahmad, a member of the committee. In the district of Jura Nazarov, UNDP assisted communities with other aspects of sustainable rural development. Almost all of the districts 14,000 inhabitants depend on farming, but more than 70 percent of the land is no longer arable, after years of poor agricultural and irrigation practices during the Soviet era. User associations now manage water resources and repair irrigation systems while farmer field schools help introduce appropriate agricultural techniques. A survey of participants in the schools found that two-thirds had introduced new crops and methods of cultivation that proved more productive and better suited to local conditions. Seventy-five percent of the respondents reported that they were able to sell additional crops, with a 25 percent increase in income on average. The extra funds have gone into renovating family homes, hiring farm labour to expand production, repairing irrigation systems and sending children to school. Locally managed microcredit facilities help farmers access low-cost loans to invest in new practices. "The project comes with the input of the people," says local leader Gulshan Kulolova. "They learned that they themselves can do something." Some of these initiatives have already been replicated in nine districts across Tajikistan, with support from the Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme. Highlights
Four districts of the Vakhsh River valley in Tajikistan have placed

management of natural resources in the hands of local communities depending on them for their livelihoods.
Tree-cutting in the endangered tugai forest area has declined by 90

percent since 2008, and population of birds and animals increased by 50 percent.
A survey of participants in farmer field schools found that 75

percent of respondents were able to sell additional crops, for a 25


percent increase in income on average.

Case Study 3:

Burundi: Reclaiming Forest Reserve while Improving Livelihoods

The Women of the Association are Building Frames for the Behives. Photo : UNDP Burundi

During Burundis civil war, thousands of people sought refuge in the Kibira forest reserve near the capital Bujumbura. But since the war ended in 2002, damage to the forest has been exacerbated as internally displaced persons and nearby communities cut down trees to clear land for farming, and use the wood for fuel. With the support of various organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, an association of 350 women, Dukingirikibira (Let us protect our forest), is working on reforestation initiatives as a way to rehabilitate the forest reserve, while earning income. On a regular basis, the association receives technical advice from expert agronomists on reproducing indigenous species, new agricultural techniques, how to improve yields, and ways to diversify their activities. Before, we believed that trees were only meant for firewood for cooking, says Marie Nduwimana, who heads the association. Today, each woman recognises the usefulness of trees that they enable us to earn money to provide for our basic needs and to buy educational supplies for our children. Since 2010, the association members have planted more than 300,000 seedlings of indigenous forest species on 116 hectares of land. They also earn income from combining agriculture and forestry initiatives in a sustainable way, selling avocado and plum trees and passion fruit vines, among other products. The association invests 70 percent of the profit from these initiatives in other income-generation activities, and in a fund for members to borrow from. They have already purchased and installed some 200 beehives and are preparing to harvest the honey, which they intend to sell for profit. The other 30 percent of the funds is shared with the forestry department and the local authorities also responsible for maintaining the forest. Highlights
1300 women and around a hundred men, all economically

vulnerable, take part in the reforestation activities.

Approximately 300,000 seedlings (of indigenous plant varieties) 4

made it possible to re-timber 116 hectares of forest over 2 years.

Reforestation helps limit soils erosion in a country where 90

percent of the population depends entirely on agriculture.

Environmental activities make it possible to fight poverty by

generating income for the local population.

Malaysia Experience Environment of Malaysia

The environment of Malaysia refers to the biotas and geologies that constitute the natural environment of this Southeast Asian nation. Ecologically, Malaysia is a megadiverse nation with a biodiverse range of flora and fauna found in various ecoregions throughout the country. Tropical rainforests encompass between 59% to 70% of Malaysia's total land area, of which 11.6% is pristine. Malaysia has the world's fifth largest mangrove area, which totals over a half a million hectares (over 1.2 million acres). Human intervention poses a significant threat to the natural environment of this country. Agriculture, forestry and urbanisation contribute to the destruction of forests, mangroves and other thriving ecosystems in the country. Ecosystems and landscapes are dramatically altered by human development, including but not limited to the construction of roads and damming of rivers. Geographical phenomena, such as landslides and flooding in the Klang Valley, along with haze, stem from widespread deforestation. Subtle climate change occurs as a direct result of air pollution and the greenhouse effect, which in turn is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. Low-lying areas near the coastline of Sabah and Sarawak are under threat from current sea level rise. The environment is the subject of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at the federal level. The Department of Wildlife and National Parksis responsible for the preservation of flora and fauna in Malaysia. Several environmental organisations have been established to raise awareness regarding the environmental issues in Malaysia.

Malaysia is home to 15,500 species of higher plants, 746 birds, 379 reptiles, 198 amphibians, and 368 species of fish. There are also 286 species of mammals in Malaysia, of which 27 are endemic and 51 are threatened. Some of these mammals are found in both Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. The former has 193 species of mammals, while the latter has 215. Among the mammals that are native to Malaysia include the Asian elephant, the Indochinese tiger, the Leopard Cat and the Pot-bellied pig. Endangered species include the orangutan, the tiger, the Asian elephant, the Malayan tapir, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Singapore roundleaf horseshoe bat. The tropical moist broadleaf forests of Peninsular Malaysia consist of

450 species of birds and over 6000 different species of trees, of which 1000 are vascular plants that occur naturally in karsts. The rainforests of East Malaysia are denser, with over 400 species of tall dipterocarps and semihardwoods. The national flower of Malaysia is the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, an evergreen that was introduced into the Malay peninsula in the 12th century. Therafflesia is also widely found in the country.

Ecoregions and Land Use

There are various ecoregions in Malaysia with varying degrees of prevalence. Major forests account for 45% of all ecoregions in the country, interrupted woods represent 33%, major wetlands constitute 3%, grass and shrubs make up 2% while other coastal aquatic regions form 8% of the country's land area, with crops and settlements taking up the remaining space. Malaysia has many national parks, although most of them are de facto state parks. The Taman Negara National Park in central Peninsular Malaysia is 130 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world. About 41% of the land area is classified as "low human disturbance", 19% is categorised as "medium human disturbance" and 40% falls under the "high human disturbance" category. 2.7% of the land is totally protected, 1.77% is partially protected and 4.47% is totally or partially protected.

Malaysia lies along the 1st parallel north to the 7th parallel north circles of latitude, roughly equal to Roraima (Brazil), the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. According to the Kppen climate classification system, Malaysia has a tropical rainforest climate due to its proximity to the equator. The country is hot and humid all year round, with an average temperature of 27 C (80.6 F) and almost no variability in the yearly temperature. The country experiences two monsoon seasons, the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon. The Northeast Monsoon brings heavy rainfall to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak, while the Southwest Monsoon signifies dryer conditions throughout the country except Sabah. During the Southwest Monsoon, most states experience minimal rainfall due to the stable atmospheric conditions in the region and the Sumatran mountain range, which brings about the rain shadow effect. Sabah experiences more rainfall because of the tail effect of typhoons in the Philippines. The urban heat island effect is caused by over development and general human activities in the cities of Malaysia.

Air Pollution Index The Air Pollution Index (API) is used by the government to describe the air quality in Malaysia. The API value is calculated based on average concentrations of air pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and fine dust (PM10). The air pollutant with the highest concentration is the pollutant that will determine the value of the API. Fine dust is typically the dominant pollutant.
The precipitation map of Peninsular Malaysia in December 2004 shows heavy precipitation on the east coast, causing floods there.

The API is reported on a scale starting from 0. A score of 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy and anything higher than 300 is hazardous. A state of emergency is declared in the reporting area if the API exceeds 500, which occurred in Port Klang in 2005. Non-essential government services are suspended, and all ports and schools in the affected area are closed. Private sector commercial and industrial activities in the reporting area might be prohibited.

Environmental Law and Conservation

The Environmental Quality Act of 1974 and other environmental laws are administered by the Division of Environment. Clean-air legislation was adopted in 1978, limiting industrial and automobile emissions. However, air pollution remains a problem in Malaysian cities. The National Forestry Act of 1984 was enacted for sustainable forest management, but the act has not been enforced.

Malaysia signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 12 June 1993, and became a party to the convention on 24 June 1994. It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 2 May 1998. The country is megadiverse with a high number of species and high levels of endemism. It is estimated to contain 20 per cent of the world's animal species. High levels of endemism are found on the diverse forests of Borneo's mountains, as species are isolated from each other by lowland forest. Animals There are about 210 mammal species in the country. Over 620 species of birds have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, with many endemic to the mountains there. A high number of endemic bird species are also found in Malaysian Borneo. 250 reptile species have been recorded in the country, with about 150 species of snakes and 80 species of lizards. There are about 150 species of frogs, and thousands of insect species. Malaysia's exclusive economic zone is 1.5 times larger than its land area, and some of its waters are in the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hotspot. The waters around Sipadan island are the most biodiverse in the world. Bordering East Malaysia, the Sulu Sea is a biodiversity hotspot, with around 600 coral species and 1200 fish species. Fungi


Nearly 4000 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species have been recorded from Malaysia. Of the two fungal groups with the largest number of species in Malaysia, the Ascomycota and their asexual states have been surveyed in some habitats (decaying wood, marine and freshwater ecosystems, as parasites of some plants, and as agents of biodegradation), but have not been or have been only poorly surveyed in other habitats (as endobionts, in soils, on dung, as human and animal pathogens); the Basidiomycota are only partly surveyed: bracket fungi, and mushrooms and toadstools have been studied, but Malaysian rust and smut fungi remain very poorly known. Without doubt, many more fungal species occur in Malaysia which have not yet been recorded, and it is likely that many of those, when found, will be new to science.

About two thirds of Malaysia is covered in forest, with some forests believed to be 130 million years old. The forests are dominated by dipterocarps. Lowland forest occurs below 760 metres (2,493 ft), and formerly East Malaysia was covered in such rainforest, which is supported by its hot wet climate. There are around 14,500 species of flowering plants and trees. Besides rainforests, there are over 1,425 square kilometres (550 sq mi) of mangroves in Malaysia, and a large amount of peat forest. At higher altitudes, oaks, chestnuts, and rhododendrons replace dipterocarps. There are an estimated 8,500 species of vascular plants in Peninsular Malaysia, with another 15,000 in the East. The forests of East Malaysia are estimated to be the habitat of around 2,000 tree species, and are one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, with 240 different species of trees every hectare. These forests host many members of the Rafflesia genus, the largest flowers in the world, with a maximum diameter of 1 metre (3 ft).

Conservation Issues
Logging, along with cultivation practices has devastated tree cover, causing severe environmental degradation in the country. Over 80 per cent of Sarawak's rainforest has been cleared. Floods in East Malaysia have been worsen ed by the loss of trees, and over 60 per cent of the Peninsular's forest have been cleared. With current rates of deforestation, the forests are predicted to be extinct by 2020. Deforestation is a major problem for animals, fungi and plants, as the forest is cut to make room for plantations. Most remaining forest is found inside national parks. Habitat destruction has proved a threat for marine life. Illegal fishing is another major threat, with fishing methods such as dynamite fishing and poisoning depleting marine ecosystems. Leatherback turtle numbers have dropped 98 per cent since the 1950s. Hunting has also been an issue for some animals, with overconsumption and the use of animal parts for profit endangering many animals, from marine life to tigers. Marine life is also detrimentally affected by uncontrolled tourism.

The Malaysian government aims to balance economic growth with environmental protection, but has been accused of favouring big business over the environment. Some state governments are now trying to counter the environmental impact and pollution created by deforestation; and the federal government is trying to cut logging by 10 per cent each year. 28 national parks have been established; 23 in East Malaysia and five in the Peninsular. Tourism has been limited in biodiverse areas such as Sipadan island. Animal trafficking is a large issue, and the Malaysian government is holding talks with the governments of Brunei and Indonesia to standardise anti-trafficking laws.

Deforestation in Malaysia
(source: www.wikipedia.com)

These images reveal the overall extent of land-cover change throughout the region. Malaysia lost 8.6% of its forest cover, or around 1,920,000 hectares within the period of only 20 years (1990 and 2010). Background Malaysia declared its independence from Britain in 1957, and formed its current state in 1963. Since then, it has seen significant economic growth, a large part of which can be attributed to its forest industry. Malaysias rapid rate of development has put it far ahead of several of its neighbors, such as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. This has largely been in part to its abundance of natural resources, which constitutes significant portions of the countrys economic sector. Because of this large financial gain from logging, production has been high since initiation, and it was not until 1985 that consequences were first realized. Benefits of Logging As stated above, Malaysia has received considerable financial gain from its logging industry. One statistic states this benefit is valued at $2,150,000,000 USD. Together with neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia produces 85% of the global supply of palm oil, the chief cause of logging. Additionally, the agriculture sector accounts for 14.5% of the labor force - more than 1 in 7 persons. 56.6% of Malaysia tropical forests are used for production, leaving the rest for uses such as Protection and Conservation. These statistic clearly show how much both the general population and the Malaysian government is able to benefit from its logging sector, while still leaving untouched nearly half of its abundant forests. Consequences of Logging Consequences have been varied across different parts of Malaysia. However, all areas have suffered some effect from deforestation. Three of the most prominent include:

Malaysia ranks as the 21st most biodiverse country in the world, with 2,199 endemic species. 18% of these species are

listed as threatened, and because they are endemic, if Malaysia fails to conserve them, extinction will result. Indigenous peoples in Malaysia have always depended on the rainforest for medicine, shelter, food, and other necessities. They are not known to take more that what they need as this would be seen as a transgression of the forest and would bring curses to their people. The destruction of their prime resource is resulting in the destruction of their traditional ways of life. As the forest disappears, so does their culture. Runoff has also increased. Though it would not be immediately suspected that logging deep in the jungle could affect a distant city on the coast, because there is less forested area to soak up rainwater and act as a slow-release reservoir, sudden floods are becoming more and more frequent. An increased rate of mudslides have been reported.

Conservation Efforts In Malaysia, the World Bank estimates that trees are being cut down at 4 times the sustainable rate. Logging does not have to be as destructive a practice as it currently is in Malaysia. In the past 2 decades, Malaysia has moved towards diversifying its economy, but logging still draws in many because of poor regulation and high profit. The most effect way to combat the negative effects of logging would be tighter regulation that still allows high production of palm oil, but in a more sustainable manner. This way, not only will the effects be mitigated now, but there will be more forests to log, and thus profits to make, in the future. Malaysia still has a relatively high forest coverage percentage. Currently, it is estimated that 59.9% of the total area is covered by forests, of which, a sizable portion are untouched virgin forests (see old-growth forests) which dates back to around 130 million years. An increase in the level of awareness of Malaysians compounded with the local folk belief that existed in the indigenous populations (see Semai people) has added to the strength of the many Malaysian movements in environmentalism. The Malaysian Nature Society is active in advocating protection of forest. Other organizations such as the Tabung Alam Malaysia, a branch of theWorld Wide Fund For Nature has also established offices in Malaysia since 1972 dedicated to nature conservation as well as education on the importance of forest conservation to the wider populace. The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia has also been actively conducting research on the biodiversity of Malaysia's forests as well as in conservation. Current Issues Deforestation in the following areas/project sites have attracted controversy: Terengganu: Hulu Terengganu Hydroelectric Project Pahang:

Kelau Forest Reserve Johor: Sungai Mas Forest Pulai River Mangrove Forest Kelantan: Gunung Stong Selatan Forest Reserve Perak Teluk Rubiah Belum-Temenggor Selangor: Bukit Cherakah Kuala Langat Sungai Jelok


UNDP Malaysia Chapter

All official correspondence, including invitations for the Resident Representative, and requests for the Resident Representative to present a speech, should be addressed to: UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam United Nations Development Programme Wisma UN, Block C Kompleks Pejabat Damansara Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights 50490 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA Tel: 603 2095 9122 Fax: 603 2095 2870 Email: registry.my@undp.org
Office of Resident Representative UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia UNDP Resident Kamal Malhotra Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam Rahayati Yahil Executive Associate UN Coordination Unit Lin Mui Kiang UN Coordination Specialist Linda Tham UN Coordination Associate Communications Ahmad Hafiz Osman Communications Officer Socio-Economic Cluster Assistant Resident Representative (Programme) James George Chacko Socio-Economic Development & Head of Programme Programme Manager Gender and the Empowerment of Anita Ahmad Women & South-South Cooperation Programme Manager - Inclusive Growth, Economic Christopher Choong Development and South-South Cooperation. Laura Lee Programme Associate Genevieve Pamela Programme Associate Roman Energy and Environment Cluster Assistant Resident Representative (Programme) Energy Asfaazam Kasbani and Environment Hari Ramalu Programme Manager Gan Pek Chuan Programme Manager Kevin Hor Programme Manager - Montreal Protocol Norzilla Mohammed Programme Associate Contact

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