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Consultation opens on Malaysia's HCV National Interpretation

A series of regional events across Malaysia has started a month-long stakeholder consultation process, facilitated by Proforest.

The events held in each of Malaysia’s three regions – Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia – are part of the important process of developing a National Interpretation for the Identification of HCVs in Malaysia. The process, for which Proforest had been appointed the Secretariat, is overseen by the HCV Malaysia Toolkit Steering Committee. HCVs are biological, ecological, social or cultural values which are considered significant or critically important at the national, regional or global level. Since these values, and levels of threat to these values, will vary according to the local context, it is important that guidance for the identification, management and monitoring of these is adapted to the country context.

The meetings provide a valuable opportunity to gain feedback from stakeholders on the first draft of the Malaysia High Conservation Value National Interpretation (HCVNI) document. They also serve a secondary purpose of raising awareness about the HCV approach, which remains an unfamiliar concept to many. The stakeholder consultation process therefore aims to be as accessible and participatory as possible. To ensure this, a range of stakeholders were invited to provide input to the meetings.

These included relevant government agencies, producer companies, organisations and institutions that represent local communities, environmental and social organisations, academics and researchers that represent the wider public or have an interest in the way ecosystems are managed and government bodies.

The structure of the process itself is testament to its highly participatory nature. The HCV Malaysia Toolkit Steering Committee, established in 2015, comprises FSC Malaysia, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA), the Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council (MPOCC), the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and WWF-Malaysia. The Steering Committee later formed the Technical Working Group (TWG) – a group of subject matter specialists to provide advice and technical inputs for the development of the HCV Malaysia toolkit. Members represent 30 different stakeholder groups from across Malaysia. The TWG membership is still open to interested stakeholders and especially welcomes social NGOs which are currently under-represented. 

Proforest has extensive experience and expertise in HCV assessment, monitoring and capacity building, as well as HCV toolkit development. As Secretariat, Proforest’s responsibilities include coordinating and facilitating public consultations and meeting of the TWG and Steering Committee, preparation and development of all draft documents, and supporting the identification and the field testing of the draft HCV toolkit with potential partners.

The next step will be to produce a second HCVNI draft which will also be open to comments later in the year. The final draft of the document will provide HCV assessors, resource managers, and auditors with a “best practice” guide to identifying, managing and monitoring HCVs. This will be used in conjunction with the High Conservation Resource Network’s (HCVRN) Common Guidance on the Identification of High Conservation Values, which provides guidance on the interpretation of the HCV definitions and their identification in practice, to achieve standardisation in use of the HCV approach.

The first draft of the Malaysian HCVNI document is now available on the Proforest and HCVRN website, and is open to comment through the attached form. Deadline for comment is 30 October 2017.

For more information,