There is no Heart of Borneo without its people
Anye Apui, Customary Chief of Hulu Bahau in Malinau, East Kalimantan
The Heart of Borneo Forum in Jakarta, April 18-20, was aimed at bringing together key stakeholders – including governments, the private sector and civil society – to discuss progress and possibilities in the transition to a green economy in the Heart of Borneo.
The Indigenous communities, with their traditions, knowledge and local wisdom, have been supportive of the Heart of Borneo Initiative, initiating trans-boundary grassroots support and action for the sustainable development of the Highlands. These communities are rich in experience that can contribute significantly to how the community can become involved in the sustainable development of this trans-boundary initiative.
Community involvement in the Forum highlighted the important role civil society can play in moving the green economy from a concept and set of plans to reality.
“We are the heartbeat of the Heart of Borneo. We are the ones you are talking about. Those plans you’re making will affect our life, because we live there,” John Tarawe from Bario, Sarawak-Malaysia, said when he spoke at a session titled Delivering a Sustainable Future for the Heart of Borneo.
Community leaders from the Forum of the Indigenous People of the Highlands of Borneo (FORMADAT), from both the Malaysia and Indonesia sides, joined the stage with representatives from the governments of Borneo. They outlined their vision for a sustainable future for Borneo.
“We, the Indigenous People of the Highlands in the Heart of Borneo who share a common heritage and a common land as the Lun Dayeh, Kelabit, Lun Bawang, and Sa’ban people, come together in the Alliance of the Indigenous People of the Highlands of Borneo (FORMADAT) to: increase awareness and understanding about the highland communities, build local capacity, and encourage sustainable development in the Heart of Borneo.”
During the event, WWF along with the community leaders launched the Human Heart of Borneo, a publication that speaks for the indigenous Borneo people, celebrating their culture and their role in conserving the forests of Borneo. The publication hopes to enable those outside the area to learn, feel and become attached to it – with that, support for the preservation of Borneo culture and nature can be built.