Preceded by the recent 7th Heart of Borneo (HoB) Trilateral Meeting in Brunei in September 2013, HoB Geographical Information System (GIS) meeting was organized in October, for the first time since it was initially discussed in 2008. The discussion evolved around the organizational and working modalities of the technical committee on GIS, presentations on national policy on spatial land-use planning, and identification of possible joint activities.
The meeting was considered useful to build a better understanding on each country’s land-use management and the underlying principles. It is a reality that each country in the HoB regulates different land use plans and therefore different land-use management. Despite the fact of differences, the three countries demonstrated willingness to cope with the challenge. With distinct land classification or nomenclature, the essential function of land-use planning is understood and has become reference and knowledge for each country to develop better policy and practices on land-use management that considers balance between conservation and development.
All countries accepted the differences, agreed to resolve the differences, and harnessed these as potentials for enrichment in planning. These acts are essential to enable the three countries, through HoB Initiative, to create and improve the appropriate sustainable standard - that is adoptable in all HoB countries and to set a joint regulatory intervention.
The meeting agreed on HoB GIS Working Group role to facilitate the discussions, including HoB sustainability criteria specifically based on biophysical and socio economic aspects. Its Technical Committee will work on spatial analysis, define the measure into spatial system and then develop the sustainable criteria. The criteria will become tool agreed by three countries to check with the land-use policy for endorsement or improvement.
Other than building the HoB sustainability criteria, in response to the vision of building HoB sustainable land-use management, Indonesia has proposed development HoB Green Vision Map for the three countries. This tool is generally an intention for HoB countries’ reference and guidelines, which will be developed based on (and with respect to) each country’s existing characteristics. The spatial arrangement is expected to assist HoB Initiative toward a sustainable land-use management. Indonesia has moved forward by defining its own HoB Indonesia Green Vision Map.
The HoB area inhabited by around 15 million people sharing the same Borneo Island is currently facing challenges as pressure over land is increasing from demands for settlement, agriculture, plantation, forestry as well as facility and infrastructure. At the moment all three countries have different land use plans in the HoB, a protected area in one country might be bordered by an oil palm plantation in other neighboring country.
Recognizing this challenge, in the 2nd HoB Trilateral Meeting 2008 Indonesia proposed the meeting to consider the need of spatial planning for HoB areas. Further discussion emerged in the 3rd meeting in 2009, where the three countries’ forum agreed to establish a working group to focus on spatial planning. Finally in the 4th meeting in 2010, Technical Committee on Geographical Information System (GIS) was formed. In the recent trilateral meetings, several areas potential for joint GIS pilot projects have been identified such as Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary/Batang Ai National Park in Malaysia and Betung Kerihun National Park/Danau Sentarum National Park in Indonesia, Gunung Mulu National Park in Malaysia and Sungai Ingei Conservation Forest in Brunei Darussalam. (end)