The 6th Heart of Borneo trilateral meeting reveals its human side
The human face of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) took center stage at the opening dinner of the 6th HoB Trilateral Meeting held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, in late September 2012.
WWF-Malaysia trustee, Jayl Langub, took the stage to formally launch ‘The Human Heart of Borneo’, a new publication prepared by WWF in conjunction with the three governments of Borneo, to celebrate the indigenous communities of the region.
Mr Langub noted that the wealth of natural and social capital contained within the (HoB) trans-boundary area went beyond Ringgit and cent, and as such was to be respected, treasured and managed sustainably as an inheritance for future generations, as had been done in the past by indigenous communities.
“For those of us who see the value of natural resources from other perspectives, such as in terms of Dollars and cents, it might be difficult to appreciate the way indigenous people relate to the land”, said Jayl.
“But it is the very way indigenous people relate to the landscape that we can have some hope the land can be handed over to future generations in a healthy condition”, he said.
The booklet, which offers a glimpse of the traditional way of life of indigenous communities, aims to raise awareness about the high biodiversity, rich cultural and ethnic heritage, encompassed within the trans-boundary areas of Borneo between East Malaysia, East Kalimantan (Indonesia), and Brunei Darussalam - covering an area of approximately 22 million hectares of tropical forest.
Speaking to the Borneo Post after the launch, Wisnu Rusmantoro, National Coordinator of HoB WWF-Indonesia, praised the Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei governments for recognizing the significance of the HoB and for working together to realize its vision of sustainable development principles through research and development.
He highlighted the importance of getting the support and participation of local communities and the government in conservation and sustainable development.
“The people have very close social, cultural and religious connections with the land. This is why the loss of the forest can often lead to the loss of the local community. The key phrase here is sustainable development. Development without conservation is nothing”, he said.
The formal trilateral meeting in the days following the dinner was an opportunity for all countries to report the progress that had been made since the last meeting in 2011.
For Indonesia, this involved an update on trans-boundary conservation management and ecotourism, and the promotion of Muller-Schwaner as a conservation area, as well as an update on sustainable financing and the creation of a political platform and partner forum to support investment in a HoB Green Economy Roadmap.
Brunei Darussalam updated the meeting on the progress and development of the HoB initiative focusing on curbing illegal cross-border trade of forest products including wildlife, the promoting of nature tourism, knowledge sharing and expertise on forest management (wildlife, tourism and water management), as well as the establishment of a buffer zone along Brunei Darussalam’s administrative boundary with Sarawak.
Malaysia’s report reflected on three priority areas, namely, strengthening of the protected area networks and connectivity, the establishment of sustainably managed forested corridors and enhanced trans-boundary cooperation. Malaysia emphasized the importance of pursuing efforts at deriving sustainable financing for conservation, harnessing synergy among existing initiatives and expanding stakeholders’ participation.