Seaweed and Mangrove Issues from International Law Perspective

Report
Seaweed and Mangrove Issues
from International Law
Perspective
Prof. Dr. Abdul Ghafur Hamid
International Islamic University Malaysia
Workshop on Marine Environment Pollution
30 October 2012, Attorney General’s Chambers, Putra Jaya
Contents
1. Introduction
2. Seaweed farming and international law
3. Mangrove forests and international law
4. From international law to national laws and
policies
5. Conclusion
1. Introduction
 Since Malaysia is a coastal State with invaluable
mangroves and atolls and coastal areas,
surrounded by resource-rich seas, to make the
Malaysian maritime areas to be clean and
pollution-free is a matter of grave concern for
the country.
 The two main issues:
(1) Seaweed farming;
(2) Mangrove forests.
2. Seaweed farming and
international law
 There is no specific international convention that
governs seaweed farming.
 The only convention that lays down general
international obligations on States in relation to
the protection of the marine environment is the
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
1982.
 164 States parties.
 Malaysia is a party since 14 October 1996.
Malaysia’s obligations under UNCLOS
1982
 to protect and preserve the marine environment (Art
192);
 to exploit its natural resources with sound environmental
policies (Art 193);
 to take all measures necessary to prevent, reduce and
control pollution of the marine environment, using the
‘best practicable means’ (Art 194(1);
 to ensure that activities under its jurisdiction are so
conducted as not to cause damage by pollution to other
States and their environment (Art 194(2); Trail Smelter
Arbitration;
Malaysia’s obligations under UNCLOS
1982 (Cont.)
 to protect and preserve rare or fragile
ecosystems as well as the habitat of depleted,
threatened or endangered species and other
forms of marine life (Art 194(3).
 to prevent the intentional or accidental
introduction of species, alien or new, to a
particular part of the marine environment, which
may cause significant and harmful changes
thereto (Art 196(1).
 To carry out “environmental impact assessment”
of activities under its jurisdiction or control (Arts
204-206).
Environmental concerns of seaweed
farming
 To comply with the requirement of ‘not to
threaten the protection and preservation of
marine environment;
 to ensure that seaweed farming does not have
adverse effect on rare or fragile ecosystems as
well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or
endangered species and other forms of marine
life;
 To make sure that seaweed aquaculture does not
involve introduction of new or alien species to
the marine environment.
2. Protection and preservation of
Mangrove forests and international
law
 Malaysia is a signatory to various international forest-
related agreements which includes:
(1) Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention);
(2) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
(3) Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
(4) United Nation Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC); and
(5) United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).
Convention on Wetlands of International
Importance especially as Waterfowl
Habitat (Ramsar Convention), 1971
 Number of Contracting Parties: 163
 Number of sites designated for the Ramsar
List: 2,062
The Ramsar mission
The conservation and wise use of all wetlands
through local and national actions and
international cooperation, as a contribution
towards achieving sustainable development
throughout the world.
The Wise Use concept
 The wise use is defined as "the maintenance of
their ecological character, achieved through the
implementation of ecosystem approaches,
within the context of sustainable development".
 "Wise use" therefore has at its heart the
conservation and sustainable use of wetlands
and their resources, for the benefit of
humankind.
What do Contracting Parties do?
The "three pillars" of the Convention:
 To work towards the wise use of all their wetlands
through national land-use planning, appropriate policies
and legislation;
 To designate suitable wetlands for the List of Wetlands of
International Importance ("Ramsar List") and ensure
their effective management; and
 To cooperate internationally concerning transboundary
wetlands, shared wetland systems, shared species, and
development projects that may affect wetlands.
Ramsar List
 Wetlands included in the List acquire a new
status at the national level and are
recognized by the international community
as being of significant value not only for the
country, or the countries, in which they are
located, but for humanity as a whole.
Malaysia and Ramsar Convention
 The Convention on Wetlands came into force for
Malaysia on 10 March 1995.
 As a party to the Ramsar Convention, Malaysia
undertook to promote wise use and conservation
of wetlands and establish nature reserves in
wetlands and designate areas as Ramsar sites.
 Malaysia presently has 6 sites designated as
Wetlands of International Importance, with a
surface area of 134,158 hectares.
Malaysia: 6 Ramsar Sites
Name of Ramsar site
State
Date
Size
Lower Kinabatangan-Segama
Wetland
Sabah
28/10/08
78,803 ha
Kuching Wetlands National Park
Sarawak 08/11/05
6,610
ha
Pulau Kukup
Johor
31/01/03
647
ha
Sungai Pulai
Johor
31/01/03
9,126
ha
Tanjung Piai
Johor
31/01/03
526
ha
Tasek Bera
Pahang
10/11/94
38,446 ha
Convention on Biological Diversity
 193 States parties
 Malaysia is a party since 24-06-1994.
Article 6.
General Measures for Conservation and Sustainable Use
Each Contracting Party shall…:
(a) Develop national strategies, plans or programmes for
the conservation and sustainable use of biological
diversity…; and
(b) Integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans,
programmes and policies.

Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES)
 Adopted on 03-03-1973; entered into force on 0107-1975.
 176 States parties.
 Malaysia is a party since 18-01-1978.
 Appendix I includes all species threatened with
extinction which are or may be affected by trade.
Trade in specimens of these species must be
subject to particularly strict regulation.
4. From international law to
national laws and policies
 Malaysia is a party to a number of
international environmental conventions,
which lay down important rules to be
followed by states parties.
 As a party, it is obligatory for Malaysia to
perform these conventions in good faith
and make its national laws to be in
conformity with these conventions.
Malaysian laws on marine pollution
and enforcement
 There are four laws (EQA, MSO, MSOPA, and
EEZ Act) that regulate marine pollution in
Malaysia.
 As far as enforcement is concerned, they are
supplemented by MMEA Act.
 MMEA can exercise enforcement powers within
the “Malaysian Maritime Zone”, which includes
“the internal waters, territorial sea, continental
shelf, exclusive economic zone and the
Malaysian fisheries waters”.
(2) Seaweed farming and the
Fisheries Act
 The relevant law In respect of ‘seaweed
farming’ is the Fisheries Act 1985.
 The Fisheries Act define ‘fish’ to include “any
aquatic animal or plant life”.
 It therefore appears that seaweed may fall
within the meaning of ‘fish’ under the
Fisheries Act.
 The Fisheries Act is applicable within the
“Malaysian fisheries waters” which include the
internal waters and the territorial sea of
Malaysia.
Seaweed farming and the Fisheries Act
[Cont.]
 Seaweed farming can therefore possibly be
governed by the Fisheries Act.
 What we need is to adopt a new “Fisheries
(Seaweed Farming) Regulations” under s. 61
of the Fisheries Act to regulate seaweed
farming in Malaysia.
 We can take lessons from the experience and
best practices of countries like Philippines
and Japan.
(2) Mangrove forests
 The management of all type of forests including
mangrove forests is enshrined in the National
Forestry Policy 1978 (revised 1992) (NFP).
 The NFP was approved by the National Forestry
Council in 1977, and later endorsed by the
National Land Council in 1978.
 The Policy lists effective conservation and
management of natural forest ecosystems,
including the mangroves.
Legislation touching upon mangrove
forests
 This commitment is duly recognized and given specific
attention by the National Forestry Act 1984 (NFA).
 The Act provides the legislative backing to the policy and
affirms the full protection of the mangrove forests.
 Besides these policies and legislation, there are other
Federal legislations which complement and support the
policies on land use matter. These include:
(1) Land Conservation Act 1960;
(2) Protection of Wildlife Act 1972;
(3) National Park Act 1980; and
(4) Environmental Quality Act 1974.
The need for specific provisions for the
protection and preservation of mangroves
 It is necessary to ensure that our mangrove
resources are sustainably managed, utilized and
preserved for the benefits of present and future
generations.
 The protection and preservation of mangrove
forests need integrated cooperation among the
various government agencies.
 Although we have National Forestry Act 1984, It
is proposed that it should be amended to include
specific provisions for the protection and
preservation of mangroves.
Thank you
for your kind attention

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