University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) Assistant Professor Dr Wong Ee Phin is the local chair for the 29th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) held from 21 to 25 July 2019 in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The local organising committee (LOC) comprises of volunteers from various academic institutions including Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, local non-governmental organisations and private sectors. During the congress, the LOC has contributed to activities under the Equity, Inclusion and Diversity sessions, collaborative sessions with Conservation Optimism, ICCB 2019 declaration, local tours and also supported joint events between SCB and the University of Nottingham Malaysia.
The international congress was attended by more than 1300 delegates from 87 countries, namely conservation stakeholders and academics, who presented results and findings from the diverse field of conservation biology, covering genetics, ecology, biogeography, landscape connectivity, technology, community, psychology, culture, economics, endangered species recovery and many more.
At the congress, UNM is one of the champion level sponsor. Not surprisingly, many UNM alumnus, lecturers, post-doctoral, postgraduates and undergraduates, mostly from the School of Environment and Geographical Sciences, have participated in the congress, presenting their research on landscape connectivity, wildlife conservation, and freshwater ecology. The Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) research group gave five presentations and were involved in two discussions during ICCB 2019, including a discussion organised by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Asian Elephant Specialists Group (AsESG), on “Challenges confronting conservation of Asian elephants: securing corridors as a mitigation strategy”.
One of the featured theme of the congress was on the impact of plastic on the environment, featuring renowned international conservation speakers including Fabien Cousteau and Craig Leeson. To highlight regional issues, the local organising committee put together a discussion on the impact of plastics from the “Perspectives from a South East Asian Country”, featuring UNM alumnus Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu who is also the Deputy Secretary General of Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Malaysia, Professor Lee Yeong Yeh from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr Yusof Shuaib from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and UNM researcher Dr Wong Ee Phin as moderator.
The congress featured many interesting talks on a wide-range of topics, from diversity in science, community involvement in conservation, to the endangered Sumatran rhinos. The LOC lend their support as well, to an open discussion on “challenges in saving Wildlife and Wild Places” moderated by Dr Anthony J. Giordano on the last day of the congress, featuring notable panellists: Dato’ Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, Dr Sheila Vergara Director from ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, and Dr Vivek Menon the Chair of IUCN AsESG and CEO of Wildlife Trust of India. The discussion touched on the challenges on stopping wildlife extinction and highlighted opportunities for transboundary conservation initiatives in ASEAN.
University of Nottingham Malaysia also supported thirteen pre-congress short courses at UNM’s Malaysia campus and Kuala Lumpur Teaching Center, while the Careers Night was held at ICCB 2019. The Careers Night was a social event targeted at students and early-career professionals at the conference to enhance their employability and professional development. UNM Staff, lecturers, and volunteers from Society for Conservation Biology were on-site during the event to assist with CV writing and giving mock interviews to students and early career conservationists.
The SCB has released The 2019 Kuala Lumpur Declaration: The Species Extinction Crisis is a Crisis of Humanity developed from the ICCB 2019. The LOC has contributed to the drafting of this declaration.
(Article image caption:An open discussion on the impact of plastics on human and small marine wildlife, Malaysia's road map to zero single-use plastics and the recent ASEAN declaration in Bangkok on combatting marine debris. (from the left):Dr Yusof Shuaib from UMT, Professor Lee Yeong Yeh from USM, the moderator Dr.Wong Ee Phin and Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu from MESTECC.
(Thumbnail image caption: ICCB 2019 hosted a series of short courses before the start of the congress at UNM main campus in and at the Kuala Lumpur Teaching Center).
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Posted on 20th August 2019