Govt confident of meeting Unesco deadline to save Tasik Chini's biosphere reserve status

KOTA BARU: A detailed report on the proposed improvements to Pahang's Tasik Chini biosphere reserve is expected to be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) before Sept 30.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the government was confident of submitting the report before the deadline set by Unesco.

Unesco had set Sept 30 as the deadline for the authorities to submit a report on conservation efforts for Tasik Chini, which had been damaged by mining activities.

Failure to do so could see the lake stripped of its biosphere reserve status.

Takiyuddin said the authorities were in the process of gathering details for the report.

He said he was recently granted an audience with the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah, to brief the latter on the progress.

"I was informed that the Pahang government has already taken the necessary steps on improving Tasik Chini, in line with recommendations made by the International Advisory Committee on Biosphere Reserves (IACBR).

"All activities at the lake have been ordered to stop, including the issuance of new licences for mining activities. The order also applies to 'well-known' operators," he said.

Takiyiddin, who is Kota Baru member of parliament, was speaking to reporters after launching SMK Sultan Ismail's Parent-Teacher Association meeting here today.

He expressed confidence that with all the efforts made by the state government, the Tasik Chini biosphere reserve site status would remain intact.

Takiyuddin had previously said that the Pahang government had adopted various measures, including updating zonation to maintain the functions of the biosphere reserve site.

These also involved gazetting the Chini permanent forest reserve, carrying out integrated enforcement, ceasing all mining activities and setting up the Pahang State Parks Corporation and Pahang Biodiversity Council to empower the governance of the biosphere reserve site.

Tasik Chini's biosphere reserve status recently came under threat as the lake failed to fulfil the criteria to be part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

On May 26, 2009, Tasik Chini became the first site in Malaysia to be accorded biosphere reserve site recognition.

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