- Category: News
- Published: Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:32
15th November 2017 - On the 7th of November 2017, ERE Consulting Group convened an environment forum in association with EcoKnights and Malaysia Association of Social Impact Assessment. The forum titled “Empowering Local Communities in Environmental & Natural Resources Management”, venue at Holiday Villa, Subang Jaya involving professional environmental consultants, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Government agencies.
The forum involved a series of presentation sharing on study cases in environmental community projects that were organized and presented by local experts and professionals including EcoKnights President, Yasmin Rasyid. The passionate environmentalists and conservationists shared their experiences in empowering the local community into environmental project with success.
The forum presentation series of study cases in environmental community projects are as follow:
- Using Citizen Science to empower local communities: Tg. Kupang, Johor by Dr. Serina Rahman and the youth of Kelab Alami Tg. Kupang Johor
- Balancing Community needs & governance in urban river management: The Challenges of the Sungai Bunus Community Group by Yasmin Rasyid, EcoKnights
- River of Life Public Outreach Programmes by Fong Chuen Far, ERE Consulting Group
- Community Environment Education in Sabah: Kg. Darau, Kota Kinabalu by Dr. Susan Pudin, Environmental Protection Department Sabah
- Community based terrapin conservation in Terengganu by Dr. Chen Pelf Nyok, turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia
Panel discussion including:
- Datuk Paduka Dr Dahlia Rosly from Malaysia Association of Social Impact Assessment
- Professor Dr. Maketab Mohamad from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
- Dato’ Dr Mikaail Kavanagh from ERE Consulting Group
- Dr. K Nagulendran from Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation
- Yasmin Rasyid from EcoKnights
- Dr. G Balamurugan from ERE Consulting Group as Moderator
In this new era, the natural resources management had witnessed the incorporation of conservation, development and the empowerment of local community. These case studies featured an integrated conservation and development effort in different places around Malaysia. It explores the possibilities of integrating conservation, development and the empowerment of local into natural resources management and identifies challenges, constraints, and opportunities to advance their roles. Environmentalists empowered communities by promoting their rights, enhancing their environmental knowledge, consulting and fundraising that will support local investments and innovations for sustainability, learning, and strengthening indigenous community project.
Many of us have been involved directly or indirectly in a community project through volunteering participation or organization collaborations. However, in order to maintain the long term sustainability of the community projects involving several key factors to achieve success and objectives. Local community is the main factor defining the success as they are the indigenous people with local expertise and traditional ecological knowledge.
In fact, the locals depend on the resources available for their ways of life. The role of environmentalist should act as the guidance and consultant, be part of the community while empowering them to lead the project, building a local champion. The study cases showed the importance of engagement and relationship building with the local to gain their participation in support and decision making process for the project management.
Rephrased from Dr. Serina Rahman, it is better that the local community make the final decision to conduct the project they prefer rather than the decision made by outsiders. Besides, governance support is crucial in pushing the project to the new phases involving community participation in development projects. “Work with them not against”, quoted Yasmin Rasyid, the president of EcoKnights.
The forum was very inspiring and shared the key factors to empower the local communities in environmental & natural resources management.