Report: Tasik Chini Unesco status under review, faces risk of delisting amid pollution

KUALA LUMPUR : A review of Pahang’s Tasik Chini as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Biosphere Reserve will come up soon, said the global organisation’s Media Services Unit.

Malaysiakini reported the unit as saying that the review, which is periodic every 10 years, will allow the government just over one year to take action on its recommendations to maintain Tasik Chini’s status.

The list of preliminary recommendations was shared with the relevant authorities on May 18.

The periodic review of Tasik Chini Biosphere Reserve is indeed ongoing, says Unesco’s Media Services Unit. — Picture via Facebook/Pusat Penyelidikan Tasik Chini UKM

“The periodic review of Tasik Chini Biosphere Reserve is indeed ongoing. A report was examined by the International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves, which provides scientific and technical advice to the programme.

“These recommendations were shared with the Malaysian authorities on May 18. Once they are approved, the authorities managing the biosphere reserve will have until September 2022 to comply with the advisory committee’s recommendations,” it said.

The report and relevant recommendations will be publicly made available sometime in September once the final draft has been approved.

Tasik Chini is at risk of losing its biosphere reserve status, as environmentalists warn of ongoing deforestation and mining activities which has negatively affected its environment, despite the state government’s aim to rehabilitate the area.

Spanning an area of over 12,000 acres, the lake is famous for becoming a natural “floating garden” every August and September, when thousands of white and pink lotus flowers dot the surface.

Unesco Man and the Biosphere Programme’s statutory framework states that a biosphere reserve can lose its status if it no longer satisfies the criteria to be qualified for designation.

This move to delist a biosphere reserve is only considered as a last resort, should all other avenues be exhausted.

The lake, the second-largest natural in Malaysia, is home to a rich bio-diversified lush tropical wilderness, which merited Unesco’s declaration of Tasik Chini as one of its biosphere reserves in 2009.

Some of the activities near the lake include a mining project linked to the Pahang royal house which was recently approved, and several other ongoing mining concessions in the area close nearby.

Although the state government announced that Tasik Chini will be gazetted as a permanent forest reserve in 2019, this has yet to officially take place.

By : JERRY CHOONG – MALAY MAIL

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