Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tanjung Aru Eco Development project: Building resilience through inclusivity

KOTA KINABALU: Tanjung Aru beach stands to benefit from a sensitive and thoughtful revitalization that truly returns this historic piece of Sabah to its people, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) said yesterday.

Responding to over a year of debate on the pros and cons of the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project, LEAP Executive Director Cynthia Ong raised the need to appreciate the beach as a commons – a resource that belongs to the whole community.

“LEAP advocates and supports an inclusive process in the revitalization of Tanjung Aru’s historic coastline.

“The development of this public space affects our entire community, and decisions about its future should be made with the community, for the community,” Cynthia said in a statement yesterday.

The revitalization of Tanjung Aru Beach calls for a deeper acknowledgment and understanding of the importance of the commons and a truly inclusive process to determine how it can be developed in a way that builds the resilience of the community and preserves the essence of this iconic beach.

Cynthia shared that the commons refer to cultural and natural resources that are available to all members of society and these include water and air. Such resources are held in common, over which people have certain rights, unless this property is transformed into private property through enclosure or privatisation.

“All over the globe, we are losing our commons – our shared and public spaces – to privatisation, and these decisions impact everyone.

“We need to think carefully about the legacy we want to leave future generations, and care for these precious resources for our future mutual benefit. Whether the decision is to privatise or maintain as commons, or a balance between the two, our concern is that the spirit is inclusivity in both process and decision-making,” she said.