Tuesday, September 22

‘HoB initiative can count on Putrajaya for support’

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Azizan (left) receives a memento from Sapuan as a token of appreciation for officiating at the closing ceremony. At the centre is Dino.

Azizan (left) receives a memento from Sapuan as a token of appreciation for officiating at the closing ceremony. At the centre is Dino.

KUCHING: The federal government is committed to help Sabah and Sarawak implement projects and activities under the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative.

However, support from HoB partners from the private sector and government aid agencies from around the world is also very much needed to strengthen these forest and wildlife conservation projects, which cover Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the federal government allocated about RM34.46 million under the ninth and 10th Malaysia Plan (MP), and would continue to support HoB under the 11th MP.

“Regardless the amount that the government is able to commit to, it would never be enough to adequately implement a visionary plan such as that of the Heart of Borneo Corridor.

“As such, I call upon HoB partners from the private sector, government aid agencies from around the world to support this corridor project for a better conserved Heart of Borneo,” the Santubong MP said when closing the International HoB Corridor Project Implementation Workshop here yesterday.

His text-of-speech was read out by the ministry’s secretary-general Dato Sri Azizan Ahmad. Also present were World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia chief executive officer Dato Dr Dino Sharma and state Forestry Department director Sapuan Ahmad.

Wan Junaidi noted that proposals on the HoB Corridor Project Implementation – spanning three countries, stretching more than 2,000 miles, and covering four million hectares – was a visionary endeavour.

The project is expected to allow comprehensive conservation and sustainable development in the HoB area to be managed as a single connected landscape across the third largest island in the world.

“Sustainable land uses in the HoB areas and efforts to connect a series of protected areas will in turn allow wildlife to move freely from place to place. In these well-connected forest landscapes, our forest and land use managers can work closely with conservationists to manage the habitats for the conservation of biodiversity.”

WWF Malaysia, in a statement, said the international workshop, organised in collaboration with the state Forest Department, was meant to design and develop an implementation framework that will secure, manage and restore fragmented forestry landscape connectivity into a transboundary conservation area that links up protected areas in HoB member countries.

About 100 hundred people, comprising officers and representatives from government agencies, universities, non-governmental organisations, and industry involved in conservation, environment and natural resources planning, and also management and use, were involved in the two-day workshop.