Kota Kinabalu 8/11/2012: Red tape is hampering efforts to get World Heritage Site status for Maliau Basin, Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
"We are facing slight procedural challenges (in this effort) É please cut the red tape,"
he said at the Magellan Sutera, Wednesday.
According to him, this was among the 11 resolutions reached during the high-level meeting in conjunction with the International Conference Heart of Borneo (HoB) + 5: Shaping and Nurturing Sabah's Future Together.
However, he did not specify which government agency was responsible for the red tape.
Masidi said the meeting also agreed that the Federal Government must be seen to be more proactive in the HoB since it is a national initiative.
"I've personally suggested that the (Federal) Tourism Minister make herself available for the initiative," he said.
It was also felt that the HoB initiative that was formalised five years ago had yet to be amply promoted to the rest of the world resulting in not many who are willing to help or coming forward to do so, he said.
The high-level meeting also agreed that the bottom-up approach be adopted and that there must be a sense of ownership of the project with the NGOs, corporations working hand-in-hand with the Government and the people to make the plan a success, he said.
"We need to look into the bigger picture if we want to move forward in order to continue the initiative," he said.
Masidi said Sabah would not dictate what the other parties to the initiative such as Kalimantan (Indonesia), Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak as to what to do.
"It doesn't matter whether you want to ride a bicycle, bus or car but what is important is we reach the same destination," he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said as long as Barisan Nasional (BN) remains as Federal Government, the HoB Initiative will get full support from the Federal Government.
He said the Ministry viewed the HoB as a significant initiative that would directly contribute towards betterment in forest management and conservation.
"As such Malaysia reiterates the importance that this initiative be continued to be placed well within the government's sustainable development framework and policy," he said.
Kurup said the governments of the three countries involved in the HoB Initiative had recognised and are committed to a set of measures and actions to ensure the sustainability of effort in managing and conserving a large tract of area straddling the three countries.
"It signifies a practical and real effort by the HoB countries for the benefit of our future generation," he said.
He said the conservation of these forests is a matter of major local, national, regional and international concern for the diversity of their unique array of plants and animals.
"Equally important, they are of critical value to the people and countries of Borneo as prized natural heritage and for the goods and services that they provide.
"Hence, the HoB areas must be effectively managed on the basis of sustainable land use planning and implementation with regard to the balance of ecosystem, socio-cultural, economic and political aspects within the respective nations."
Some 600 participants of different backgrounds representing various agencies, both local and international, took part in the two-day conference.
He believed the many papers presented by experts from various parts of the world have enriched and provided them with a comprehensive understanding of the HoB initiative in shaping Sabah's future together.
Moreover, information provided during the conference would serve as guidance to move on and would be useful in realising the implementation of the HoB Initiative in Sabah. He assured the Government would ensure the close cooperation among all the relevant agencies prevails in achieving its objectives through sustainable forest management in Sabah.