Sabah government sees REDD in the Heart of Borneo
Attended by nearly 500 delegates, the two-day conference: Forest and Climate Change: Decoding and Realizing REDD+ in the Heart of Borneo with special emphasis on Sabah, brought together perspectives and advice on policy, technical and capacity building issues involved in making REDD a reality in the HoB.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Datuk Sam Mannan, Director of Sabah’s Forestry Department, said the conference aimed to raise awareness of the role forests played in mitigating climate change and the application of mechanisms such as REDD to add tangible value to forest protection and sustainable development efforts.
WWF to play key support role for GovernmentA key message to emerge from the conference was that WWF is recognized as the lead organization in Malaysia to help move REDD+ forward at the subnational level in the Sabah portion of the Heart of Borneo.
WWF Malaysia (with support from HoB and Forest Carbon Network Initiatives, WWF-NL, WWF-UK, WWF-NL and other network offices) is now positioned to closely collaborate, and in some aspects take the lead in assisting the Government of Sabah to develop carbon accounting, institutional arrangements, legal & policy frameworks and financing mechanisms.
Speaking after the conference, WWF Malaysia’s HoB National Co-ordinator, Ivy Wong, said the Government of Sabah has taken ownership of the HoB and sees it as the platform to deliver the first comprehensive REDD+ Process (the Readiness Phase) within the Borneo state.
“This conference showed that the Heart of Borneo portion of Sabah is a key location for the Malaysian government to implement REDD+ initiatives. As the government moves forward with the planned Carbon Accounting process, it needs to be driven at the sub-national level and then move up to the national level.”
Ms Wong, however, noted that it was not just about carbon accounting, monitoring and verification. “It is about valuing the environmental services that the forest brings and establishing the institutional arrangements, legal and policy frameworks and financing mechanisms to make that value tangible and REDD+ a reality,” she said.
Local, regional and international experts and partners are now engaged and interested to work on moving REDD+ forward in Sabah. WWF Malaysia and the HoB NI will be supporting the mainstreaming of REDD+ into the national agenda and across different ministries and agencies, with a focus on its relevance to economic development and land-use planning.