JULY 2016 | CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum (WLF) profiled at International Sustainable Oceans Symposium in Japan

On 19-20 July 2016, the International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans was held in Tokyo, Japan. The event, hosted by the Nippon Foundation, the Government of Japan, and supported by TNC, featured a number of high level officials from the Japanese government, as well as the Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, the President of the Republic of Palau, and Ambassadors from Australia, Sweden and Seychelles. What was most unique about this event was the strong representation by community leaders from around the world. Grassroots leaders from over 30 countries came together to share their experiences in ocean and coastal management, to describe how they are educating and connecting with others to build capacity and ultimately ensure the sustainability of the resources upon which they depend.

WAPO Chairperson, Ms Roziah Jalalid, together with other presenters at the International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans. Photo: TNC

The CTI-CFF Women Leaders’ Forum (WLF), first established in 2014, was one of the case studies profiled at the symposium. The spokesperson for the WLF, Ms Roziah Jalalid, is the Chairperson of the Omadal Women’s Association (WAPO), and has been involved in community engagement, outreach and capacity building for marine conservation in Sabah, Malaysia since 2010. Roziah was first exposed to the CTI-CFF WLF in 2015, when a national level WLF event was held in Sabah, with support from WWF Malaysia. Roziah had the opportunity to participate in that event, and in her speech in Tokyo, described how this experience had allowed her to learn from other women working on sustainable marine and coastal management across Malaysia. These were women whom Roziah may never otherwise have met, but who were facing similar challenges in the sustainable management of their marine resources, and in many cases, were using techniques that were also applicable to WAPO’s work. For example, Roziah described how she had learned from other groups about their work to strengthen enforcement of laws regarding the marine environment, and how community mapping activities could ensure strong community participation and ownership of resource management plans. In turn, Roziah shared a range of lessons at the WLF event from WAPO’s work, including about the use of beach patrols to protect sea turtle hatchlings. She also described how they are producing handicrafts from materials like pandanus, to support sustainable livelihoods while at the same time generating funds for conservation.

Roziah presented on the WLF and WAPO at the symposium. Photo: TNC

Participation in the WLF event provided Roziah with the opportunity to share her experiences with like-minded groups from across Malaysia. In Tokyo last month, she had the chance to share these with leaders from around the world. According to Roziah, “it was great exposure to attend the Tokyo event and to have the opportunity to learn about great achievements and successful stories by all speakers that work on marine conservation globally. Talking about the Women Leader’s Forum in this international event has highlighted the contribution of women in conservation and ocean sustainability and their role in bringing together their communities to be involved in marine resource management”. Through her presentation in Tokyo, and her work with WAPO and the WLF, Roziah hopes that she can inspire and encourage more women to protect and love the oceans.

Roziah was provided with excellent support at the event by Herminatalia Tabar of WWF Malaysia, who accompanied her to Tokyo. Roziah’s participation in the symposium was proudly supported by TNC and the Nippon Foundation.

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