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Highlights of the journey towards the Heart of Borneo Initiative

Several milestones have been achieved in the Heart of Borneo programme so far. Find out how these achievements are leading towards the conservation and sustainable development of Borneo's forest by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

September 2013
The three countries reaffirmed the commitment to the Heart of Borneo

© WWF-Indonesia/Dede Hendra Setiawan
Since the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Declaration was signed in 2007, the three Bornean leaders met for the first time after five years to commemorate its establishment and reaffirmed, acknowledged and commended, enhanced, encouraged, welcomed and reiterated their commitment to realize a balance development and conservation in the Heart of Borneo.

It also emphasized the importance of a green economy approach to conserve the environment.

The refreshed commitment was expressed in the Bandar Seri Begawan Joint Statement, on the HoB Special Ministerial Meeting, as a part of the 7th HoB Trilateral Meeting in Brunei Darussalam.

June 2012
Pathway to a green economy in the HoB

The economy in Borneo is largely dependent on the HoB's natural capital. This dependency can result in negative impacts on the natural capital on which the economy depends.

A green economy approach to achieving the HoB governments' vision of conservation and sustainable development will lead to more inclusive economic planning, management and accounting within the economies of Brunei, Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

To fully realize the HoB Declaration and to make further progress in their transition to a green economy, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, with support from all stakeholders, will need to invest in the ecosystems and biodiversity of the HoB and to incorporate their essential contributions within national/local economic and development plans.

In supporting the three government in the transition to a green economy approach, WWF released the Heart of Borneo: Investing in Nature for a Green Economy report. The report shows that valuing natural capital and the adoption of a green economy approach actually reduces poverty, provides more rapid growth, stronger local economies and enhanced resilience to climate change.

The report and the previous Financing the Heart of Borneo - A Partnership Approach to Economic Sustainability have ignited the three government to continue the journey to building the HoB green economy.

October 2010
Partnership approach to economic sustainability

© WWF-Indonesia /Desmarita Murni
At the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention of Biological Diversity, held in Nagoya, Japan, the three HoB governments hosted a side event and launched their joint publication: Financing the Heart of Borneo - A Partnership Approach to Economic Sustainability.

During this launch, the governments announced their intention to pursue the following next steps:
1. Understand the value of forests, watersheds, biodiversity and potential for carbon emission reduction and distribution to beneficiaries;
2. Assess how to optimize economic growth while maintaining HoB's natural capital and its contribution to climate change;
3. Estimate the costs and benefits associated with sustainable landscape management.

Following the Nagoya meeting, a series of workshops and dialogues were all done in support of the above next steps.

April 2008
Vision into actions

The 2nd Heart of Borneo Trilateral Meeting agreed and adopted Strategic Plan of Actions for the Heart of Borneo Initiative (HoB - SPA). The SPA consists of five main programs and is detailed into 21 proposed actions.

February 2007
Heart of Borneo: from plan to reality

© WWF-Indonesia
After 3 years of negotiation, research and planning, the Declaration to conserve the "Heart of Borneo" was officially signed between the three Bornean governments - Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The tri-country declaration aims to conserve and sustainably manage one of the most important centres of biological diversity in the world, covering around 220,000 km2 of equatorial rainforests (almost a third of the island).

August 2006

Cross-Pacific ties boost Heart of Borneo initiative

During her visit to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice officially announced the US Government's intention to support the Heart of Borneo. The US Government released a press statement on August 2nd entitled: "Heart of Borneo" Conservation Initiative To Receive U.S. Funds - Project preserves equatorial rainforest in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei."

The Secretary of State pledged US$100,000 to help advance the project, with funds disbursed through both WWF and the International Tropical Timber Organization.

July 2006
New heights for Indonesian commitment

The Indonesian Government held its final Heart of Borneo planning meeting with participants from 9 Central Government Ministries (Forestry, Economy, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Public Works, Agriculture, Internal Affairs, Mapping and Survey Agency); 8 District Governments and the 3 Provincial Governments.

The meeting, co-hosted by 3 Ministries (Forestry, Foreign Affairs and Economy) pushed up the Heart of Borneo on the national agenda.

March 2006
A bigger, safer home for large mammals in the Heart of Borneo

Malaysia announced that it would place 3 forest reserves (including the whole of Ulu Segama and Malua Forest reserves - about 238,000ha) under sustainable forest management. Efforts by WWF helped put in place responsible forest management practices in both reserves and these practices have been implemented by the Malaysian Government.
Conserving these areas will protect the habitat of Borneo species such as the orang-utan, pygmy elephants, rhinos and banteng.

Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia commit to the Heart of Borneo initiative

© WWF/Iwan Wibisono
The Heart of Borneo was officially launched at the Convention on Biological Diversity conference by the 3 Bornean governments – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

This commitment was a landmark for the Heart of Borneo as it paved the way for increased international collaboration to improve the management of the region.

The announcement spelled the end of plans to create the world's largest palm oil plantation in Kalimantan, along Indonesia's mountainous border with Malaysia. The scheme was expected to cover an area of 1.8 million hectares and would have had long-lasting, damaging consequences on the Heart of Borneo.

December 2005
An Indonesian landmark for Heart of Borneo

The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry hosts a National Workshop on the Heart of Borneo. Participants from 8 government departments and 10 districts in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) attend this 3-day meeting, resulting in strong endorsement of the Heart of Borneo and a draft Heart of Borneo Declaration. This Declaration is an agreement on the extent of the boundary within Indonesia and an action plan for the declaration and future implementation.

ASEAN endorses Heart of Borneo principles

The Chairman's statement at the 11th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, highlights the importance of providing sanctuaries in the Heart of Borneo, to conserve the island's biological diversity and protect its water catchments.

During the Summit, the Heart of Borneo is included as a flagship programme in the 5-year work plan of an ASEAN forum – the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines - East ASEAN Growth Area) - which is endorsed by the heads of government.

May 2005
A prince's commitment advances Heart of Borneo cause

© WWF-Canon / WWF International
"Looking into the eyes of an orphaned baby orang-utan is a look you'll never forget…" - late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

In response to this last public statement of the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands, along with WWF, arranges a cultural event to benefit the Heart of Borneo.

The event is attended by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, ambassadors from Indonesia and Brunei, and the private sector.

In addition to support given for the Heart of Borneo initiative, significant funds are raised. Crucially, the CEO of WWF-Malaysia meets privately with the Prime Minister and his delegation regarding the Heart of Borneo.

April 2005
Creating a vision for the Heart of Borneo

Brunei Darussalam hosts a ground-breaking workshop, bringing all 3 Bornean governments - Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei - together for the first time to discuss the Heart of Borneo.

Attended by over 150 representatives from government and non-governmental agencies of the 3 countries, the workshop makes a case for the benefits of large-scale conservation, reviews issues facing the uplands of Borneo, and promotes the need for effective transboundary activities.

This is the very first time that Borneo's 3 governments sit down to discuss the future of the Heart of Borneo. An agenda is set to continue discussions on the issue and a consensus is reached on a Vision and an Action Plan to promote the Declaration of the Heart of Borneo.

Indonesian districts go for Heart of Borneo concept.

Three district heads in Kalimantan's (Indonesian Borneo) Muller and Schwaner regions sign a declaration in support of the Heart of Borneo.

There are 8 local government districts in Kalimantan that overlap with the Heart of Borneo. In each one, the locally elected leader is responsible for natural resources management.

The district endorsement of the Heart of Borneo is a significant step in securing local support for the area. It contributes to building momentum for a national commitment to the Heart of Borneo conservation initiative.