Recognising and Reporting OECMs in Malaysia2024-01-26T15:05:12+00:00

Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) achieve the in-situ conservation of important and vulnerable ecosystems outside of Protected Areas.

An OECM is a “a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio-economic, and other locally relevant values”

Convention on Biological Diversity, Decision 14/8

About the Project

With the support from GEF-SGP Malaysia, we worked with local partners from 2020 to 2022 to explore the potential of an OECM approach in achieving Malaysia’s commitments to Target 6 of the National Policy on Biological Diversity and internationally to Aichi Target 11 and Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Targets.

Read More

The overall aim of the project was to explore the policy and institutional pathways needed for Malaysia’s other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) to contribute towards area-based in-situ biodiversity conservation in a more formal manner alongside Protected Areas.

Click here to download the project summary in Bahasa Malaysia.

Focal areas:

  • Engage stakeholders to introduce the OECM concept and explore the potential for an OECM approach in Malaysia.
    Stakeholder consultations were held to introduce the OECM concept and the IUCN-WCPA Technical Guidance on OECMs and engage stakeholders in identifying potential OECMs nationwide. A Stakeholder Workshop was held in June 2022 to share the potential OECM site assessment results and gather input.
  • Investigate potential OECMs in Malaysia and develop a portfolio of Malaysian OECMs.
    A Call for Case Studies was held to invite stakeholders to submit case studies of potential marine, coastal, freshwater and terrestrial OECMs. Submitted case studies were reviewed by the project’s Independent Advisory Group and 22 candidate sites that broadly met the IUCN OECM criteria were shortlisted. These candidate sites were taken forward to the site-assessment stage using the IUCN OECM site-assessment tool and IUCN WCPA Technical Guidance as our main basis.
  • Develop mechanisms for recognising and reporting OECMs.
    A strategic policy assessment of the challenges and opportunities for implementing an OECM approach in a Malaysian context was conducted in 2020 and 2021. This included recommendations for the legal, policy and institutional reforms that would enable OECMs to contribute towards area- based in-situ conservation in a formal manner.
  • Disseminate information on the Malaysian OECM process, including internationally.
    Insights and findings from the Malaysian OECM experience have been shared across various platform including at national and international meetings, such as at the Sharing regional experiences on OECMs in Asia 2020 (virtual series), Malaysian Conservation Conference 2022, and the 2 nd Asia Parks Congress.

Protected Areas have nature conservation as its primary management objective, whereas OECMs achieve in-situ conservation irrespective of its objectives.

© Achier Chung, Reef Guardian

Governance and management are closely linked. What are the similarities and differences in the governance and management of Protected Areas and OECMs?

Governance Types

The IUCN has categorised governance into four broad types. Both Protected Areas and OECMs fall under one of these governance types.

Read More
  • GOVERNANCE BY GOVERNMENT – Federal or State ministry/agency in charge or governmentdelegated management to a non-government entity
  • SHARED GOVERNANCE – co-governance or through transboundary arrangement
  • PRIVATE GOVERNANCE – by individual owner/s, non-profit or for-profit organisational owner/s
  • GOVERNANCE BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND/OR LOCAL COMMUNITIES -Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories, (ICCAs)

Management Approaches

Protected Areas should have biodiversity conservation as their primary management objective. OECMs deliver biodiversity conservation outcomes regardless of their objectives

Read More
  • PRIMARY CONSERVATION – The OECM has biodiversity conservation as its primary objective but the site is not recognised as a Protected Area.
  • SECONDARY CONSERVATIONIn-situ biodiversity conservation is a secondary management objective of the OECM. e.g. riparian buffers, ICCAs.
  • ANCILLARY CONSERVATIONIn-situ biodiversity conservation is not a management objective. However, the OECM achieves in-situ biodiversity conservation outcomes as a by-product of its management activities e.g. cultural sites.

We are field-testing the IUCN’s guidance and tools to investigate potential OECMs and explore how this approach could operate in Malaysia.

© Chien Lee

Site-based Assessment Phase

We field-tested the criteria and site-assessment tool developed by the IUCN to assess potential sites in Malaysia. At the Inception Workshop, we consulted with the project’s independent Advisory Group to review the potential case study sites submitted by stakeholders in response to the project’s Call for Case Studies. On their recommendations, we have selected a number of sites that broadly meet the OECM criteria for further exploration.

The site-assessment phase began once consent has been obtained from the site authority. The assessment was then conducted in three stages:

Download the detailed OECM site-based assessment process in English and Bahasa Malaysia.

Project Updates

The equitable governance and effective management of OECMs deliver outcomes for the sustained long-term in-situ conservation of biodiversity.

© Chien Lee

Additional Info

Have more questions?

Check out our FAQs or contact SEARRP’s Science Impact Coordinator Melissa Payne.

Go to Top