KUCHING: The BIMP-EAGA region has been recognised as the most ‘mega diverse’ sub-region in the world due to its rich biodiversity, especially its tropical rainforests and coral reef.
BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Phillipines-East Asia Growth Area.
The recognition was given by the ministers responsible for the region at the BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Conference on the Heart of Borneo and Coral Reefs in Temburong, Brunei yesterday.
The ministers representing Malaysia were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili.
Representing Brunei were Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng and Industry and Primary Resources Minister Pehin Dato Yahya.
Indonesia was represented by Zulkifli Hassan while Philippines by Mindanao Development Authority chairman Luwalhati Antonino.
“The ministers recognised that the two ecosystems of forests and coral reefs are interconnected and noted that good strategies and plans are currently being implemented including maintaining the ecological corridors joining the terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
“The ministers agreed that their respective national action plans would form
the basis for the development and conservation of the two ecosystems and recognised the importance of collaboration efforts among member countries in the areas of common interest such as in eco-tourism and research and development.
“This effort would complement each other and create synergy that would significantly contribute to the BIMP-EAGA rich biodiversity.
“In this regard, the ministers recognised the BIMP-EAGA region as the most mega diverse sub-region in the world,” said the ministers in a joint statement yesterday.
They had urged regional organisations, dialogue partners, development partners as well as the private sector to work closely with the governments on the two initiatives in mitigating climate change including respective national efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
As for the national level, they had pledged to maintain the cooperation and implementation of strategy in conservation, sustainable forest and marine resource management, protection of endangered species and mitigation as well as adaptation of climate change.
“This will ensure mutually beneficial outcomes and economic well-being for the people of the sub-region in safeguarding these ecosystems,” they said.
The ministerial conference also saw the views on the development of the Heart of Borneo initiative as well as measures to preserve the coral reefs in the sub-region exchanged.
“We acknowledged and commended the progress achieved under the Heart of Borneo initiative as well as the respective national initiatives of the Member Countries on Coral Reefs to address challenges in biodiversity conservation in the sub-region.
“The ministers welcomed discussions in promoting environmental sustainability to ensure the local community stands to benefit from the vast economic potential,” they said.