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Tasik Chini's UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Status Is Facing A Review

The authorities will have until September 2022 to comply with the recommendations.

Cover image via Malay Mail

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The Chini Lake, more famous as Tasik Chini, in Pahang, was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve in 2009. However, its status could be under threat.

According to a Malaysiakini report, a review of Pahang's Tasik Chini will be conducted in the following months regarding its status as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The review, which is periodic every 10 years, will see the global organisation recommend actions to be taken, of which authorities will have until September 2022 to implement, or risk losing the certification.

A preliminary list of recommendations has already been submitted to the relevant authorities in May, said the UNESCO Media Services Unit, reported the online portal today, 3 July.

Tasik Chini, which is Malaysia's second-largest natural lake, is home to a rich and unique tropical bio-diversity

Spanning an area of over 12,000 acres, the lake is famous for becoming a natural "floating garden" every August and September, when thousands of white and pink lotus flowers dot the surface.

However, in the years since certification, the lake has been severely affected by nearby mining activities

Despite being gazetted by the Pahang state government as a Forest Reserve in March 2019 – and the state no longer approving new permits in the Tasik Chini area – it is believed that at least one mine is still in operation today, according to a Bernama report from last month.

The Bernama report said that prior to the gazetting, a total of 14 mining licenses were issued, which led to many sites adjacent to the lake, compromising the natural flora and fauna.

Following public concern amidst a viral social media campaign called #SaveTasikChini earlier this year, the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah recently ordered that the Chini Forest Reserve be expanded and that mining works be halted immediately, the report stated.

"Tengku Hassanal said Tasik Chini is nature's diamond in Pahang and the global recognition as the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Malaysia must be safeguarded," the Comptroller of the Royal Household of the Sultan of Pahang, Datuk Ahmad Khirrizal Ab Rahman, was quoted as saying.

Following his declaration, the Pahang state government has affirmed that they are working to rehabilitate the areas affected by the mines, according to New Straits Times. The state government is also mulling the creation of a biodiversity corporation to monitor and coordinate these efforts.

Regent of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah

Image via Malay Mail/Bernama

In May this year, photos of a trailer carrying a colossal tree trunk in Temerloh, Pahang went viral:

Meanwhile, a project involving reclamation of land spanning 33km from Umbai to Sungai Udang has left residents in Melaka worried about the future of the state: