KOTA KINABALU: The Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Phillipines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) has been hailed as the most mega diverse region in the world.
In a statement yesterday, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said the ministers responsible for the BIMP-Eaga’s tropical rainforests and marine resources gave this recognition at the one-day Conference on the Heart of Borneo and Coral Reefs in Temburong, Brunei.
In a joint statement, the ministers of the four-member countries said the two ecosystems of forests and coral reefs were interconnected and good strategies and plans were 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,” it said.
Meanwhile, Secretary Luwalhati R Antonino, MinDA Chair and Philippine Signing Minister for BIMP-Eaga, said the role of the business entities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local government units in the conservation of the seas, oceans, forests, and species in the coral triangle should not be forgotten.
“BIMP-Eaga governments should adapt a proactive role in taking the lead in the formulation and implementation of conservation policies by setting up business models where prospective business corporations and NGOs may become key players in protecting the marine and coastal resources in the coral triangle”, she said.
Also present 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, Antonino. — Bernama