Monday, October 5, 2009

Heart of Borneo project beginning to take shape

KOTA KINABALU: The ambitious tri-nation rainforest conservation initiative is taking shape two years after Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei signed a declaration for the “Heart of Borneo” project.

The three nations are now discussing possible common positions as they propose to take another step forward towards institutionalising protection and conservation arrangements in the 220 sq km area that covers nearly a third of Borneo island.

Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said there was a need for officials of the three nations to revise possible approaches and mechanisms.

Kurup, who opened the Third Trilateral Heart of Borneo meeting here on Monday, said that Malaysia remained committed to the project that would not only benefit the three participating countries, but also the world at large.

“Forests are like the proverbial goose that lays the gold eggs and we must therefore ... protect them,” he said in reference to Borneo’s rich biodiversity.

He said the Federal Government had allocated RM10.8mil to Sabah and Sarawak to implement various projects, including inventories and a survey of baseline information, in Heart of Borneo areas.

He said that Malaysia was also strengthening its existing transboundary conservation efforts with neighbouring countries under the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) in ensuring the protection and conservation of highland forests.

Representatives from Indonesia and Brunei also spoke of action plans taken in their respective areas towards the Heart of Borneo project.

All three countries have worked out their strategic plans of action in the core areas in Borneo, the third largest island in the world.

The trilateral meeting here will be a platform for officials and experts to discuss and exchange information on the management and biological conservation of natural resources.

*Taken from The Star Online

*To know about Heart of Borneo Project, click here.

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