More than 15 years at the service of Borneo’s forestsArman is no stranger to Borneo. For more than 7 years, he worked in East Kalimantan. This was followed by a position as head of West Kalimantan Provincial Forestry Service for another eight years until he was appointed Director of Coordination for Kalimantan Forestry Development. In December 2005, he was appointed Director General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation.
Arman has witnessed significant changes to Borneo’s forests since power was decentralized in Indonesia in 1999. The culprits? Illegal conversion of forests to plantations, illegal logging and illegal wildlife trade. He notes that the damage has impacted not only production forests but also protected areas, highlighting the need for their improved management.
“The Heart of Borneo initiative is promising,” he says, “it promotes conservation and sustainable development through ecoregional management of protected areas and production forests.”
To underline Indonesia’s commitment to the initiative, Arman hosted the launching of the Heart of Borneo initiative with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam at the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of Parties in March 2006, on behalf of the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation.
A communications vehicle, a collaborative tool and a conservation approachThere are many facets to the Heart of Borneo initiative, and Arman realizes the potential of each one. “We consider this programme as a communications vehicle for stakeholders in Kalimantan and Jakarta, and also as a political agreement with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.” This approach is based on the conviction that the management of protected areas and cultural areas has to be strengthened with due consideration to environmental issues.
The Heart of Borneo, from blueprint to realityArman sees a clear route leading up to the official declaration of the Heart of Borneo initiative in New York in late 2006, with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. But the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation will not be alone on the way. Arman reminds that that Indonesia’s Department of Foreign Affairs will also be involved in follow-up efforts with Kalimantan local governments, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, to ensure that the Heart of Borneo initiative is a coordinated effort at all levels: internationally, nationally and locally.
Whether in Kalimantan, Jakarta or in New York, Arman’s efforts to ensure a future for the Heart of Borneo are ongoing.