Len urges govt agencies to collaborate in HoB programmes, activities

Len speaking during the opening ceremony of the 2020 Heart of Borneo seminar.

KUCHING, Sept 22: The Ministry of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Sarawak has called on other government agencies besides the Forest Department to enhance their collaboration and cooperation in a cross-sectoral approach in implementing activities or programmes under the related pillars within Heart of Borneo (HoB).

Multiple land use pattern of the HoB landscape under the different sectors require efforts in a cross-sectoral approach to significantly contribute to the realisation of the HoB Initiative, Assistant Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh said.

“Agriculture and tourism are among (the components) central to such efforts, reflecting their mandates to provide alternative sources of income to the rural community residing in the area. For example, by introducing a more sustainable approach to agriculture and fisheries and taking advantage of the unique trans-boundary ecotourism sites. Notably, several other sectors must contribute their efforts as well, such as the plantation sector in attaining their oil palm certification and Good Agriculture Practice (GAP),” he said when officiating at the opening of the 2020 HoB Seminar, today.

Apart from that, Len said situated within Sarawak’s HoB were the headwaters of major rivers and main water sources for six hydro electric dams under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

The hydro-electric dams are Batang Ai Dam, Bakun Dam, Murum Dam, Ulu Baram Dam, Limbang Dam and Balleh Dam.

“It is critical for us to manage these areas based on a sustainable development approach. Therefore, the state government promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources through integrated watershed management.

“This will maximise economic growth, enrich social welfare and equity without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment,” he said, adding that Forest Department Sarawak has collaborated with Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) in community-based activities in Batang Ai and Murum involving ‘tagang’ systems, forest landscape restoration and non-timber forest product development to lift up the livelihoods of local communities.

Len also spoke on Sarawak Forestry’s request for funding allocation under the 12th Malaysian Plan and cooperation from various government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO), private sector players and academic institutions which he said are crucial to support the implementation of current and future projects and programmes under the HoB Initiative within Sarawak HoB areas.

He also emphasised that it is quite a challenge to strike a balance between the need for socio-economic development and conservation of the state’s diverse biological resources during the review and multiple land use within HoB.

“Let us clarify that HoB does not change the existing legal framework and the overall development agenda of the state within the area but this initiative serves as a platform for us to promote the sustainable agenda of the state, besides continuing our conservation efforts,” he said.

At the event, Len also witnessed the launching of two publications under the HoB series, namely ‘Heart of Borneo Series 5: Proceedings of the Heart of Borneo Seminar Tama Abu’ and ‘Heart of Borneo Series 6: Checklist of Plants of Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary’.

Both publications detail biodiversity discoveries from the related scientific expeditions conducted within Sarawak HoB areas. — DayakDaily