|The Heart of Borneo. Credit: WWF|
The Heart of Borneo is a transboundary conservation initiative spearheaded by the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Holly Jonas (Natural Justice) attended the initiative's sixth annual conference on 10 November 2014 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, which focused on the theme "Enhancing Biodiversity towards No Net Loss and Beyond within the Heart of Borneo Landscape".
The conference was opened by Datuk Sam Mannan (Director of Sabah Forestry Department), who underscored the need for political sustainability in decision-making on environmental sustainability, and Datuk Seri G. Palanivel (Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment), who committed to applying for additional funds for the Heart of Borneo under the 11th Malaysia Plan. Dr. Greg Asner (Carnegie Institution for Science) delivered the keynote address on his team's groundbreaking work on remote sensing 3-dimensional mapping using the Carnegie Airborne Observatory.
The first panel, focusing on global perspectives, was chaired by Dr. Michael Kleine (International Union of Forest Research Organisations) and featured presentations by: Dr. Braulio de Souza Dias (Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity) on the CBD's perspectives on No Net Loss; Jane Lawton (International Union for Conservation of Nature-Asia) on the critical role of protected areas and on IUCN's Business and Biodiversity Programme; Dato' Dr. Dionysius Sharma (WWF-Malaysia) on the major findings of WWF's recently released 2014 Living Planet Report, which illustrate a 52% decline in global biodiversity between 1970 and 2010; and Michael Crowe on policies and tools for achieving No Net Loss, including the standards of the Business and Biodiversity Offset Programme. The CBD's 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets, particularly Target 11, were referenced multiple times, along with the need to move beyond quantity towards quality of protected areas in Asia.
The second panel, focusing on practitioner perspectives, was chaired by Datuk Darrel Webber (Secretary General of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and featured presentations by: Datuk Dr. Glen Reynolds (Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme) on building an evidence base in Sabah for No Net Loss and Payment for Ecosystem Services; Dr. David Cassells (The Nature Conservancy) on translating environmental values into tangible income; Dr. David Brand (New Forests) on future forest plantations and implementation of No Net Loss; Simon Siburat (Wilmar International) on enhancing biodiversity within oil palm plantations; and Glen MacNair (Forest Solutions) on forest owners' perspectives on the role of industrial tree plantations in No Net Loss.