Protecting our Mangroves through sustainable actions and public-private-community partnerships
ABOUT US - NEXAMS
Nexus Action for Mangroves in Selangor (NexAMS) is a UK-Malaysia project funded by the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund Scheme. The 2-year project is aimed towards advancing policy and business initiatives for improved and inclusive mangrove protection via sustainable use and building public-private-community partnerships, with a focus on the state of Selangor. NexAMS is comprised of nine researchers from Universiti Malaya (UM), the University of Plymouth and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, with Dr Amy Then of UM’s Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science serving as the Malaysian principal investigator.
Researchers from Malaysia and the UK in the NexAMS team.
This project utilises stakeholder engagement, desk work and exchanging of knowledge to achieve five main objectives:
Analyse local, state, federal and international plans, policies and commitments to identify gaps and opportunities to support sustainable development within mangroves;
Assess past, present and potential future threats to mangroves;
Identify achievable actions for businesses to minimise their impact on mangroves, support mangrove restoration and contribute to coastal community development;
Drive community engagement to identify optimum areas for mangrove protection for sustainable use;
Engage, outreach and targeted communications with various stakeholder groups.
These objectives aim to improve and benefit coastal communities while simultaneously supporting environmentally sustainable economic development in Selangor and beyond.
Stakeholder engagement meeting with project partners at the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA)
Over the past year NexAMS had organised impactful webinars with international experts and scholars, initiated discussions with state policymakers on policy reform matters for mangrove conservation, successfully launched policy briefs related to nature-based solutions, and conducted a study on community ecosystem services.
In our early phases, we developed a series of monthly webinars to build stakeholder capacity and exchange knowledge. The first knowledge exchange webinar in January 2021 offered solutions to challenges faced by academics in turning research findings into government action. Our guest speaker, a former press secretary from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), spoke on better ways to connect with government agencies and how to build a good rapport with them. The second webinar took a deeper dive into policy-making pathways within the Malaysian government. Using a peer-to-peer learning format, the session guided participants through the intricate and often enigmatic process of pushing conservation-related policies through executive and legislative organs. The final webinar featured Professor Mark Huxham, Chair of the Association of Coastal Ecosystem Services (ACES) and Professor of Environmental Biology at the Edinburgh Napier University as our keynote speaker. Professor Huxham drew on his experiences in setting up Kenya's Mikoko Pamoja, the first community-led REDD+ (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project of its kind in the world and winner of the United Nations Developed Programme Equator Prize in 2017 and explained how voluntary carbon trading schemes can be set up in a developing country. Overall, the webinars provided the impact needed to initiate much-needed conversations on evidence-based policy making practices that have been lacking in this field.
In May 2021, NexAMS launched two policy briefs, in partnership with researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia and the University of Plymouth. The policy briefs advocated the practices of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and Integrated Greening of Grey Infrastructure (IGGI). The launch was held during a global webinar event supported by the British High Commission of Kuala Lumpur together with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). NbS is a powerful way of addressing the difficult balance between coastal development and conservation through ecological restoration, rehabilitation, reconciliation, protection and ecological engineering. Meanwhile, the IGGI is a relatively new conservation strategy that promotes biodiversity amendments on infrastructure when green solutions are not possible. More than 60 people registered for the event, with the participants giving their feedback:
"Data from mangroves are encouraging. We have to find a way to co-exist with nature. Fishermen's rights need to be heard..."
"Best solution would be to protect and preserve natural settings, or to create symbiosis between natural and man-made ecosystems."
In May 2021, two policy briefs were launched by NexAMS to address the practices of nature-based solutions and greening of grey infrastructure.
NexAMS is currently performing two research projects. The first project involves conducting interview-based fieldwork with local communities in mangrove-rich districts in Selangor to collect data on sustainable mangrove management. The results of the ‘Mangrove and Society’ study will help us identify community-relevant strategies in mangrove replanting efforts with desirable ecosystem services. The results will be published in NexAMS’ newsletter and website.
NexAMS researchers interviewing locals from the villages in Sabak Bernam.
The second research project began in January 2022, this time focusing on a business case study that aims to identify the incentives for businesses to engage in mangrove conservation. This second study will involve surveying large and small businesses on mangrove replanting efforts, and interviewing corporations on their perception of climate change action through the protection of mangroves. The findings will be significant for managers of sustainably-minded organisations in making their ambitious Sustainable Development Goal contributions a reality.
Participants in mangrove-replanting exercise supported by NexAMS.
NexAMS maintains an official project website, distributes e-newsletters and posts regular updates on social media. Apart from ensuring high visibility for all our activities, our communication channels have attracted a large number of followers and interested collaborators. Collaborations with partners such as the British High Commission of Kuala Lumpur, Climate Governance Malaysia and the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce have increased PR visibility and helped NexAMS to gain audiences in Malaysia and abroad.
GET TO KNOW US BETTER
If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, join events, or learn about NexAMS work, visit the NexAMS website at https://nexams2020.wixsite.com/nexams2020
You can also follow NexAMS on Facebook: @nexams.my