The Heart of Borneo Initiative – a touchstone for sustainable development?



Posted on 29 November 2012  | 
Chris Greenwood
Chris Greenwood, WWF Heart of Borneo Global Initiative Communications Manager
© WWFEnlarge
By Chris Greenwood on behalf of the Heart of Borneo team 

The Heart of Borneo Declaration was made by the three HoB governments in 2007. Five years on, the signs are even stronger that the conservation and sustainable development vision articulated in the Declaration is being pursued with increasing vigour.

Nowhere was this more evident than at the Sabah Forestry Department’s International Conference entitled: The Heart of Borneo +5 and Beyond - Shaping and nurturing Sabah’s future together, held on November 7, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Besides the more that 500 delegates, what made this conference so special was the overwhelming endorsement from local and national government representatives of the value of the Heart of Borneo Initiative and the role it could play in creating truly sustainable development for the benefit of people, planet and profit.

Our news pages in this issue include a round-up of some of the issues discussed at the conference, but an exciting new feature of this conference was the break-out sessions which gave conference attendees the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and opinions on the importance of the HoB and where the initiative could go in the future.

It was obvious that many at the conference saw the HoB as a touchstone for sustainable development and a starting point from which to propose bold new ideas and agendas which move us all away from the currently unsustainable ‘business as usual’ approach. What was equally exciting was that many of the recommendations coming out of the workshops and from the high level meeting, held as part of the conference, fit very appropriately into the green economy framework being developed by WWF and its partners, in conjunction with the three governments. In particular the home-grown Forever Sabah Initiative, appear to be ‘straight out of central casting’ for a high profile role in developing a green economy in Sabah.

For a forested region like the HoB, a green economy is where: governments, business and communities pursue green growth by recognizing the economic, ecological and social value of forests, and invest in sustaining these values to mitigate climate change, ensure food and water security and maintain crucial ecosystem services.

Green business growth within a green economy could be a game changer for the Heart of Borneo and the region. It is a new economic paradigm where a ‘profit at any cost’ mentality is replaced with the balancing of sustainability and social factors, while maintaining a profitable business.

Like any new system it will take time to take hold, but companies such as Google have shown that new business models do evolve and can eventually become the new business as usual. WWF stands ready to assist the three governments of Borneo to realise the promise of a green economy in the Heart of Borneo, for the benefit of people, planet and profits.

HoB team leader to join in the new year

Tom Maddox has been appointed the new Heart of Borneo Global Initiative Leader. He is expected to formally join WWF in January 2013. Tom comes to WWF from the University of Cambridge’s Programme for Sustainable Leadership. In this position he worked with corporations, academics and policy makers on improving natural capital management as part of a drive towards more sustainable and green economies.

Tom grew up with an affinity for nature, joining expeditions from the Kalahari to the Middle East to Borneo. As part of his Ph.D studies at University College, London, he spent most of four years living out of a Landrover in the Serengeti of Tanzania studying the role of pastoralist Maasai in large carnivore ecology. Tom then joined the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where his first assignment was to lead a new tiger conservation project in and around oil palm plantations on the island of Sumatra. He ended up spending a total of 8 years in Indonesia, responsible for developing a fully-fledged country programme with more than thirty dedicated conservation staff. Tom left Indonesia to complete an MBA at University of Cambridge, and since he has worked on biodiversity, renewable energy and conservation finance projects across Asia.

With his wealth of experience in the region and proven relationships, Tom is a great fit to continue the innovative work to deliver lasting conservation and sustainable development on Borneo. We look forward to Tom moving back to Indonesia and taking up the leadership of the Heart of Borneo GI in the new year.

Missing you already!

In November, our industrious and charming Sustainable Financing and Policy Strategy Leader, Anna van Paddenburg, bid farewell to WWF’s HoB GI to take up a very challenging position within the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), leading its new Indonesia program.

She will still be based in Jakarta and her immediate project work will include greening the MP3EI, directing REDD+ finance towards green growth and implementation activities at provincial level (Central and East Kalimantan). So there should be plenty of opportunity for former colleagues to get reacquainted with Anna in her new role.

As the principal architect of the modeling and theoretical work behind the application of a green economy in the HoB, Anna has played a vital role in the success of the HoB GI, during her busy three years with the group.

She has been a constant advocate for change in the way we currently exploit the earth’s limited resources; not to mention the often invisible ecosystem services which biodiversity provides.

In her farewell message she indicated it was with a heavy heart that she was leaving the organisation and paid tribute to the passion and diligence of WWF staff, particularly those working in Kalimantan with whom she had much interaction. Those sentiments are echoed for her by all those who worked with her. We wish her all the very best in her new position and look forward to opportunities for collaboration in her new role to help make the Heart of Borneo a living, breathing, global example of a green economy in action.
Chris Greenwood
Chris Greenwood, WWF Heart of Borneo Global Initiative Communications Manager
© WWF Enlarge
Anna van Paddenburg
© WWF Indonesia Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required