Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Forum on Biodiversity & Development Post 2015

 The Forum was officiated by the Rt Hon the Prime Minister of Malaysia,
YAB Dato' Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abd. Razak
 The Forum discussion was participated by representatives of the International Org
 Participants at the Forum
 The PM reminds us that the protection of our planet will ensure that we bequeath future generations a world worth inheriting
 Exhibition of Models of Sustainable Development: SDSN Malaysian Chapter:
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Exhibition of Models of SD: Danum Valley Conservation Area 

   1. Introduction.  The High Level Forum on Biodiversity & Development Post 2015 was held from the 3rd to 6th November, 2013 at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, organised jointly by the Office of the Science Advisor, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and supported by the Norwegian Environment Agency, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment (NRE).  The Forum, as Professor Emeritus Dato’ Seri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid, the key person in its organisation, spelled out both in the programme booklet and his welcoming remarks, was to provide the platform to discuss issues that can contribute towards the formulation of the post 2015 global development agenda to ensure that we move towards a sustainable model that would balance development with the need to preserve and enhance our environment, taking recognisance of the increasing interconnectedness of the world and the many challenges that it faces which encompasses population explosion, social inequality, food security, depletion of resources, loss of biodiversity,  waste management, glass house gas emission and climate change. As sustainability becomes crucial, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is expected to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as the post-2015 development agenda. This International Forum was attended by representative of international organisations such as FAO, IPBES Secretariat, UNESCO, UNEP, UNDP; officials of the government ministries and departments, universities and NGOs.

   2. Opening Address.  In his opening address, YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun A. Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, reminded the audience that the Muslim faith taught that human beings are the trustees of the world and with the many challenges facing it, we must pursue sustainable development – development that is fair and equitable.  Malaysia is committed to a 40 percent reduction in the intensity of emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 2020, the undertaking given at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit and accordingly, has kept its green cover at 74 percent and that 56.4 of its land area today is still forested and it will continue to strike a balance between environmental conservation and development.  Dato’ Seri Najib indicated that the country’s economic model must have the interest of the people and is guided by the principles of high income, inclusiveness and sustainability.  Recognising that biodiversity provides the fundamental needs of mankind , he advocated the sustainable use of resources and protection of biodiversity must be incorporated into the post-2015 development framework.  However, the success of sustainable efforts requires the collective effort of the global communities to achieve the desired goals.

  3.  Panel Discussion.  The panel discussion, chaired by Sir Robert Watson, former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Associate Director for Environment in the Office of the President of the US, revolved around Integrating Biodiversity in Sustainable Development Goals and members of the panel were made up of representatives of FAO, UNESCO, UNEP, UNDP and World Bank.  The speakers reiterated the critical importance of biodiversity as it provides the needs of mankind such as food security, medical treatments, ecosystem services and that it be the anchor factor to be incorporated in SDG.

   4. Informal Consultation on IPBES & Capacity Building. This consultation took a significant period of the Forum, which according to the programme was allocated two days.  I did not participate in this consultation.

  5. Exhibition.  The exhibition, held outside the Forum hall, entitled ‘Rising to the Challenge’, displayed the models of sustainable development initiatives being undertaken in Malaysia covering:

a. Building Resilient Communities – the model was on Life Cycle Disaster Management by Universiti Sains Malaysia.

b. Advancing Social Inclusiveness – Cure & Care a holistic approach addressing drug addiction spearheaded by ISTIC.

c. Life Long Learning and Education – Teach for Malaysia project with a mission to enhance quality of education in Malaysia.  Another activity under this category is Inspiring Next Generation Scientists led by University of Malaya and supported by MOSTI is aimed at generating interest and equip young individuals with high quality scientific understanding.

d. Health for All – Affordable Diagnostics project by Universiti Sains Malaysia in the development of rapid antigen test kit to provide accurate disease diagnosis to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.  Another model is the Non- Infectious Diseases project on Malaysia Cohort led by UKM and MOH.

e. Green Industries – The manufacturing of green chemicals by MYBiomass Sdn Bhd initiated by MIGHT and the conversion of plastic waste into renewable energy by Syngas Sdn Bhd are the two models under this category of SD initiatives.

f. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security – Zero Waste Campus project of University of Malaya is conducted with the objective of cutting down waste to the minimum through an integrated waste management model.  Also, the ‘White Coffin’ project of USM in banning the use of polystyrene food containers on campus and instead encourage use of eco-friendly packaging.

g.  Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – Malaysian Lakes project initiated by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia with National Hydrological Institute of Malaysia which formulated the 8 strategies for the sustainable management and development of lakes in the country. Also, the Langkawi Geopark, a holistic approach to sustainable tourism.

 h.  Sustainable Cities – The Low Carbon Cities Framework of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water that provides guidelines to local authorities, town planners, architects and individuals on the nation’s aim of carbon reduction.  MURNInet developed in 1998 was to determine the level of sustainability of urban areas by using a set of indicators.

i. Business with Soul – United Plantations is recognised as the best managed, eco-friendly and integrated plantation in the country.  Another business with soul project is Cess Money Systems whereby enterprises and smallholders contribute a small part of their revenue to support promotion, research, innovation and sustained growth of the industry.

6.  Discussion and Concluding Remarks.  I am greatly heartened by the organisation of this Forum.  Firstly, the person involved in it, Prof. Zakri, is a graduate of the same College as I am, the College of Agriculture Malaysia and a friend.  I am proud of the various appointments and positions he holds both on the national and international arena – among them Science Advisor to the Government; Chair of IPNES, and Special Advisor on Science to the Secretary General of the UN.  Secondly, knowing that the Prime Minister, in his address, demonstrated his commitment to a development that balances income with environmental consideration.  His presence at the Forum was also testimony of his continued interest in science related activities and support for his Science Advisor.  Thirdly, the Exhibition on Models of Sustainable Development initiatives enhances my awareness of these activities, many of which I am not aware of.  I have always looked forward to these sort of Fora and Conferences as these provide the latest information on the subject besides keeping in touch with friends from various organisations who attended these functions.


Written and Posted on 24 December, 2013.             



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Memoirs of Tan Sri Ani Arope

 The Book
 Tan Sri Ani Arope addressing the audience
 Tan Sri Leo Moggie officially launching the book
 The friends, associates and officials of TNB who filled the hall at ILSAS during the launching

   The book 'Memoirs of Tan Sri Ani Arope' was launched on December 17, 2014 at ILSAS UNITEN in Bandar Baru Bangi by Tan Sri Leo Moggie, Chairman of TNB in the presence of around 150 made up of members of the family (Puan Sri Saenah, his children, Sakinah and Ismail); ex- CEOs and officials of TNB, friends in agencies he was associated with (UPM, MARDI, Department of Agriculture, Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia).  The ceremony started with the citation on the author by his own son, Ismail; followed by the address by Tan Sri Ani and finally the launching address by Tan Sri Leo Moggie.
  Ismail in his citation speech confessed that he was quite shy of his father when he was young as he regards him as a towering personality with quite a few legends associated with his dad. Tan Sri Ani, in his usual sense of humour, started his speech with his jokes.  What sparked him to write his memoirs was when at the age of 78, he was asked to undertake a thorough medical exam for the renewal of his flying licence.  The doctor, at the end of that medical diagnosis, told Tan Sri the three words he mentioned that he would never forget 'You have cancer' that it was stage 4 and terminal. Tan Sri provided a brief insight of how he takes this challenge and has outlived the time frame that the doctor has indicated that he would survive the disease.  He covered briefly his early days in school where his close friend was a Jew and the community he lived in was multiracial - the background scenario that has made him able to live in harmony with the different ethnic groups and religious background in the institutions that he has served.  Tan Sri Leo Moggie expressed how happy he was when he was invited to officially launch the book.  He particularly highlighted the greatest legacy that Tan Sri Ani Arope has left is training and human resource development.
  I have, in fact, purchased the book a few weeks ago, before the official launching, when I was informed by my brother, Ahmad Shadzli, that the memoirs was available at the MPH Bookstores. Tan Sri has a special place in the family and to me specially as he has, in many ways helped my career development particularly at the early part when he got me to join MARDI in 1972. We were also neighbours when were living in the Government quarters at the then Crop Production Station Serdang.  Although Tan Sri Ani left the Institute early as he subsequently became the CEO of a number of organisations (RRIM, Guthrie, TNB) we have remained friends and I make a point of visiting him every Hari Raya.  This was the reason that spurred me to get hold of the book as soon as possible.  It took me just a couple of days to go through it.  It is made up of six parts covering The Early Days; Marriage, Career and Challenges of a Growing Nation; Life After Retirement; Ani Arope in Recent Years; Ani Arope's Speeches and finally, Government, People and Power - a Prayer for the Nation.
    There were a number of things that are of interest to me in the book.  The first topic of interest was his early childhood days.  In the course of our friendship there never occurred a time when this was discussed.  The only thing that I am aware of was that Tan Sri has Achenese blood lineage and that his father was working in the Agriculture Department.  As narrated in the book I did not realise he has a difficult childhood and that he was raised by a single mother.  Tan Sri has served in a number of organisations. His first appointment was as agronomist in the Department of Agriculture, then as Deputy Director MARDI and CEO of RRIM, Guthrie and finally as Chairman and CEO of TNB.  His biggest contribution particularly when he was in MARDI and RRIM was in human resource development where he provided opportunities for research officers in these organisations to pursue the highest academic achievement in obtaining doctorate degrees. Tan Sri in his modesty did not highlight this but from the testimonies of the officers who has benefitted from his futuristic action, this was his biggest contribution in developing human capital resource at the initial stages of R&D interest in the country.  Tan Sri's stint in the various organisations, however, lacks the details of the his management philosophies underlying the various actions he has taken.
   His high profile and successful career were not without their pitfalls and challenges.  His oft discussed unhappy incident is the misunderstanding on the establishment of the Independent Power Producers (IPP) with the Government, which he as the CEO of TNB, refused to sign the agreement as he felt the terms of the agreement was not in the best interest of the TNB.
  Tan Sri Ani lives an exemplary life after his official retirement. Guided by his philosophy that high achievers are avid readers and that high achievers have a wide range of interest, he continues to devote his time to a few companies which he serves on their boards.  He believes in keeping fit and healthy and accordingly engages in cycling, tennis and gardening.  He has a patience for flying and picked up this hobby at the age of 70 and in the book has described the various flying routes in the country that he has taken.
  For his contributions to the country he has been accorded awards and recognition among which is the Tan Sriship and the Honorary PhD from UNITEN.
  I write this review as a tribute to this towering Malaysian and a friend that I have high regard for and that his legacies, words of wisdom and practicing healthy and happy lifestyle will be the guiding light for generations to come, in accordance with the simple autograph message in my copy of his  memoir 'Continue to provide the guidance to the young set'.

Written and published on 18/12/2013