International Eco-Schools Conference
Students Empowered in a Conference on Water and Sustainability
Sungkai, Perak: The seventh WWF-Malaysia’s International Eco-Schools Conference (IESC) commenced from 9 to 13 December 2018 at SMK Sungkai with participation by schools from Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Every year, more than 100 Eco-Schools students gather to share and exchange knowledge on their schools’ environmental initiatives. This inspiring platform is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and this year’s focus is - Water, the Source of Life.
In recent years, Malaysia has seen a higher frequency and more intense dry spells, which has affected water resources in many parts of the country. Apart from field trips, the conference also features expert speakers from the water industry to speak on this growing concern.
"We use water daily, yet the average user knows so little about the challenging journey water takes to reach everyone. Globally, our rivers face many threats such as plastic pollution and sedimentation (due to logging in water catchments) and so on," said Datin Daria Mathew, WWF-Malaysia's Senior Manager for Freshwater Conservation. "We need to empower every water user, such as the IESC delegates, about freshwater conservation so they can make informed and better choices for our planet.”
She added, "This is why WWF-Malaysia organises freshwater-themed events such as the Journey of Water and the Water Quest, and this year, we are proud to have a freshwater-themed IESC for the first time.”
YBhg Datin Sri Hajah Nor Zamani from the Ministry of Education commented, “The third shift of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 to 2025 aims to develop values-driven Malaysians. This conference prepares students to face the issues of environmental degradation. When they are exposed beyond the school ground and are connected to the global awareness – they will become individuals with a strong conscience. This is one of the virtues of education – to develop holistic students that value a balanced view and harmony.”
She added, “I hope the conference will also discuss other areas of the SDGs in relation to water, focusing not only the issues but also approaches to solve the problems in a long run.”
WWF-Malaysia and partners created this platform for students to share their work, ideas and passion with other students of different backgrounds, nationalities and races. We want to empower young people to care for the environment so they can lead sustainability related activities and influence others to follow.
The Conference - International Eco-Schools Conference 2018
What is it?
The IESC 2018 Conference is a 5-day conference & will be held in Sungkai, Perak. Conference participants will be able to enhance their knowledge & be agents of change through sharing sessions, hands-on activities, workshops, educational outings & more!
Paid conference participants will be entitled to receive the following* :
1. Accommodation & transportation during the conference
2. Complete daily meal
3. Conference kit
Why is the theme this year 'Water, the Source of Life' ?
Themed "Water, the Source of Life", the conference is set to take place in Perak. Partnered with the long-time Eco-Schools participant SMK Sungkai, WWF-Malaysia is also working with SK Bandar Behrang 2020, the first primary school in Peninsular Malaysia awarded the Green Flag Award in 2017. Perak is also home for the North Banjaran Titiwangsa, where it supplies most of the freshwater for Peninsular Malaysia, as well as home to the Malayan Tigers.
Water, the Source of Life
Water, especially freshwater, is essential for humans and all other living organisms on our planet. While we are aware and know the importance of water, we might not realise how our actions in daily life regardless living in the city or rural impacts availability of water. Clean water is critical to all for survival where without it, health and food security are in danger. Although water bodies are abundant in Earth, only 1% is drinkable water source.
Our natural environment e.g. forest, soils and wetlands contribute to the healthy condition of water. Mangrove for example, filter and trap sediments, metals, pollutants at upstream and preventing them from entering downstream. Highland forest in Peninsula act as water catchment where it provides freshwater to Kelantan, Perak, Pahang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. River is important to us as a source of water, food, transport, and eco-tourism or even as power source. Hence, it is not surprising for town or cities to be situated along river. However, as developments increases rapidly, it also means it is easier for a bigger chunk of waste to end up in river and ocean. Water pollution is also a serious problem in Malaysia. Malaysia is at number eight in the list of countries that are polluting the ocean the most. 80% of mismanaged waste on land ends up in our ocean through rivers.
Without access to clean water, many aspects of a daily life gets affected. Poor quality of water causes diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid and others. Can you imagine not being able to go to school, or carry out daily activities because you do not have clean water to drink? Without proper management and poor infrastructure, water supply might not be accessible for everyone. There are countries across the world that had faced terrible droughts which leads to hunger and malnutrition. Increasing number of population also means higher consumption of water and water treatment. This is unsustainable as higher demands of water causes more dams and water treatment plant to be built which uses other natural resources, like land.
Do you know where your water comes from?
How many of you have heard the term “water footprint”? We need water to make all our food, clothes, or any products at all. Water footprint calculates the amount of water needed or used in our products, meals or services. For example, water needed to make a cup coffee or to grow rice, to wash your car or even to make that beautiful dark blue jeans. Hence, choose wisely before you buy a product. We need to make ensure our water resources are protected and available for future generations as well
"No water, no life. No blue, no green." - Sylvia Earle
This is the seventh International Eco-Schools Conference organised by WWF-Malaysia, & will be bigger & better! Not only will the science & policy be at the cutting edge; the conference will be carried out by Eco-warriors with many years of valuable experience & knowledge on sustainability. IESC 2018 will host participants, aged between 10 to 17 years old, throughout Malaysia. Thus, we urge interested Eco-Schools to participate in the conference. Alas, space is limited, but we’ll pack in all that we can!
Who are the speakers?
IESC 2018 brings together expert speakers from the private sector, academia, & Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with many years of valuable experience & knowledge on sustainable development.
When and where is the conference?
IESC 2018 conference is a 5 days 4 nights conference. It will be held from