Thursday, November 24, 2011

40% of Heart of Borneo's conservation forests can be managed by firms

ALMOST 40 per cent of land in the 22-million hectare Heart of Borneo (HoB) conservation area can be managed by the private sector, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has estimated based on a report it launched recently.

This figure was based on an estimate on current concession allocations, which make up 8.6 million hectares or 39 per cent of HoB, and thus stressed the importance of the private sector's role in realising the goals of the tri-nation initiative.

"Many of the key threats to the HoB are perceived to arise from private sector activity, but equally, the private sector has the opportunity to be the source and implementer of solutions to environmental and social challenges, and can continue to be a driver of economic and social development," said the WWF report, called "Business Solutions: Delivering the Heart of Borneo Declaration".

The 82-page report, which was launched on November 16, highlighted options for businesses within and around the HoB area, particularly those in the mining, forestry and palm oil industries, to pursue more sustainable operations.

Growth in both Borneo island's population and international demand in products from these three sectors have resulted in increasing pressure on Borneo's forests, the document noted.

"To date, the exploitation of Borneo's natural resources for short term financial returns has not given sufficient consideration to the broader environmental, economic and social implications of this activity," the report said.

It was the recognition of this growing pressure on the forests and the need to resolve it which gave rise to the signing of the HoB declaration in Bali, Indonesia in 2007 by the governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Brunei pledged 58 per cent of the country to make up 1.6 per cent of the 22 million hectare conservation initiative.

Apart from placing emphasis on the sustainable use and protection of the HoB area, the declaration also considered the socio-economic welfare of the people of the three signatory nations.

The report recognised that the past exploitation of Borneo's forests have led to reduced poverty rates in the participating countries, with the private sector expected to continue to play an important role towards further reducing poverty across the island.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: 40% of Heart of Borneo's conservation forests can be managed by firms

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