Saturday, August 24

‘Govt to ensure pristine forest remains pristine’

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KOTA KINABALU: The state government will ensure close cooperation among all relevant agencies in order to achieve a sustainable forest management in Sabah, said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.

TO YOU: Sam (right) presents a souvenir to Masidi at the closing ceremony of the international conference.

He pointed out that the state has significantly contributed to tackling climate issues with activities which were in line with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-plus),  such as forest biodiversity conservation, protection, restoration and rehabilitation.

REDD is a mechanism to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by compensating countries for avoiding deforestation and degradation, while ‘plus’ incorporates forest conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks to encourage greater participation in REDD and to reward countries that are already protecting their forests.

Masidi further said, managing forest was not easy due to the timber industry.

“It has been quite difficult making decision to lose money, when the state government of Sabah, in efforts to preserve forest, has to forgo a couple of billion ringgit to ensure our pristine forest remains as pristine as they are.”

He said this when closing the International Conference on ‘Forests and Climate Change – Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) with Specific Focus on Sabah’ here yesterday.

Masidi added that the state government has gazetted more forest reserves rather than turning them into plantation in the past four years.

More than 500 participants, both local and international, took part in the two-day conference.

The conference encompassed background information on the international and national policy development on REDD-plus, sharing of experiences on the implementation of REDD-plus programme in various countries, and the science and economics behind the REDD-plus implementation.

Masidi said the conference also served as a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas among relevant agencies and individuals on climate change mitigation in Sabah.

“There is no doubt that we cannot achieve the objectives in isolation but we have to work hand in hand among agencies and individuals at the state, national and international levels in order to move forward and gain recognition,” he stressed.

Also present at the conference were former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah as well as Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan.