YTL Corp contributes US$2 million to “YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet”
(R-L) Tan Sri Dato' Sri (Dr) Yeoh Tiong Lay, Chairman of YTL Corp; Nigel Sizer, Vice President of Rare Conservation (Asia); Minister of Tourism, YB Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen; Tan Sri Dato' (Dr) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Corp; Ruth Yeoh, Director of Investments, YTL Corp; Suzieanna Ramlee, YTL Fellow; and Rejani Kunjappan from WWF Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur, 21 June 2010
YTL Corporation today launched the “YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet”, an unprecedented community-based conservation programme that is set to directly benefit environmentally-threatened sites in Malaysia and Asia, home to some of the world’s richest natural resources and most extraordinary species and habitats.
The US$2 million Fellowship fund in support of Rare, an international conservation group with success in 50 countries, is one of the many conservation gifts by YTL. The launch event was led by three generations of the Yeoh family – Tan Sri Dato' Seri (Dr.) Yeoh Tiong Lay, Executive Chairman; Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director; and Ruth Yeoh, Director of Investments together with Nigel Sizer, Vice President for Asia, Rare Conservation. The mock cheque ceremony was officiated by Minister of Tourism, YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen.
Speaking at the event, Ruth Yeoh who also serves on Rare’s Board as their youngest Trustee said, “Like many groups, YTL supports climate change mitigation at all levels – from the emerging cap and trade market to national policy and raising awareness. But YTL feels passionately that we cannot meet the challenge of climate change without mobilizing local communities living in and around Asia, building local leadership capacity, and providing alternatives to people whose options are already quite limited.
“That is why YTL Corporation is supporting Rare, in training Fellows across Asia to run campaigns that raise awareness of the issues and offer communities tools for adapting to and mitigating climate change. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before us: Given the right tools, Asia’s local communities can both contribute to and benefit from conservation of our rich natural resources, while playing a leading role on the world stage as we tackle the global threat of climate change.”
Over the next four years, the “YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet” will run Rare’s proven model of training local leaders in Asia, to foster conservation at the community level while improving their livelihoods through what are called Pride campaigns – so named because they inspire people to take pride in the natural assets that make their communities valuable, while at the same time ensuring they have viable alternatives to environmentally destructive behaviours.
Nigel Sizer, Vice President of Asia, Rare Conservation said, “This announcement could not come at a more critical time. Over the three generations represented here today by the Yeoh family, we have gone from a world where resources seemed unlimited to one where we find the climate changing, an ozone layer depleted, most of the world’s fisheries in collapse, tropical forests reduced to half their original extent, and water scarcity and contamination casting a dark shadow over millions of peoples lives.
“We now have, I believe, only one more generation, Ruth’s generation, the next 20-30 years, to reverse these trends and find a way to live within the natural limits of this very Rare Planet.”
(R-L) Tan Sri Dato' Sri (Dr) Yeoh Tiong Lay, Chairman of YTL Corp; Suzieanna Ramlee, YTL Fellow; Tan Sri Dato' (Dr) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Corp; and Ruth Yeoh, Director of Investments, YTL Corp.
The “YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet” will in total recruit more than 100 local leaders in the next four years to run Pride campaigns for forest and marine conservation, as well as for climate change adaptation primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines and in the rest of Asia. For its 1st year, the Fellowship has already identified 22 sites in the Coral Triangle, one of the world’s richest marine ecosystem, to save its dwindling reefs and fisheries.
One of the beneficiaries of the programme is the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Sabah where efforts are currently underway to gazette this marine protected area as well as reverse the effects of overfishing that is threatening its local economic lifelines and ecotourism. YTL Fellow, Suzieanna Ramlee, and Rejani Kunjappan, who leads WWF Malaysia’s national team of community outreach specialists, are both heading the Tun Mustapha project, helping the local fishermen to better manage their fisheries, not just for conservation but for their own livelihoods.
Speaking at the press conference, Suzieanna shared about her experience with Rare saying, “The training I’ve received at Rare thought me about loving nature and helped me to boldly speak up about the issues we face in my village in Kudat. We depend on the sea for our livelihood and we are responsible for preserving marine life and the Rare Pride Campaign teaches us about our responsibility towards the environment. This is important not only to us but the future of our children depend on it.”
The Rare Pride Campaigns engages the community and instills awareness and a sense of responsibility in local communities. Suzieanna’s story is one of many who have discovered new passion and purpose and have compassion for their cause. Rare, together with YTL aim to rise up more leaders and empower and equip them to be agents of change in their communities.
At over 1 million hectares, the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park will be one of the largest marine parks in Asia and has much potential to put Malaysia on the world map. Ecotourism has been earmarked by the Ministry of Tourism as one of Malaysia’s key offerings whereby the world’s travellers will not only get to revel in our country’s heritage and cultural offerings but will also foster a greater appreciation for our beautiful natural habitats.
Nigel, further added, “Ultimately it is people, and communities living near our most threatened natural resources – who will determine how well conservation takes root and lasts for generations to come.”
“And, the key to our success is that Rare does not implement these campaigns directly. We train local leaders, who are from the site, who understand its unique social and cultural values, and who are likely to stay in the site long after Rare is gone. We call these leaders Conservation Fellows and we rely on major investors in each region to support their work.”
During an intensive recruiting process, Rare will select Fellows with close ties to the community in which the campaign will run, and those who are most likely to remain at the site to sustain impact once the campaign ends. More than 70% of all alumni from the programme have remained at their sites to train others to implement ongoing activities; and more than half secure new funding on their own to run second and even third campaigns.
Upon selection, the YTL Fellows will run an intensive two-year campaign at their identified specific threatened site including formal training at either the Bogor Agricultural Institute in Indonesia (for Bahasa Indonesia/Malay speakers), at Southwest Forestry University in Yunnan Province, China (in Mandarin), and at Georgetown University in Washington DC (for English speakers). Upon completion, each YTL Fellow will receive a globally accredited Master’s degree in Communication, created by Rare specifically for environmental leaders.
“If we want conservation to succeed in Asia, we need to invest not only in national policy and better business practices, but also in making sustainable living a reality at the community level,” says Ruth. “We believe Rare offers the most sophisticated tools and training in the world for achieving this goal, and we are dedicated to making them available to Asia’s top community leaders.”
Presently, there is no other programme or organization in Asia that is systematically training a network of local conservation leaders with the depth of knowledge and skills provided by Rare and YTL.
The launch of “YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet” is part of Climate Change Week 2010, YTL’s long-standing involvement and commitment to environmental protection, designed to raise the level of environmental consciousness amongst Malaysians, via a week of exciting and thought-provoking programmes and activities. For more information on Climate Change Week 2010, please visit www.ytlcommunity.com/climatechange
Speech by Ruth Yeoh, Director of Investments YTL Corporation Berhad|
YTL Corporation Berhad
Climate Change Week 2010
Launch of "YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet"
Monday, 21 June 2010
- Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia
- Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato' Seri (Dr.) Yeoh Tiong Lay, Executive Chairman, YTL Corporation Berhad
- Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato' (Dr.) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad
- Nigel Sizer, Vice President for Asia, Rare Conservation
- Distinguished guests
- Friends of the media
- Ladies and Gentlemen
Welcome and thank you for taking time to join us this afternoon. Today is indeed a very meaningful and blessed day for us as we celebrate not one but two milestones in conjunction with our long standing environmental commitments.
We've just come from the official opening of the National Geographic Store KL, the third in the world after London and Singapore. And now we are here to share some very exciting news that is set to boost conservation efforts in Malaysia and the rest of Asia.
Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen for taking time to grace our double celebrations today. What we are about to reveal will indeed be of interest and relevance to your efforts as Tourism Minister of Malaysia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you all may already know, Asia contains some of the world's richest natural resources and is home to some of the world's most extraordinary species and habitats. Malaysia in particular forms part of the Coral Triangle which is the richest marine ecosystem in the world.
But our natural treasures are at great risk. Our forests and fisheries are being depleted. Coastal communities are facing real life-threatening consequences of climate change. And the landscapes and species that make Asia unique in the eyes of the world are disappearing one by one.
Much of this is due to people making poor choices -- or more often people lacking choices when faced with the need to feed their families, heat their homes, and earn their livelihoods. Conservation in Asia will not succeed until we start reaching individual people - especially those in our most environmentally threatened communities -- and giving them meaningful reasons and tools for change.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is where we are able to make a difference and be part of the solution.
And it comes through Rare Conservation, one of the most respected global grassroots conservation movements, who has a proven model for changing attitudes and behaviours that has been successful in 50 countries to date. Through their Pride campaigns - so named because they inspire people to take pride in the natural assets that make their communities valuable, local leaders are trained to take action with the community in a two-year long intensive campaign.
I have the honour of serving on Rare's Board as their youngest Trustee, and supporting Rare Conservation Fellows in Asia and all over the world.
I have witnessed Rare Conservation Fellows working at the community level and have been incredibly inspired by the work they are doing. I have also watched great things happen when communities discover new, more sustainable ways of living that not only protect nature, but improve their own livelihoods. Given the right message and means, communities can be our most effective environmental stewards, as I witnessed on my most recent trip with Rare to Yunnan in China.
This is why YTL Corporation is supporting Rare. My Father and my Grandfather are both Trustees of Environmental Organizations, and have been encouraging me to appreciate nature since a very young age. As the Managing Director and the Executive Chairman of YTL, respectively, they have a deep respect for nature, especially in Malaysia blessed with beauty and biodiversity. I am the fourth generation to join this Family-Driven company, so I understand that as corporate citizens, we must endure in an ever-changing world with more limits on resources and less credit, and companies must develop and execute a strategy for sustainability. I believe sustainability should take into account every aspect of the business environment: be it social, economic and cultural or natural.
Over a decade ago, I am pleased that YTL began innovating ways to use clean technology, realizing the implications of uncontrolled carbon emissions into the atmosphere, as well as exploring renewable energy sources, due to the heavy energy demands of the utilities and construction industries. As stewards of our good earth, YTL has long supported conservation through both international and local groups like The Nature Conservancy, as well as WWF-Malaysia, Reef Check Malaysia, the Malaysian Nature Society, TrEES and Rare Conservation.
In 2007, YTL donated $200,000 US Dollars to help Rare focus on protecting marine life in Malaysia and Asia, particularly in the Tun Mustapha Marine Park located in Sabah. In the past, we have seen firsthand how sustainability programmes and policies have reaped outstanding results, especially with regards to our increasing support for Rare Conservation and its effective Pride Campaigns' around the world.
So today, on behalf of YTL Corporation, I am proud to announce that we've established a special Fellowship Fund to support Rare's community-based work in Asia - the "YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet".
We will donate $2 million US Dollars over the next four years to help Rare train over 100 local conservation leaders from sites all across Asia, and support their efforts to help communities protect natural resources - for their own benefit and for the benefit of the world.
And already we have identified for our first year, 22 campaigns in the Coral Triangle that will be led by YTL fellows. As you know, this vast area of the Indo-Pacific region harbours 75% of all known coral species, more than half of the world's reefs, 40% of the world's coral reef species, and six of the world's seven species of marine turtle, in addition to providing income and food security for more than 120 million people in six countries.
One of the beneficiaries of the programme is in Malaysia - the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Sabah where efforts by Rare and its partner, WWF-Malaysia, are currently underway to gazette this marine protected area as well as reverse the effects of overfishing that is threatening its local economic lifelines and ecotourism.
At over 1 million hectares, the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park will be one of the largest marine parks in Asia and has much potential to put Malaysia on the world map.
As shared recently by Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri, ecotourism has been earmarked as one of Malaysia's key offerings whereby the world's travellers will not only get to revel in our country's heritage and cultural offerings but will also foster a greater appreciation for our beautiful natural habitats. And it is through projects like the proposed marine park, that we aim to grow and preserve the country's eco offerings. Nigel Sizer, Vice President of Rare will share more details shortly, and I would also like to take the opportunity to say a quick hello to YTL Fellow, Suzieanna Ramlee, who heads the Tun Mustapha project and Rejani Kunjappan, who leads WWF Malaysia's national team of community outreach specialists. Thank you to the both of you for being with us today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Like many groups, YTL supports climate change mitigation at all levels - from the emerging cap and trade market to national policy and awareness raising. But YTL feels passionately that we cannot meet the challenge of climate change without mobilizing local communities living in and around Asia, building local leadership capacity, and providing alternatives to people whose options are already quite limited.
That is why YTL Corporation is supporting Rare, in training Fellows across Asia to run campaigns that raise awareness of the issues and offer communities tools for adapting to and mitigating climate change. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before us: Given the right tools, Asia's local communities can both contribute to and benefit from the conservation of our rich forests, while playing a leading role on the world stage as we tackle the global threat of climate change.
We appreciate this unique opportunity and look forward to sharing the successes of the "YTL Fellowship for a Rare Planet" in the years to come.
Thank you and may God Bless each and everyone of you in all your positive endeavours.