Malaysia can do more to halt deforestation, says MPOC chief
17/08/2023 (The Edge Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur - While Malaysia and Indonesia can be considered examples of “success stories” in deforestation, more needs to be done, said Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) chief executive Belvinder Kaur Sron.
Belvinder said the rate of deforestation in Malaysia has been trending lower for some time, and MPOC will continue to work with all stakeholders to halt the spread of deforestation.
“We have shown that we can cultivate palm oil in a way that preserves our environment for the future whilst providing economic opportunities in the present,” said Belvinder via an email to The Edge.
She was commenting on a report by Washington-based Global Forest Watch (GFW).
GFW senior geographic information system research manager Liz Goldman had stated that there have been success stories in Malaysia and Indonesia for a number of years now, ever since the 2015 fires, which were linked to El Niño.
“We’re really seeing government and corporate actions coming together to have a positive influence there,” she was quoted as saying in a report by UK’s The Guardian on the progress of deforestation throughout the world.
The report said that falling deforestation rates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia and Brazil could help efforts to combat climate change and protect biodiversity.
Goldman said the data indicated that Malaysia and Indonesia have made strides where deforestation was concerned.
Previously, GFW, an online platform which allows for near real-time monitoring of forests, said there was a sharp drop in forest loss in both Malaysia and Indonesia since 2017.
GFW also said Malaysia reduced primary forest loss by 70% between 2014 and 2020.
In Malaysia, efforts to ensure better sustainability of the industry through the establishment of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification scheme have also contributed to reduced deforestation.
The MSPO’s high standards are applicable to palm oil industry players, from corporations to over 300,000 smallholders nationwide.
Belvinder’s comments came ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, to be held from Nov 30 until Dec 12, 2023, in Dubai.