‘HoB contributes to economic growth’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Heart of Borneo (HoB) Trilateral Conference has drawn up six resolutions, including the recognition that the forest conservation initiative has a positive impact on the island’s economic growth.
Biodiversity researchers from Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore recognised the importance of the HoB initiative in providing a scientific platform that creates vast research opportunities on Bornean forest biological resources, an important factor for business communities from HoB member countries.
The two-day conference, which concluded here yesterday, saw researchers and experts present their findings on various biodiversity projects on Borneo.
In 2007, the three Bornean countries of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia signed the HoB declaration to conserve and sustainably manage around 220,000 square kilometres of equatorial rainforests, or almost a third of the island.
In a 2007 report in The Brunei Times, as much as 74 per cent of Brunei's total land area or 426,554 ha were to be included in the HoB conservation initiative.
Another resolution at the trilateral conference recognised the need to strengthen existing collaboration among HoB member countries given the overwhelming scientific evidence of the socio-economic and environmental benefits found on Borneo.
It noted that technical cooperative mechanisms have to be developed to facilitate future trilateral projects to enhance the visibility of the HoB Initiative’s progress, adding that the role of corporate and private sectors should be enhanced.
The conference also underscored the need to extend and explore the scope of future HoB projects by actively involving scientists and civil societies in each member country.
Participants further suggested the strengthening of information and technical exchange on various fields of studies through the established networks under the HoB framework.
This is based on the urgent need to exchange information by the conference speakers including options for Bornean-scale protection and conservation efforts in order to safeguard biological resources and valuable forest ecosystem services, a statement read.
In addition, the conference made the resolution that the HoB initiative provides an important framework for protecting forest biodiversity values within the designated core area of the HoB.
“The conference deliberated various field of research activities based on five agreed pillars within the designated HoB area in each member country involving the relevant government agencies, research institutions and key stakeholders,” the final resolution read.
More than 200 participants that were made up of researchers, senior government officials, non-governmental organisations from the three HoB member countries took part in the two-day conference.
The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources’ Heart of Borneo Centre hosted the conference at The Rizqun International Hotel.
The Brunei Times