Minister: Malaysia supports global efforts to safeguard oceans

A lesson on the rainforest ecosystem for two teachers.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia supports global efforts to safeguard, preserve and conserve the ecosystem of the world's oceans and resources for the benefit of future generations, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin.

This is consistent with the theme Together We Have the Power to Protect the Ocean to mark World Ocean Week this year, he said.

The event is an annual observation on June 8 to honour the world's oceans, celebrate the products the ocean provides and also a time to appreciate its own intrinsic value.

Ewon pointed out that 70 per cent of the world's surface is covered by oceans and seas, adding that global pollution and over-fishing had resulted in drastically dwindling population of marine life, particularly among maritime nations.

"The destruction of marine habitats, climate changes and ocean acidification are on the increase.

"Also, problems like rising sea levels and dumping of alien species into local waters that threaten marine life cannot be taken lightly," he said when launching the national-level World Ocean Day here yesterday.

He said Malaysia, which sits on the executive council of the Inter-Governmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) under Unesco, held steadfast to the United Nations Law of the Sea and supported the annual World Oceans Day.

He conceded that more trans-boundary cooperation was needed at the regional and international levels and, in this context, Malaysia took part in several large-scale initiatives to restore marine ecosystems.

"Among them are the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion and Bay of Bengal-Large Marine Ecocsystem," he said.

On the CTI, Ewon said it involved Malaysia and five other countries - Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea - pertaining to fisheries management, marine protection, climate change and threatened species.