Gov’t seeks to develop social contributions of forestry

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE government is looking to strengthen the social forestry component of the 1989 National Forestry Policy, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources said.

"The social forestry component aims to develop and enhance the social and cultural contributions of the forestry sector by strengthening stakeholder participation in related forest management activities, thereby improving the well-being and quality of life of all levels of society," the minister said.

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar also pledged the government's continued commitment and spearheading of the "active implementation" of the tri-nation Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative.

"With the institutionalisation of the Brunei HoB Centre, we are looking forward to continue the achievement of the HoB goals with wider stakeholder participation."

The minister was speaking during yesterday's opening of the Second Asean Social Forestry Network (ASFN) Conference, which carried the theme, "Forests For People: The Role of Social Forestry in REDD+ and Forest Conservation".

REDD+ referred to "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of the Forests and Enhancement of Carbon Stock in Developing Countries".

With Brunei's population at less than a million and the stability of the economy, Pehin Dato Hj Yahya said the country's high forest cover was under "minimum" pressure of being utilised. This also meant that only a few indigenous tribes still depended on the forests for food and shelter, compared to other Asean member states.

Acting Forestry Director Mahmud Hj Yussof said the social forestry component of the national policy focused on the culture of the natives' as a driver to sustainable forest management in Brunei.

"Their way of living in the forest - living (in) harmony with nature, and highly-valued traditional forest-based knowledge are protected by the legislation and more importantly, under the Brunei HoB initiative," he said.

During the dinner reception for conference participants last night, the first ASFN book published in collaboration with the Centre for People and Forests The Role of Social Forestry in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Asean Region and the second edition of ASFN Country Briefs on The Role of Social Forestry in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in each Asean Member State were launched.

The conference invited about 180 participants comprising Asean representatives and related organisations from within and beyond the region.

The Brunei Times