12 December 2016 (Monday) – Malaysia received the Gold Award for its new Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) recently at the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) held in Cancun, Mexico, 4-17 December 2016.
The award, accorded to Malaysia for making the most progress in the development of its national biodiversity CHM, was presented to Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).
FRIM has developed Malaysia Biological Diversity CHM (MyCHM) which was launched in 2008 and accessible via www.chm.frim.gov.my. The website evolved from FRIM’s initiative since 2004 to establish a website focusing on flora information.
In 2010, MyCHM was enhanced to facilitate easier public access to biodiversity data in line with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s (NRE) aspiration of turning the website into a one-stop repository for Malaysia’s biodiversity information. Among others, smart search features were incorporated, easing data maintenance and facilitating the data updating to reflect the most recent taxanomic revisions. Scientific data and photographs on Malaysian biodiversity were also enriched.
With the increase in biodiversity data and the need to introduce data analysis, a new MyCHM website was developed in 2014 and rebranded as Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS) to reflect its function as a one-stop repository for the country’s biodiversity information. The main focus was to provide statistical analysis on biodiversity data and advanced searches as well as to make the website more user-friendly.
As a result, users within and outside Malaysia can easily search for information on Malaysia’s biodiversity via http://www.mybis.gov.my as it is accessible through desktop, tablet and mobile displays.
The data providers comprise various agencies including FRIM, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Institute for Medical Research, Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM), Department of Marine Park Malaysia, as well as non-government organisations such as Birds, Nature and Us (BNU).
The development of the current system is in line with Malaysia’s National Policy on Biological Diversity, which is to enhance scientific and technological knowledge; and provide educational, social, cultural and aesthetic values of biological diversity to society. It is also part of the country’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to facilitate reporting and the transfer of biodiversity and conservation-related information both nationally and internationally.
To date, the database records information on nearly 39,000 species of flora and fauna; including over 2,500 pictures, conservation status of 1,062 plants, 480 biodiversity experts, and 1,069 publications. Up to Sept 2016, the website recorded 982,098 visitors and 528 ibook downloads.