From left: Oman Education Minister Dr Madiha Ahmed Nasser al Ahaibaniya, UNESCO Deputy DG Xing Qu and Ismail during the award presentation ceremony. Ismail delivering his speech at the ceremony.

 

17 November 2021 (Wednesday) – Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) has been chosen to receive the 2021 UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation alongside with Universidad para la Cooperacion Internacional (UCI), Costa Rica.

This prestigious award is conferred to recognise outstanding contributions by individuals, groups of individuals, institutes or organisations in the management or preservation of the environment, consistent with the policies, aims and objectives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and in relation to UNESCO’s programmes in this field.

Established 32 years ago through a generous donation from Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said of Oman, the prize is awarded every two years.

FRIM Director General (DG) Dr Ismail Parlan received the prize at the award ceremony held during the 41st UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France, today. 

FRIM was selected in recognition of its initiatives to monitor and preserve endangered species of national interest, produce publications such as the Malaysian Plant Red List for the conservation purpose as well as document the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities.

FRIM is one of the leading institutions in tropical forest research in the world. It has developed not only research work on biodiversity, forest landscape ecosystems, forest produce, economy, and pre-commercialisation of new or improved products, but also contributed significantly on biodiversity conservation at the national level.

FRIM has recently published the ‘Malaysia Red List: Plants of Peninsular Malaysia. Vol. 1’ which contains the conservation status of 1,353 taxa found in Peninsular Malaysia. 

Meanwhile, UCI was awarded for its support to create new biosphere reserves in Latin America in Sumaco (Ecuador), Cabo de Hornos (Chile) and Agua y Paz (Costa Rica) and the promotion of regenerative practices in the biosphere reserves.

The Prize Jury also recognised both the FRIM and UCI’s public outreach and awareness activities involving students, local communities and eco-tourism.

“FRIM was gazetted as a Natural Heritage Site in 2009 and officially declared as a National Heritage in Malaysia in 2012. At present, FRIM is working towards attaining the recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were included in the tentative list in 2017 and targeting to submit the complete document for FRIM’s nomination in two to three years’ time,” said Ismail in his speech. 

“I hope, winning this award and having the opportunity to be here will help FRIM to promote the importance of forestry research as well as FRIM’s nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” he added.

The Deputy Permanent Delegate of Malaysia to UNESCO, Afidah Arshad, also congratulated FRIM, saying that this recognition clearly shows that FRIM’s important role as the leading government agency in biodiversity and environmental conservation efforts is internationally recognised.