25-year Forest Master Plan

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) is formulating a statewide 25-year Forest Master Plan as a guide to pave the direction of the state’s long-term forest resources management.

Disclosing this today, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor (pictured) said the Plan, in line with the Sabah Forest Policy 2018, would focus not only on forest reserves but also forest areas within state land and alienated land.

He said the SFD has taken various proactive measures to protect Sabah’s forest, and that since 1997, the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) concept has been fully implemented.

“Sustained efforts in creating a balance of socio-economic development and environmental conservation through rationalisation of land use should be continuously implemented as an alternative new and sustainable income generation for Sabah.

“This includes exploring various initiatives which can support forest conservation programme through non-timber-based income generation (Forest Beyond Timber),” Hajiji said at the “Heart of Borneo International Conference: An Ecosystem That Provides” at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here.

Deputy Chief Minister I cum Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan read his speech.

Hajiji also said the Sabah government was committed towards the conservation of its natural resources through protected areas in line with the objectives of the Heart of Borneo Initiative.

“I am happy to see that the International Conference on HoB today has brought together various stakeholders and individuals from all over the world to work together in environmental conservation efforts.

“Since the declaration of the Heart of Borneo Initiative in 2007, the Sabah Government, through the SFD, has made much progress in conservation.

“More than 27 per cent of the state land or about 2.0 million hectares had been gazetted as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs), and 75 per cent of the TPAs are located within the boundaries of Sabah’s Heart of Borneo,” he said.

The Chief Minister added that in line with its development roadmap – Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) – the state government was also committed to expanding the size of the TPA to 30 per cent of Sabah’s land area by 2025.

Sabah, he said was also committed to supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for enhanced climate actions and would continue to promote the strong linkages between climate change and sustainable development whilst mainstreaming climate change-related actions into Sabah’s development agenda.

“Sabah is also committed to implementing necessary mitigation actions as well as adaptation actions across all sectors to support the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that Malaysia has set under the Paris Agreement by 2030,” he said.

In this regard, Hajiji said the state government had established the Sabah Climate Action Council (SCAC) to set the direction and coordinate climate change mitigation and adaptation-related projects at the state level.

“All conservation efforts, starting from protection, restoration, management and up to mainstreaming forest conservation and biodiversity protection, are emphasised,” he added.

And, Hajiji also stressed that all these efforts required cooperation and collaboration from various parties consisting of government agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), private sectors and industries, institutes of higher learning and the local communities.

“It is important that we continue to engage and work together as well as collaborate with new partners. To date, Sabah has collaborated with various implementing partners through 110 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Memoranda of Agreement (MoA).

“And, today will see six more memoranda of understanding added to the list of conservation partners,” the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, Hajiji thanked the federal government, particularly the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC), for its strong support of the HoB Initiative.

Since 2009, some RM48 million had been disbursed to Sabah for the implementation of the HoB Initiative and under the 12th Malaysian Plan, the federal government has pledged another RM13 million for the initiative.

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