Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Imbak Canyon Poised To Play Global Role In Medicinal, Pharmaceutical Fields

KOTA KINABALU -- Sabah's Imbak Canyon is poised to play an important role globally in the producation of beneficial products including those crucial for the advancement of the medicinal and pharmaceutical fields.

Expressing optimism over the future of the biodiversity conservation area, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said research done so far indicated that Imbak, a conservation area located over 300 kilometers south east of Kota Kinabalu in the heart of Sabah, had the potential to offer "a lot more than what we know at present".

In this respect, he urged scientists to conduct further investigations on commercializing biodiversity resources in the area.

"This move would fit in with one of the objectives of the National Biodiversity Policy, which is to extract greater value from agriculture and natural resources by leveraging on Malaysia's unique biodiversity," he said in his remarks at the launch of the Yayasan Sabah-Petronas Imbak Canyon conservation partnership, signing of MOU for promotion of reseach, training and education programme and opening of Imbak Canyon stakeholders workshop, here today.

The text of his speech was read out by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin.

Under the Yayasan Sabah-Petronas Imbak Canyon conservation partnership, PETRONAS has contributed a grant of RM6 million to the Yayasan Sabah Group to carry out public awareness, environmental education and community outreach programmes related to the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area for three years, from 2010 to 2012.

These initiatives are designed not only to increase the awareness on the Imbak Canyon but also to educate the public and the communities living in the surrounding areas on how to preserve and protect this natural treasure.

Musa said hoped to see communities who live close to this protected area roped in so that they too could benefit from research 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 values of what our rainforests hold," he said.

Musa said it was frequently reported that tropical rainforests were disappearing at an alarming rate in different parts of the world.

"In Sabah, we still have the opportunity to fix things, and to do what is right. Having gazetted the Imbak Canyon conservation area as a Class I forest reserve, the challenge is now in the hands of the Sabah government and Yayasan Sabah to live up to standards and responsibilities that fully protected areas require," he said.

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