Tuesday, November 29

Forest rehabilitation a top priority – Musa


SANDAKAN: Forest rehabilitation is one of the main agendas for Sabah in efforts to ensure sustainability of forest resources and increase its capacity for carbon sequestration, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Musa Aman.

Musa waters a tree after planting it as Sam (second left), Liew (left) and others look on.

He explained that as carbon emission is one the main causes of global climate change, planting more tress will help in absorbing this greenhouse gas.

Tree planting should not be viewed as a trivial activity as each tree planted will help in carbon sequestration, he said when launching Standard Chartered Green fingers Planting of 1,000 trees in Sabah at the Sandakan Rainforest Park, Kebun Cina Forest Reserve, Mile 5, here yesterday.

“The Sabah Government had in 1996 launched a tree planting campaign to commemorate the celebration of World Forestry Day, as part of our ongoing pledge to safeguard the environment and make the State a better place to live in.

“The Sabah Forestry Department is also implementing a Mangrove Rehabilitation Project through funds under the ninth (9th) Malaysian Plan.  To date, a total of 814,731 mangroves trees have been planted throughout the coastal areas of Sabah covering an area of 735.56 hectares,” said Musa.

He emphasized that these tree planting initiatives showed Sabah was really committed towards realizing the importance of tree planting especially in addressing current issues on climate change.

The Sabah Government, through the Forestry Department and WWF Malaysia will jointly organize an International Conference in Kota Kinabalu on Nov 8-9 on Forests and Climate Change-Decoding  and Realising REDD-Plus In the Heart of Borneo (HoB)  with the special focus on Sabah.

This is a very important conference and Musa hopes full attendance will give the participants a chance to learn more about the importance of forests in mitigating climate change.

The idea for the “Campaign to Plant 26 Million Trees” was a result of the commitment made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, at the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Copenhagen in December 2009, Musa said.

At the convention, Malaysia made a commitment to reduce its carbon intensity by up to 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2005 levels, he added.

Sabah too had been involved in this nationwide campaign initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on April 22, 2010, in commemorating Earth Day, the Chief Minister said.

The State-level campaign was held at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly compound by members of the State assembly as a symbolic move by the people of Sabah, as a united action, to plant trees, represented by their sixty (60) assemblymen.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup  said that it was his fervent hope that many more corporations would emulate Standard Chartered Bank in co-operating and including the “environment” as part of their CSR programs.

Managing director and chief executive officer of Standard  Bank Osman Morad said, as the first bank in Malaysia for the last 135 years, sustainability has always been close to their hearts.

At Standard Chartered Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, they have been championing sustainability causes through the way they do business and in the local community they operate in.

Standard Chartered embarked on its GreenFingers eco-project in Sabah as one of its staff-driven sustainability (CSR) programmes to combat climate change and environment degradation.

Some 500 tree carriers comprising secondary school students, Standard Chartered and Sabah Forestry Department staff took time off toiling eagerly at Sandakan Rainforest planting various seedlings to honour the bank’s pledge to plant 1l,000 trees nationwide.

Also present at the launch were Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong and Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan.