SPECIAL REPORT (Kuching): Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) is collaborating with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to develop a pilot transboundary green economy programme in Sarawak under the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative.
The green economy programme will be situated in the Kapit and Sri Aman Divisions of Sarawak. These two divisions are habitat to orang utans and the source of main rivers such as the Batang Rajang and Batang Lupar.
The divisions are also important to Sarawak’s economy as there are large production forests and oil palm plantations. The project area is estimated to be around 1.5 million hectares between Kapit and Sri Aman.
Two important biodiversity hotspots in Sarawak, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (LEWS) and Batang Ai National Park (BANP) are also located in the pilot project area.
Both hotpsots are also located adjacent to Betung Kerihun National Park, the conservation area in Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan.
FDS Director, Tuan Haji Sapuan Ahmad said the programme, which will begin end of this year to 2020, is expected to generate economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities and enhance environmental protection of these areas.
“Through this programme, we can also help fight climate change,” he said during the HoB International Climate Initiative (IKI) Green Economy meeting with stakeholders from the two divisions here recently..
“We hope that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and the biodiversity of Sarawak’s forests will be protected without obstructing the economic development of Kapit and Sri Aman.”
WWF-Malaysia Sarawak Programme Leader Dr. Jason Hon said WWF will help FDS identify gaps in the existing conservation and socio-economic programmes by the government, and also help advocate logging and oil palm companies in adopting green economy practices in their business operations.
This joint collaboration aims at developing a green economy management concept comprising of land-use plan and green economy action plan, raising awareness and developing training for businesses to develop environmentally-friendly business practices, empowering local communities to co-manage natural resources in a sustainable manner, and eventually replicating the green economy management concept throughout HoB areas.
Dr. Henry Chan, WWF HoB Programme Leader, explained that the green economy management plan stems out from the idea of connecting totally protected areas (TPAs) to one another in the island from Sabah to Sarawak, Brunei Darussalam and Kalimantan.
“This connectivity is important to prevent inbreeding and long–term genetic decline. To realise this connectivity, a healthy patch of forest is needed in between two TPAs to allow the species to travel from one TPA to another. Without the existence of this forest patch, human-wildlife conflict is bound to happen.”
HoB is a conservation and sustainable use of natural resources programme initiated by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei governments since 2007. It covers a vast area of rainforest in the island, which is a 22-million hectare landscape of natural capital with intact forests.
The HoB IKI Green Economy Programme is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.
ABOUT HOB IKI GREEN ECONOMY PROGRAMME
Green Economy in the HoB is a two-million hectare site, spanning from northern West Kalimantan to the central of Sarawak, has been identified for this HoB Transboundary Corridor project, funded under the International Climate Initiative, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.
The corridor project aims at developing a green economy management concept that promotes environmentally-friendly resource use and production within the transboundary HoB Corridor for West Kalimantan and Sarawak.
This project is situated within the HoB Corridor Initiative that aims at creating an ecological connectivity between protected areas and different land uses that spans Brunei Darussalam, the two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, and four Indonesian provinces of West, Central, East and North Kalimantan.