SBC BIODIVERSITY DAY
18 May 2013 , Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC)
ASSALAMUALAIKUM WARAHMATULLAHI WABARAKATUH, SALAM SEJAHTERA DAN SALAM 1MALAYSIA
Yang Berbahagia Datu Haji Sudarsono Othman
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Resource Planning and Environment Sarawak
And Yang Berbahagia Datin Mary Saadiah
Yang Berbahagia Datu Haji Ali Yusop
Director of Forests, Sarawak
Yang Berusaha Dr Rita Manurung
Chief Executive Office, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC)
Distinguished guests, heads of departments
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls.
As a party to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), we at the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre are indeed delighted today to join the rest of the world in celebration of International Day on Biological Diversity which is observed annually on 22 May 2013.
Sarawak has always been dedicated to sustainable management and utilization of its biodiversity, even before the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 where the CBD was agreed upon by the international community. This is clear through the enactment of its laws which include the wildlife protection ordinance.
To further enhance our efforts, the Sarawak State Government was the first in Malaysia to come up with its own law to fall in line with the international treaty to work towards the sustainable use of biodiversity and its components, as well as the sharing of benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
Hence, the setting up of the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre in 1998, and progressively, its research laboratories in 2005 to conduct scientific research and to uncover the potentials of biodiversity for use in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, personal care products, herbal therapies, food flavouring and industrial uses.
However, in our pursuit to make new discoveries through scientific research and development, which many of us perceive to be a very “adult” or “grown up” affair and requires “adult” decisions, we often forget a segment of society that also plays a very important role in sustainable management and utilization of biodiversity – our children. It is our children who are inevitably going to inherit this land that holds so much potential for their future.
And it is through involvement in awareness activities that the younger generation and children, especially those in their formative years will gain realization and knowledge which will eventually serve as inspiration for their own journey towards sustainable management and utilization of biodiversity.
It is also important that all of us, as parents also encourage our children to participate in acquiring knowledge, by also participating in such activities to know, conserve and also sustainably utilize biodiversity, ourselves.
More often than not, we as parents are usually intent on ensuring our children get good grades in their school subjects. We forget how sustainable management and utilization of biodiversity is also an integral part of our children’s future.
When encouraging my peers and colleagues on how we should encourage our children to be involved in activities that involve appreciating biodiversity, I often fall back on a quote by the actor, Harrison Ford - "When we protect the places where the processes of life can flourish, we strengthen not only the future of medicine, agriculture and industry, but also the essential conditions for peace and prosperity."
Therefore, I would like to encourage the departments and agencies here that have embarked on that very journey to create awareness on biodiversity, among our children to ensure that there is continuity in learning and sharing of experiences and knowledge, not just within the scientific community, but at all levels of society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme Water and Biodiversity was chosen by the United Nations for International Day for Biological Diversity this year to coincide with International Year of Water Cooperation.
The theme is reflected in some of the activities that SBC has arranged over the weekend, namely the colouring and pottery painting contests, and a talk on our rivers and biodiversity by the Sarawak Rivers Board tomorrow.
However, our event here this weekend is not exclusive to water and biodiversity, but instead covers other aspects of biodiversity, as well as the research and development that SBC is carrying out on our biodiversity.
I understand that SBC has lined up activities that members of the public of all ages can participate in for free and hopefully, take home with them a memorable learning experience. I am also delighted to note that representatives from the indigenous communities from throughout Sarawak who have been documenting their Traditional Knowledge are also here to share their knowledge and experiences on how they have, over the centuries practiced sustainable utilization of biodiversity around them.
Many of us here living in towns and cities may have forgotten, or for some, have never even been exposed to the basics of traditional knowledge. I hope the visitors to SBC’s Biodiversity Day this weekend will take the opportunity to learn from our indigenous communities.
Bagi ahli-ahli komuniti etnik yang ada di sini pada hari ini pula, saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kerana telah sama-sama menjayakan program ini, di samping juga telah giat menjalankan program Dokumentasi Pengetahuan Tradisional di kalangan komuniti masing - masing.
Saya juga ingin mengingatkan komuniti-komuniti sekalian agar meneruskan usaha murni mereka dalam mendokumentasi pengetahuan tradisional anda. Jangan hanya menjalankan aktiviti mendokumentasi hanya apabila adanya kehadiran pegawai SBC di kampung ataupun rumah panjang masing- masing.
Saya juga menyeru agar anda meningkatkan lagi usaha kerjasama dengan pihak SBC dalam mengenalpasti tumbuhan ataupun biodiversiti yang berpotensi untuk dikomersialkan.
With this, I wish to congratulate the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre on the organization of this fun-filled educational weekend and declare SBC Biodiversity Day, open.