11th Heart of Bor­neo Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing held in In­done­sia

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KOTA KINABALU: The 11th Heart of Bor­neo Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing was suc­cess­fully held on Oc­to­ber 11 to 12 in Tarakan, North Kal­i­man­tan, In­done­sia. The Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing is an an­nual meet­ing held on ro­ta­tional ba­sis by the three mem­ber coun­tries, i.e. Brunei Darus­salam, In­done­sia and Malaysia, to present progress by each mem­ber coun­try in im­ple­ment­ing rel­e­vant pro­grammes un­der the ini­tia­tive; and also serves as an im­por­tant plat­form to dis­cuss on pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tions un­der the HoB Ini­tia­tive that can be im­ple­mented by the mem­ber coun­tries.

The Malaysian del­e­ga­tion was headed by Dato’ Sr Az­imud­din Ba­hari, Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­ment Malaysia, and was well at­tended by of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­ment Malaysia, Sabah Forestry De­part­ment, For­est De­part­ment Sarawak and also from the Min­istry of Ur­ban Devel­op­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Sarawak.

The meet­ing was of­fi­cially opened by Irianto Lam­bire, Gov­er­nor of North Kal­i­man­tan. In his open­ing speech, Lam­bire con­veyed that the theme of the 11th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing, i.e. Pro­mot­ing Eco­tourism in HoB for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment: Visit the Heart of Bor­neo, is rel­e­vant with the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and stated that at this mo­ment, there are many chal­lenges such as cli­mate change, de­for­esta­tion and hunger. There­fore, the HoB mem­ber coun­tries’ com­mit­ments in main­tain­ing sus­tain­abil­ity of the for­est is cru­cial, hav­ing its role as nat­u­ral bal­ance cat­a­lyst, sus­tain­ing life, as well as pro­tect­ing oxy­gen and wa­ter sup­ply. He fur­ther em­pha­sised on the im­por­tance of eval­u­at­ing the progress of the HoB and sug­gested that all ini­tia­tives should be trans­formed into ac­tions.

Malaysia’s pro­posal on ‘Trans­bound­ary Con­ser­va­tion Project on Su­ma­tran Rhinoceros,’ tabled since the 9th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing has re­ceived pos­i­tive at­ten­tion whereby dur­ing the 11th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing, it was in­formed that Malaysia and In­done­sia will con­duct a Tech­ni­cal Ex­perts Meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 18 to 20 in Jakarta, In­done­sia, to pro­vide tech­ni­cal rec­om­men­da­tions on rhinoceros con­ser­va­tion to both Gov­ern­ments. Malaysia also pro­posed that the High Level Bi­lat­eral Meet­ing on Su­ma­tran Rhinoceros Con­ser­va­tion to be held on De­cem­ber 4 and 5.

Other sig­nif­i­cant out­comes of the meet­ing, among oth­ers, are (i) the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the HoB Cor­ri­dor Project by each mem­ber coun­try, whereby con­nec­tiv­ity of pro­tected ar­eas be­tween the three coun­tries is to be ad­dressed; (ii) to pro­ceed with ca­pac­ity build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties for the pro­posed ‘Shar­ing of Ex­pe­ri­ence and Rel­e­vant Data Through the Ex­ist­ing Trans­Bound­ary Project for Ca­pac­ity Build­ing’ pro­gramme; and (iii) the launch­ing of the Visit Heart of Bor­neo cam­paign in sup­port to the pro­posal on Green Eco­tourism and Des­ti­na­tion in HoB.

In con­junc­tion with the 11th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing, the ‘Visit Heart of Bor­neo’ cam­paign was launched on Oc­to­ber 11 dur­ing the Wel­com­ing Din­ner. This is in recog­ni­tion of eco-tourism as a tool for sup­port­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of the Heart of Bor­neo. The launch­ing cer­e­mony was of­fi­ci­ated by Fredrick El­lia Gugkang, rep­re­sent­ing the Min­is­ter of Tourism Repub­lic of In­done­sia at Ge­dung Pe­mer­in­tah Kal­i­man­tan Utara, Tarakan In­done­sia and was at­tended by the del­e­gates of the 11th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing.

The cam­paign was the re­sult from the de­ci­sion of the 10th HoB Tri­lat­eral Meet­ing in Ban­dar Seri Be­gawan, Brunei Darus­salam on Septem­ber 5 to 7, 2016 in adopt­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions by the HoB Green Eco­tourism Work­shop in Tan­jung Selor, North Kal­i­man­tan, In­done­sia on Au­gust 2 and 3, 2016. The cam­paign is seen as an im­por­tant step to in­crease the vis­i­bil­ity of HoB and to pro­mote the rich, nat­u­ral and cul­tural her­itage of the HoB to tour op­er­a­tors, agen­cies, vis­i­tors and the gen­eral pub­lic.

In his re­marks dur­ing the launch­ing cer­e­mony, Az­imud­din an­nounced that Malaysia is ready for the ‘Visit Heart of Bor­neo’ and stated that the cam­paign is in­deed very timely to pro­mote the po­ten­tial of HoB ar­eas, to be pro­moted as eco­tourism sites. He also added that the cam­paign is in line with the global aspi­ra­tion as de­clared by the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly that ‘Year 2017 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for Devel­op­ment,’ re­call­ing the po­ten­tial of tourism to ad­vance the uni­ver­sal 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and the 17 Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGs).

Malaysia through the Sabah Forestry De­part­ment and For­est De­part­ment Sarawak has iden­ti­fied sev­eral top eco-tourism sites in Sabah and Sarawak to be pro­moted in the cam­paign. Th­ese sites are cho­sen based on their unique­ness in pro­mot­ing the Heart of Bor­neo Ini­tia­tive within the states, es­pe­cially in pro­mot­ing con­ser­va­tion, sus­tain­able nat­u­ral re­sources man­age­ment and also com­mu­nity en­gage­ments. The re­spec­tive states will also have fur­ther de­lib­er­a­tions with their rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, on the best way of im­ple­ment­ing the cam­paign. In ad­di­tion to that, both Sabah and Sarawak will also have its spe­cial launch­ing of the pro­gramme in the re­spec­tive states in due course.

An of­fi­cial logo of the Visit HoB Year 2018 cam­paign was also launched dur­ing the launch­ing cer­e­mony, which will be used as the of­fi­cial pro­mo­tional tool for the cam­paign. The logo con­sists of a Heart of Bor­neo area bound­ary on Bor­neo Is­land, sur­rounded by two ab­stract images of horn­bills and leaves de­pict­ing the bio­di­ver­sity of Bor­neo Is­land. The horn­bill was cho­sen in the logo as the species was found in Brunei Darus­salam, In­done­sia and Malaysia, and they have be­come a sym­bol of co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions among the three coun­tries.

Dur­ing the launch­ing, Malaysia also per­formed a cul­tural show that show­cased the tra­di­tional dances of Sabah and Sarawak, i.e. the fa­mous Su­mazau Dance of Sabah, the grace­ful Datun Ju­lud of Sarawak, and also a med­ley of Sabah and Sarawak cul­tural dances.

The Heart of Bor­neo (HoB) is the ini­tia­tive of three coun­tries, Brunei Darus­salam, In­done­sia, and Malaysia that share the is­land of Bor­neo. The ini­tia­tive was de­clared on Fe­bru­ary 12, 2007, in Bali, In­done­sia and has come to its 10th year of im­ple­men­ta­tion. Com­pris­ing ap­prox­i­mately 30% of the is­land of Bor­neo’s land area, more than 22 mil­lion hectares of trop­i­cal rain­for­est and the sources of four­teen ma­jor rivers and 70% of the wa­ter needs, the HoB de­liv­ers ecosys­tem prod­ucts and ser­vices for at least 11 mil­lion peo­ple.

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