Friday, May 23, 2008


Climate change threat: Practical policies needed


Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has urged the scientific community worldwide to help in formulating practical policies to shape nature conservation programmes amid the challenges posed by global climate change. He said the impact of climate change is very serious not only on human being but also to the marine life as the rise in ocean temperature by just a few degrees could destroy coral reefs through bleaching. “The creation of networks of marine protected areas, I believe, can help degraded marine habitats recover and thrive. I therefore request the scientific community to do more to provide help in formulating practical policies needed to shape nature conservation,” he said in a speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin at the 7th International Scientific Symposium of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Western Pacific) here yesterday. The four-day symposium was jointly organised by the National Oceanographic Directorate of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in collaboration with Western Pacific Chapter of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/Westpac) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO). More than 20 scientific working papers would be presented at the symposium being attended by local and foreign participants fromthe2OIOC/Westpacmembercountries. Musa acknowledged that dealing with climate change is indeed a complex matter that involves complex issues such as those pertaining to quality of life, equity and environmental practices. He urged the international community to stand together in facing natural disasters which know no national boundary. “A tsunami originating in one country can bring havoc in places far remote from the source, and this calls for joint efforts to handle the situation,” he added. Musa hoped the symposium will stimulate research efforts aimed at improving the ability to mitigate geologic hazards through innovative tools and observations. Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin said that while it is impossible to completely prevent destruction in disasters, it is possible to reduce the potential risk by developing early warning systems. Other mitigating methods include preparing developmental plans to provide resilience to such disasters, developing better communication and rescue systems, and helping in post-disaster work, he said. Noh said only innovative, multidisciplinary and collaborative solutions developed by the scientific community will ensure sustainability of the ocean ecosystem for sustainable seafood supplies, which is one of the focal points of the 20 countries of the Western Pacific grouping.