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Stephan Wulffaarat of WWF-Indonesia, who is the main author of “The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016”, briefly present the outcome of the joint report. Pix courtesy of WWF-IndonesiaStephan Wulffaarat of WWF-Indonesia, who is the main author of “The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016”, briefly present the outcome of the joint report. Pix courtesy of WWF-Indonesia

KUCHING-Environmental health in the whole of Borneo continued to record a declining trend last year.

This was highlighted in a joint report by WWF-Malaysia and its counterpart from Indonesia entitled “The Environmental Status of Borneo 2016” which was tabled during Experts Dialogue held in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative at Borneo Tarakan University, Tarakan, North Kalimantan, Indonesia, today.

In a joint statement released by WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Indonesia, it was stated that the joint report stressed that Borneo was at risk of “losing its major ecosystem”, which was critical to the long-term well-being of the local communities and the economies of the three HoB member countries namely Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

WWF-Malaysia chief executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma reckoned that the HoB Initiative could play a bigger role as a leading example to create greater impact to the whole of Borneo.

 “We need to ensure that all our efforts would also contribute to the overall environmental health of the entire island of Borneo,” he said.

The HoB initiative is a transboundary collaboration among the governments of the three nations, which was established in 2007 to conserve and sustainably manage the biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources categorized as the Heart of Borneo.

Dionysius said the report showed that the initiative had fared far better compared to areas outside of the HoB boundary.

He said that although a large portion of Borneo’s lowland had been converted from forests to other land uses, much of the HoB area remained relatively intact.

“We are convinced that this is largely due to the success of the three countries’ visionary exercise to conserve the HoB that our governments have continuously committed since the joint declaration in 2007,” he said.

Meanwhile, WWF-Indonesia chief executive officer Rizal Malik said the findings on the environmental health report in Borneo would help stakeholders to plan for more sustainable future of the island.

“I am certain that this publication will be valuable reference for all development actors in Borneo and other partners to help maintain the sustainability of the natural capital of the island as one of the world's last remaining expanses of contiguous primary forest in the region,” he added

The dialogue was jointly organized by the HoB Indonesia National Working Group, Borneo Tarakan University, and WWF.

Several other topics were also explored during the session including Biodiversity and Environment in HoB (Rhino and Elephant Conservation); Climate Change, Energy and Transboundary Watershed Management: and Challenges and Opportunities in HoB.

Source: News Straits Times | 10 October 2017

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