Island-wide conservation of marine biodiversity, with a focus on coral reefs, through community involvement and action.
Marine parks especially those associated with various coral reef ecosystems, often harbour a wealth of marine and coastal biodiversity and natural resources. And it is the same richness in marine and coastal biodiversity and natural resources that renders marine park islands a popular and much sought after destinations for tourism. However, the twin pressures of ever increasing infrastructures to accommodate the requirement of ever increasing tourists, do in turn pose several and severe threats to the quality and quantity of the marine and coastal biodiversity and natural resources. The proposed project, at one particular marine park in Malaysian waters, Perhentian Island, aims to work with local communities and other relevant stakeholders in mitigating such tourism and human induced threats, thereby contributing towards the better conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal biodiversity and natural resources, as well as towards the better management of marine parks in Malaysia. Notably, the SGP Malaysia project at Perhentian Island, complements the UNDP-GEF Full-sized project, being implemented by the Marine Parks Department of Malaysia, at three other marine parks in Malaysia. The range of interventions to be undertaken in the SGP Malaysia project include facilitating the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources and biodiversity around Perhentian Island, with a focus on coral reefs, increasing opportunities for the local communities to generate income through sustainable tourism activities and building the capacity among the local communities to enable them to play a greater role in the management of the Perhentian Island marine park. The capacity building interventions of the project would include establishing new institutions to voice their concerns, training in coral reef monitoring, snorkel guiding and business skills, awareness raising programmes for schools and general public and communicating the role of the marine park among the local population and visitors.
The primary objectives of the project were to:

- Facilitate the conservation and sustainable use of the marine resources and biodiversity around Perhentian Island, with a focus on coral reefs
- Increase opportunities for the local population to generate income from activities related to Perhentian Island’s natural resources through new modes of employment in sustainable tourism
- Build capacity among the local community to enable them to play a greater role in the management of the Perhentian Island Marine Park.

The expected outputs and outcomes from the project were stated in the original proposal as follows:

- An association of resort operators. It is anticipated that 50% of resort operators will join the association, some 20 resorts. The association will give operators more influence when dealing with issues affecting all resorts (eg. the need for better sewage treatment facilities on the island; responses to unfavourable tourism development proposals)
- An association of dive operators. It is anticipated that 50% of dive operators will join the association, some 10 operators. The association will give operators more influence when dealing with issues which affect the industry (eg. control of external operators visiting Perhentian; damage to coral reefs caused by trawling)
- Action plans for resort operators to reduce their impacts on the marine environment around Perhentian Island, and a consequent reduction in problems caused by sewage pollution and solid waste
- Action plans for dive operators to reduce their impacts on the marine environment around Perhentian Island, and a consequent reduction in impacts on coral reefs caused by inappropriate operating procedures (eg. wrong mooring points used by large boats) and diving habits (reduction in damage caused by divers)
- Community based monitoring teams who will survey reefs annually and report findings to all stakeholders. This will raise awareness among the local population of the value of coral reefs and the need to reduce impacts on the coral reefs around the island
- Trained snorkelling guides who will be able to develop new incomes from selling “eco-products” to tourists
- Increase in the number of guides able to provide value added services to tourists taking terrestrial and marine tours. This will also raise the awareness of the need for greater environmental protection among the local population
- Schools programmes will raise awareness among school children of the need to reduce littering, recycle waste, conserve water and reduce other impacts on the environment. This will lay the groundwork for lasting improvements in both the marine and terrestrial environments on Perhentian Island
- A high profile anti-littering campaign will result in immediate improvements in the visual appearance of the island to visitors. Longer term, reducing littering will reduce the impact on coral reefs around the island
- A programme to promote the existence and functions of the Marine Park will involve the local population more actively in monitoring activities within the Marine Park. Visitors will be made more aware of the Park and its role in protecting coral reefs around Perhentian Island
- Monitoring report on the changing condition of coral reefs at four selected monitoring sites.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee: Reef Check Malaysia Berhad
Country: Malaysia
Area Of Work: Biodiversity
Operational Phase: Phase 4
Grant Amount: US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash: US$ 56,060.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number: MAL/SGP/OP4/Y1/RAF/2008/10
Start Date: 10/2008
End Date: 1/2011
Status: Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
A large percentage of the local community on the islands are involved in tourism, operating small resorts and dive centers. Most operators agree that they are facing environmental issues such as poor waste management and deteriorating marine resources, realizing that without proper management and conservation of natural marine resources could affect their livelihoods.
Capacity - Building Component
It is important to build the capacity of the local community to be aware of the importance of conserving marine resources such as coral reefs and the threats faced through over-fishing, pollution and sedimentation from land-based activities. The project builds the capacity of the local community from local entrepreneurs to school children on the protection of the environment for sustainable development.
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