Published on: Friday, October 28, 2011
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has one of the richest biodiversities in the world with an area of 59 per cent covered by forests, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) chief representative in Malaysia, Tsutomo Nagae.
However, he said, it was faced with the threat of extinction due to the rapid economic development in the state.
As such, biodiversity conservation measures were considered necessary to be implemented as soon as possible in order to improve the situation, he said in his remarks at the closing of the Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) at 1Borneo, near here, today.
Nagae said the Japanese government, through JICA, strongly committed itself to biodiversity conservation and had implemented the Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation (BBEC) programme in Sabah since 2002, in cooperation with various implementing agencies including the Sabah government and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
On the first phase of BBEC, he said the project focused on technology transfer with regard to building up the monitoring and research skills of different agencies, while the second phase focused on policy aspect by linking conservation activities with the decision-making process.
Nagae thanked the 21 participants from eight countries - Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Tanzania, Thailand and Uganda for their successful completion of the 24-day training course.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Bolkiah Ismail, in his closing speech, said the state government had placed more emphasis on the environmental component and as a result, the cutting and exporting of round logs had declined in the last 25 years.
"We have gone into doing more downstream industries as well as making sure that our forests are harvested sustainably. We have also learned that there are many ways resources can be exploited and that a forest can be set to provide better production in the future. "At the same time, we have also seen the tourism industry, which began as a small venture, has now grown into a giant provider to the economy."
Bolkiah said the state government also continued to increase the number of natural habitats into the list of protected areas, adhering to international initiatives, and working hard to achieve international targets in conservation.- Bernama