Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Sarawak to have more, bigger Totally Protected Areas under Heart of Borneo

KUCHING: The state government will expand and establish new Totally Protected Areas (TPA) within the Heart of Borneo (HoB) in Sarawak, with plans for effective management and increasing the size of protected areas as well as enhancing their connectivity.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said this would help to preserve their ecological integrity, enhance the flow of ecosystem services and facilitate gene flow and build resilience in a changing climate.

“Many more national parks, both gazetted as well as proposed, would now be connected to each other,” he said in his speech read out by Assistant Minister of Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh at the launching of International Workshop on Heart of Borneo Corridor Project Implementation at a hotel, here, yesterday.

The HoB initiative is a voluntary trans-boundary cooperation between three countries – Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia – combining the stakeholders’ interests, based on local wisdom, acknowledgment of and respect for laws, regulations and policies of the respective countries.

Adenan said Sarawak’s cooperation is based on sustainable development principles through research and development, sustainable use, protection, education and training, fundraising, as well as other activities relevant to trans-boundary management, conservation and development within the areas of HoB.

According to him, the state’s contributions to the HoB initiative would be its policy on sustainable forest management, nature conservation through the establishment of TPAs and Trans-Boundary Conservation Areas (TBCAs), as well as planning and development of new socio-economic projects to benefit the rural populations, all of which would contribute to conservation and sustainable development.

“We have engaged WWF-Malaysia to implement strategic conservation plan for Sarawak. Under this project, we will identify areas for conservation that include as much biodiversity where possible, across a full range of variation of species, habitats or ecological processes that are adequate for the existence of biodiversity features and achieving these conservation objectives at minimal costs.”

He said the state government had called on timber concession holders within the HoB to obtain forest management certification by 2017, adding that forest certification is in line with Sarawak’s commitment to sustainable forest management.