‘All stakeholders must work for benefit of all’

KUCHING: Forestry matters may be under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments and federal authorities, but this doesn’t stop all stakeholders from working towards the betterment of humanity and future generations.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said Malaysia is committed to Reducing the Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) objective.

Awang Tengah’s, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, and Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, text of speech was read by Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol.

One of the mitigation measures is through sustainable forest management, he said at the 18th Malaysian Forestry Conference welcoming dinner, here Tuesday.

He told delegates that Sarawak is not only endowed with many natural resources, but also blessed with cultural diversity due to its 28 ethnic communities, many of whom have been living intimately with the biodiversity and have learned to use plants for various reasons; be it for food, medicines, health and shelter.

Sarawak has gazetted 60 totally protected areas including national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, covering an area of 788,886 hectares and two territorial waters of 231,954 hectares, Awang Tengah added.

He said the Sarawak government has established the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) to initiate intensive biotech-based research and development on our biological resources � particularly those that have been utilised by indigenous communities and to facilitate the documentation of the fast disappearing traditional knowledge on the usage of these biological resources.

To date, a total of 1,324 species have been documented with useful traditional knowledge for medicine, food and nutrition, etc. From this figure, six plants have been selected for further R&D and commercialisation, Awang Tengah said.

Sarawak has set up the RM60.6 million Bio-Valley Park in Miri where there are pilot plant facilities for research and commercialisation.

The Heart of Borneo project is indeed our pride to show how various the governments of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia can work together towards achieving sustainable forest management, conservation of biological diversity, sustainable agriculture and land use, community-based programmes and promoting eco-tourism, he said.

Sarawak Forest Department director Hamden Mohammad who in his speech said he hoped to encourage partnership within the forestry sector, was also present.