Malaysian government pledges support for continued conservation of Heart of Borneo
So said Minister Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup, deputy Federal Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, at the closing ceremony of the International Conference on Heart of Borneo +5 and Beyond: “Shaping and nurturing Sabah’s future together on November 7, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
He said the forests of the HoB were of critical value to the people and countries of Borneo as a prized natural heritage and for the goods and services that they provide.
“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment views HoB as a significant initiative that will directly contribute towards the betterment in forest management and conservation,” he said.
Kurup added that the whole country recognised the importance of the HoB Initiative and reiterated the importance of this initiative to continue to be placed within the government’s sustainable development framework and policy.
Sabah State government support
Sabah state government support for the HoB was also clearly voiced by its Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Yee Moh Chai, speaking at the HoB conference.
Presenting a speech which was originally to be given by Sabah’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman, he said Sabah would continue to strive to excel in the governance of best practices in forest management and conservation.
He said the key focus in driving sustainability was restoration and rebuilding of the productive capacity of forests. This included rationalising forest land use from the ecological and social perspectives and capitalising on the ecosystem services provided by the forest and its biodiversity.
"The state government recognises the need for wide stakeholder participation and for this reason, adopts an open and wide partnership programme at the local and international level as part of our efforts to institutionalise the conservation and management of our forests," he said.
He noted that much had been achieved in Sabah since the inception of HoB in 2007. Sabah Forestry had received funds through the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry for the implementation of HoB programmes carrying out biodiversity documentation on various selected forest reserves and social baseline studies of nearby communities.
To date, 17 forest reserves had been surveyed and results incorporated into the preparation of forest management plans that contribute significantly to the best practices in forest management, he added.
Recommendations from Sabah’s high level meeting on the HoB
As part of the HoB conference, a high level meeting chaired by Sabah’s Minister of Tourism,
Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun, was held to make recommendations on a future development agenda for the HoB Initiative. These included:
- Recognising that financial capital and human capital were core elements to the success of the HoB Initiative. As well as awareness and communication to help spread the news on HOB.
- The meeting recognised the HoB achievements and applauded the leadership in Sabah for driving this initiative so far, but noted that more was needed. In particular, that intervention on the policy and private sector business engagement was still needed. Partnerships in the HOB were important and institutional support was critical.
- HoB is an open source platform for sustainability. Options to formalise this partnership to leverage on what we have currently should be explored in a coordinated way to connect to the real global opportunities available.
- Connectivity from global to local was crucial as was marketing the HOB as an investment package to foreign investors.
- Collaboration between State and Federal governments on HOB delivery within the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment and Ministry of Finance needed to improve.
- A regulatory framework to support the accountability of the private sector was needed including information on how to offset its impact and encourage it to invest in biodiversity.