One of the major objectives of the PA Financing Project is to develop Management and Business Plans for the three major Protected Areas in Peninsular Malaysia. NEPcon, a Danish non-profit environmental consultancy has been engaged for this purpose. Work to develop plans for Taman Negara NP, Endau Rompin NP, and Royal Belum State Park commenced in March 2015 in close consultation with the relevant PA agencies and state governments and is expected to be completed in 2016.
From 16-18 August 2015, a Stakeholder Workshop was held in Penang to obtain diverse inputs from PA managers, key agencies, NGOs, and government economic planning units. More than 50 participants attended. The aim of the workshop was to use insights gained from the process of consultation and data gathering towards preparing the Management and Business Plans for the three focal sites to develop a standard template that can be applied to all protected areas in the country. The Programme for the Workshop involved presentations by the multidisciplinary consulting team and breakout sessions during which participants had the opportunity to contribute their insights and views. Case studies were also shared from Bako National Park and the Kinabalu Park foothills to consider actual scenarios experienced by Malaysian protected area managers.
During the plenary session, participants raised several points:
- The roles of different agencies need to be clearly articulated and identified, and therefore amendments to legislation may become necessary;
- If making changes to the primary legislation is burdensome, one can resort to subsidiary legislation such as the provision to create rules or regulations. This approach may be utilised towards creating more enabling frameworks in relation to management plans, governance issues, finance, etc.;
- Management plans have been seen to be an important instrument to defend PAs in terms of controlling development within or along the peripheral area of PA;
- There is a need to resolve issues on boundary; and
- It may not be feasible for protected areas that are in remote locations to be obliged to produce management plans due to their remoteness and lack of human capital
From breakout session #1, there were several recommendations:
- Protected areas to retain a certain percentage of revenues, including creation of certain mechanisms within the current legislative framework that accommodate these needs;
- To consider the mechanism of “Payment for ecosystem services (PES)” in the plan;
- Concessionaire programmes to be considered in development for services (e.g. hospitality, visitors); and
- To produce a national standard interpretation of the term “protected areas”, and for Malaysia to conform to an international definition.
During breakout session #2, participants put forward several recommendations:
- Management plans are necessary even for small or undisturbed PAs, in order to manage and monitor the PAs and mitigate against encroachments and other external factors; and
- There can be certain level of flexibility in the law in relation to the idea of making management plans mandatory, but accountability is paramount.
However, there were also concerns raised, such as:
- During the process of developing previous management plans, it has been found that consultants hired for the purpose rarely involved the people in the protected areas, thus the lack of ownerships from the Park; and
- There were cases where consultants duplicating the management plan to another project sites.
During the breakout for business planning, discussions were held to address on mechanisms for potential revenue generation in protected areas. Table 2 highlights some of the points contributed by participants from the breakout session.
|a. Legislation and Financial|
|Establish trust fund for each park||High||Long||Park level, audited by State auditor|
|A percentage of revenue from each PA to be retained in trust fund||High||Long|
|Dedicated budget line from Federal government for PA management||High||Long||Federal government allocates PA budget to State, based on size of PAs|
|Establish conservation tax/levy based on “polluter pay’s principle”||High||Long||E.g. plantation companies pay conservation tax based on area of forest converted to plantation|
|Conservation fees (e.g. for hotels rooms, entrance fees)||Medium||Long||Could be a voluntary scheme|
|Events such as Bird Race to generate money for trust fund||Medium||Long|
|Souvenir merchandising||Medium||Medium||Outsource/work with corporate partners|
|One off special edition collector’s items, e.g. car number plates or commemorative coins/stamps||Medium||Short||Work with appropriate partner agencies|
|b. Human Resources|
|Increase efficiency by enhancing skills or expertise of staff||High||Short|
|“Corporatise” PA agency outlook to enhance fundraising/business capabilities||High||Long||E.g. establish PA marketing unit|
|Volunteer programme||Medium||Long||Volunteers to help address manpower shortfall for appropriate tasks|
|Hire contract staffs||Medium||Short|
|Work with State EXCO to develop special programmes||High||Medium||E.g. Seladang programme in Perak|
|Target CSR funds – e.g. “Adopt a trail”, “adopt a tree”, “Adopt a park, “Adopt a species”||Medium||Short|
|Concessionaires for accommodation, services||High||Short||Need to ensure fair concession agreements|
|Partner with NGOs to address shortfalls.||High||Short||E.g. Joint patrolling, education & research|
- The preparation of a management plan be ideally in the time frame of 12 months;
- Several stages in the reports, i.e. Inception, Interim, Draft Final and Final;
The follow up meetings with the three park authorities all emphasised the need for the individual Park to have one person responsible for the development of the Park management/business plan. This would ideally be the respective Park Manager. It would be ideal to have one person responsible at agency level for the development of the 10-year strategic plan. The business planning would also refer to these two individuals.
The meetings also highlighted the need to identify how existing resources are being allocated to key programmes in the Parks and the continuous discussion on how the resources:
- could be better prioritized to key programmes (which may also need to be identified); and
- how the existing resource based could be expanded.
Finally the meetings highlighted the need for active involvement and guidance from the agencies and discussed the lists of detailed information needed from the respective agencies.
The final ToC for management plan and business plan are as shown in Appendix F and Appendix G respectively. These ToC will be used in the preparation of the management plan and business plan for RBSP, TNNP and ERNP.