Thursday, June 30, 2011

Imbak Canyon biodiversity must benefit people

KOTA KINABALU: Effort must be taken to ensure that exploitation and development of biodiversity resources at Imbak Canyon would directly benefit the local communities, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.

As a government that cares about its people, he said the State Government would like to see that those living close to the protected area be roped in and be involved, especially in reserach activities.

“Our indigenous people have a wealth of knowledge on medicinal and healing properties of plants, and would serve as important information providers on the value of what our rainforest holds,” he said in his speech at the launch of Yayasan Sabah-Petronas Imbak Canyon Conservation Partnership here, yesterday.

His speech was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister cum Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin who also officiated at the launch on behalf of the Chief Minister.

Musa said Imbak Canyon can play a globally recognized role in producing products that are crucial for medicinal and pharmaceutical advancements.

He pointed out that research done so far indicated that the area has the potential to offer a lot more than what is known now.

Realising this, he also urged scientists to conduct further investigations on commercializing biodiversity resources that exist in the reserved forest.

“This would fit in with one of the objectives of the National Biotechnology Policy, which is to extract greater value from agriculture and natural resources by leveraging on Malaysia’s unique biodiversity,” he said.

Havig gazzetted the Imbak Canyon as a Class I (Protection) Forest Reserve, he said the challenge now lies in the hand of the State Government and Yayasan Sabah in particular, to live up to the standards and responsibilities to fully protect the area.

Given its remote location, he said managing Imbak Canyon would not be easy but lessons can be drawn from the experiences in managing Maliau Basin and Danum Valley.

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