Sunday, September 24

Sarawak, India collaborate on biodiversity research centre


MEDIA ATTENTION: Nansian speaking to reporters after officiating at the Second World Biodiversity Congress. Next to him is Dr Sivaram and Dr Jamil. — Photo by Chimon Upon.

KUCHING: The state government and Bangalore government of India are ready to initiate the establishment of the most sophisticated Asia-Pacific biodiversity research centre to be based in Kuching.

Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Peter Nansian said that negotiations between both governments were in the final stage.

According to him, two universities – Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and University of Bangalore – would be among the founding members of the institute.

Nansian said the institute would be equipped with state-of-the-art facility and be a venue for collaboration of research and management of biodiversity.

“Sarawak is one of the important states in the world and its significance is huge to contribute the richness of its flora and fauna for the purpose of comprehensive exploration and in-depth research of numerous types of herbs and unidentified species.”

He said this after officiating at the Second World Biodiversity Congress being held at a hotel here from Sept 9-12. It was organised by UiTM.

About 200 delegates from 32 countries are attending the congress with India sending the most number of delegates (60) followed by Iran (19).

The theme for this year’s congress is sustainable utilisation of biological biodiversity.

The first world congress was held in November 2008 in Chiangmai Thailand.

Nansian said the institute would be seeking international funds to set up and run the programmes.

The Asia-Pacific biodiversity research centre would be working closely with Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) at Jalan Puncak Borneo.

“It is an interesting collaboration between UiTM and the Century Foundation of the University of Bangalore India, representing the Indian government, to set up the institute at large,” he added.

The University of Bangalore India was represented by the co-organiser of the congress, Associate Professor Dr Sivaram while UiTM by its rector, Professor Dr Jamil Hamali.

Nansian said the state government was serious on the sustainability of biotechnology development and applied preventive measures on environmental degradation from development activities, instead of the conventional approach.

Being the only state in Malaysia that had enacted the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre Ordinance in 1997, the setting up of SBC under the enactment showed Sarawak was going for massive protection and sustainable development of biodiversity.

“The state government has also enacted the Sarawak Biodiversity Regulation in 1998 to show how serious we are in protecting the environment. It is also in line with the National Policy on Environment and the National Conservation strategy consisting of two important framework documents that support the drive to sustainable development,” the Tasik Biru assemblyman said.