Envoy: Oregon-Sabah Collaborative will grow
Published on: Friday, January 08, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: Local environmental, wildlife conservation and social development initiatives in Sabah can expect to make greater impact in their work through the commitment of the Oregon-Sabah Collaborative.The partnership between the two states hopes to continue to work on shared concerns ranging from conservation, research and education.

United States ambassador to Malaysia, Joseph Yun, said that both parties share many similarities among which include a commitment to think and act beyond borders in dealing with big issues such as forest and wildlife conservation as well as the wellbeing of remote indigenous peoples.

Yun, who was accompanying a delegation from Portland comprising academics, local government officials, non-governmental organisation representatives, expressed confidence that the project would grow as it has a solid support from the State government led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

The Oregon-Sabah Collaborative grew from the Portland-Kota Kinabalu Sister City Association friendship pact signed two years ago in Portland during a visit by a Sabah delegation. The next phase is to formalise a Sister City status between the two cities. The Oregon-Sabah Collaborative expands its scope to not just Kota Kinabalu but the whole State as well and covers more issues of mutual concern.

"It's about connecting and supporting ordinary people from both parts of the world who have been involved in local initiatives and thinking beyond borders to do what they can in their small ways to deal with some of the world's big issues," said Yun.

Ever since the Sister City concept began, there had been many collaborative efforts between organisations and individuals from Portland with the State government agencies and NGOs.

Earlier, Yun led the group, which include Portland State University and Oregon State University officials, to visit the Centre for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology (Create). The centre is a community-based initiative that is harnessing renewable energy to provide electricity to rural communities in Sabah.

The group was briefed by various local NGOs including Pacos Trust and Tonibung by Adrian Lasimbang on their different works including in the area of education with indigenous communities.

He said students from Oregon could do an internship programme with some of the local NGOs to learn hands-on how they work with rural communities.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir, who hosted Yun and the delegation to a luncheon, hopes that Sabah would also benefit from potential investors from Oregon.

Abidin, who was among the Sabah delegation that paid a visit to Portland two years ago, said he was impressed at how the city managed its waste and which he believed that Sabah could learn from.

He said Sabah is the first State to have made an effort to establish a Sister City pact with a US city.

The US delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Chief Minister.


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