Fed Govt supports HoB Initiative in Sabah, Sarawak

 

By CLEOPHAS JOHN GORDON

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government will continue to support Sabah and Sarawak in the implementation of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative, said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

In his speech which was read out by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Secretary General Datuk Sr Dr Azimuddin Bahari during the closing ceremony of the International Conference on the Heart of Borneo: Enabling and Empowering Conservation Through Science-Policy Interface, Conservation Finance and Community Engagement at the Magelan Sutera Resort yesterday, he said that under the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plan, the Federal Government has allocated about RM34.46 million to implement various projects and activities under the HoB Initiative.

“It has further allocated another RM75.05 million under the 11th Malaysia Development Plan for the same purpose. “The successful implementation of all the activities under HoB also indicates the dedication and support of both Sabah and Sarawak state governments,” said Wan Junaidi.

Wan Junaidi also said that the HoB is the beacon of biodiversity and should be given priority and due attention and conservation.

“The Malaysian Government recognises the significance of the HoB Initiative, which is in tandem with the existing policies, plans and programmes pertaining to sustainable development, land use and conservation at both state and national levels.

“The Ministry views the HoB as an important initiative that will directly contribute towards the betterment in forest management and conservation,” he added.

He added that his ministry hopes for an expansion of conservation efforts beyond boundaries and key trans-boundary conservation project or initiatives such as the Corridor Project and the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Project could be implemented as soon as possible.

“One of the important decisions reached in the 10th Trilateral Meeting on Heart of Borneo in Brunei was on the implementation of the Sumatran Rhinoceros Conservation Project proposal between Malaysia and Indonesia. “This collaboration is timely and incredibly important in view of the utmost urgency to save the last rhinoceros on the Island of Borneo.

“In awareness of this vital call for conservation, the Federal Government through the 11th Malaysia Plan has allocated RM5.8 million to the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to support the Sumatran Rhino Conservation Programme,” Wan Junaidi said, adding that a draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the project from Malaysia has already been prepared and is currently being finalised.

He added that Malaysia also remains committed to implementing Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in line with decisions reached during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 1992, Rio+20 Conference in 2012 and in the recent United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.

“We have held firmly to our commitment to maintain at least 50 per cent of the country’s land area under forest and tree cover.

The ability to maintain this commitment is attributed to our continuous implementation of SFM to ensure effective utilisation, conservation and protection of our invaluable forest resources,” he added.

During the two-day conference, five keynote addresses and 41 papers were presented in three concurrent sessions by speakers from all over the world, with more than 800 participants from different backgrounds representing various agencies, both local and international.

During the opening ceremony of the Conference too which was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, 11 Memorandum of Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Intent were signed.

“This signifies the smart partnership and concerted efforts of various parties contributing towards conservation in Sabah,” he said further, commending the Sabah Forestry Department for proactively taking the lead role in the implementation of HoB activities.

 
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New Sabah Times