Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Vice Chancellor Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah said the BBEC Project was implemented to coordinate all Sabah State agencies and stakeholders to achieve a common goal of conserving Sabah's rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystems.
"It has been an accomplishment so far. The Sabah Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) is also rooted in the BBEC Project," he said at the opening of the TCTP 2014 themed "The Integrated Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Training Course" at the UMS Chancellery Building compound here Thursday.
Dr Mohd Harun hoped the utmost momentous and efficacious cooperation between both will last for the common good of all the organisations involved in sustaining and conserving biodiversity.
"This is besides to make Sabah the showcase of excellence in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation nationwide and also worldwide," he said.
Thursday's training course programme, which involved 20 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, is the second for the second cycle of TCTP. The first cycle was successfully conducted between 2009 and 2011, with a total of 54 participants.
Last year, 13 participants attended the first course for the second cycle.
The participants for Sabah TCTP are all government officers from developing nations, namely Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana.
Dr Mohd Harun said the follow up visit conducted to Uganda and Kenya last year has prompted a drastic increase of participants from these countries.
Similarly, he said, the visit in four applications, where two participants were selected for the Sabah TCTP 2014.
The Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) has been coordinating Sabah TCTP together with the Natural Resource Office (NRO) of the State Government, he said, adding activities coordinated by NRO are supported by various Sabah state agencies, namely the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Parks and Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC).
He said this training course has also been placed under the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP), which is now under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Ministry or Wisma Putra.
MTCP and the Japanese Government through JICA jointly finance this training course, he said, while thankful for their trust on the UMS ability to coordinate the course and their financial endorsement.
"Sabah TCTP principally aims to share experiences with other developing nations in managing and implementing conservation strategies for biodiversity and ecosystems in an integrated and coordinated manner," he said.
This is also an excellent example for the Triangular Cooperation between Japan and Malaysia (North-South Cooperation) and Malaysia-Developing Nations (South-South Cooperation).
"Indeed, Triangular Cooperation is fast becoming the most feasible mode of international collaboration for sustainable outcomes, particularly in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation," he said.
JICA Malaysia Office representative Shinobu Yoshizawa, who was also present, meanwhile said that BBEC has achieved outstanding outcomes such as enhancement of technical skills for biodiversity conservation, registration of Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands as Ramsar site in October 2008; registration of Crocker Range Park as "Man and Biosphere (MAB) site under the Unesco programme; and the development of the concept for Sabah Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
"Based on the success of BBEC, we are continuously implementing the technical cooperation "Project on Sustainable Development for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation in Sabah for four years."
He said the project is to meant to seek co-existence between human living and nature, implementing the management plan for conservation of Ramsar site and MAB site and to share the experience of share the experiences of Sabah internally and internationally.
In order to disseminate the outcome of the technical cooperation projects, the Japan and Malaysia governments agreed to implement the Third Country Training Programme Integrated Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Training Course.
"I believe we can provide very good opportunity to increase the participants' knowledge and give tips for solving problems," he said.
On top of aim of the training course, he said they hope to strengthen the international network of biodiversity conservation between related organisations all over the world.
"Biodiversity conservation is not a matter that can be dealt with only one country, rather it is a cross-border issue.
So close international collaboration is very important.
I hope this programme can contribute to strengthening such essential and dynamic collaboration in future," he added.