Recognize & Report 2019-12-06T06:05:02+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 support from GEF-SGP Malaysia, we are working with local partners 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.

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The overall aim of this two-year project is to strengthen area-based in-situ conservation of biodiversity in Malaysia by recognising and reporting other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) alongside Protected Areas.

Focal areas:

  • Engage stakeholders to explore the OECM concept.
  • Investigate case studies of potential OECMs and develop a portfolio of Malaysian OECMs.
  • Develop mechanisms for recognising and reporting OECMs.
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange on OECMs in Malaysia.

We are inviting stakeholders to join this process of identifying Malaysia’s OECMs and exploring how they can be recognised and reported. These are sites across governance types and management approaches that deliver in-situ conservation outcomes for biodiversity that occurs outside of Protected Areas.

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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.

Call for Case Studies

Applications are now open! We invite you to submit case studies of potential OECMs across marine, coastal, freshwater and terrestrial environments in Malaysia. We will use the IUCN guidance and tools as a basis for assessing whether case study sites meet the CBD definition of OECMs. We have summarised the OECM criteria for ease of reference here. We encourage you to read the IUCN OECM guidance before you fill in the form.

The submission form is now available for download in English and Bahasa Malaysia below:


All submissions are voluntary and you are welcome to submit any number of case studies, using one form per case study. The deadline for submissions of OECM case studies is by 5pm on the 31 st of January 2020. Once you have completed the form, please submit it by email to melissa@searrp.org.

Read MoreThis call for case studies is the first stage of assessment. The submission form requires you to fill in basic information about your site which will help us to assess if your site broadly meets the CBD definition of OECMs based on the IUCN guidance and assessment methodology. We anticipate receiving a large number of submissions and may have to shortlist case studies received that we can take forwards to the second stage of assessment.

Please note that we expect to make a decision on shortlisted sites to take forwards to the next stage of assessment within two months after submissions has closed.

The second stage of assessment will involve a detailed site-based assessment of each of the shortlisted case studies. We will contact you if your case study has been shortlisted to discuss the possible next steps and activities. We expect this stage to include a desk-based review followed by observational visit(s) to the site and conversations with the site’s governance and management authority/ies. We expect this process to commence in mid- 2020 and take a few months depending on the circumstances of each site. Site-based assessments are subject to the permission of the legitimate governance authority for each selected site and costs associated with the assessment will be covered by the project.

Sites that cannot be OECMs are sites which are already recognised as protected areas under the Malaysian Federal and State laws, sites that do not have agreed-upon geographical boundaries and are not area-based, and sites that do not have any form of governance or management.

Please note that the OECM assessments carried out by this project are not associated with any accreditation schemes. The OECM assessments are solely for exploratory purposes and outcomes may be used to inform the development of recommendations by the project.

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.