The International Conference on Heart of Borneo’s Natural Capital: Unleashing their Potential for Sustainable Growth in Sabah was held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from 11-12 November 2013.
The two-day conference explored the future of the Heart of Borneo, including a focus on: REDD+; spatial planning to enhance conservation efforts; the role of NGOs; training and capacity building; research needs; and communication.
The meeting had a dedicated session on Forever Sabah, a 25-year initiative to support Sabah’s transition to a diversified, equitable green economy. Speakers presented on Forever Sabah’s seven core areas, namely: forests; watersheds and communities; renewable energy; sustainable food and agriculture; waste water and soil; community tourism; and the Forever Sabah Institute. Natural Justice is the legal advisor to Forever Sabah and, in that context, Harry Jonas (Natural Justice) presented on the Scientific Consensus Statement.
Overall the two-day conference illustrates the continued governmental, scientific, indigenous, and civil society support for transboundary and landscape-scale initiatives that take a multi-sectoral approach. Interestingly, Forever Sabah, as an initiative in its early stages, was called on to move beyond the development stage to begin implementation on projects across its seven focus areas. Similarly, the Heart of Borneo was largely congratulated for its progress so far, but was urged to better communicate its direct contribution to biodiversity and livelihoods.