Kota Kinabalu, 12 December 2019 – The Final Workshop for the “Biodiversity Conservation in Multiple-Use Forest Landscapes (MFL) in Sabah, Malaysia” marked the end of an ambitious project initiated seven years ago. The project received a ‘Satisfactory’ score under UNDP-GEF Terminal Evaluation, and produced significant beneficial results including the expansion of protected area and ecological connectivity for wildlife, and use of cutting edge scientific research data in forest landscape management planning.
Initiated on 22 June 2012, the project was funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the Sabah Forestry Department. The ambitious project of 261,264ha landmass connects the three renowned protected areas in Sabah namely Maliau Basin Conservation Area (58,840 ha), Danum Valley Conservation Areas (43,800 ha), and Imbak Canyon Conservation Areas (16,750 ha).
In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on Goal 13: Climate Action and Goal 15: Life on Land, the project’s objective focused on bringing multiple land uses under a common and integrated management umbrella in order to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem functions and resilience.
At the workshop, UNDP handed over the project output and other key documents to the Natural Resources Offices on behalf of Sabah’s government.
Among some of the key documents handed over were, the 10-Year Integrated Landscape Management Plan (ILMP) 2020-2029 for the Kalabakan Multiple-use Forest Landscape. The plan has been extended to the Chief Minister of Sabah and the Director of Yayasan Sabah for their reference and guidance on the management of the 261,264 ha forest landscape in the near future.
The Final Draft Ecosystem Conservation Authority Enactment 2020 is targeted to be finalized during the next State Legislative Assembly. Upon approval, the new enactment will allow Sabah to impose and collect an Ecosystem Conservation Fee as a source of funds for the ecosystem conservation programme in Sabah. This will complement government expenditure for carrying out ecosystem conservation activities. Other documents handed over included:
- The draft Policy on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES),
- Guidelines for Operationalising Proposed Ecosystem Conservation Programme (ECP)
- Draft Policy on Managed Retention of Sabah’s Forests: Moving Toward Biodiversity Net Gain
- Outline of Guidelines to Accompany the Draft Policy on Managed Retention
In his officiating speech, Mr. Frederick Kugan on behalf of the Chief Conservator of Forests, Sabah extended his appreciation to UNDP and other project stakeholders from governmental agencies and NGOs for their strong support in making the ambitious project possible.
Through its seven years of implementation Sabah’s MFL project has produced significant output for the state. Some of the key achievements include classification of 149,277.37 ha for Totally Protected Area that contributes to Sabah government’s goal to increase its Totally Protected Areas to 30% or 2.1 million hectares of Sabah landmass by 2025.
The project spent USD 4.098 million of the total USD 4.4 million allotted fund. Remaining funds from the project will continue to support activities that focus on application, scale-up and capacity building in 2020, including stakeholder socialization for an upcoming pipeline project on Integrated Landscape Management in the Heart of Borneo Landscapes in Sabah and Sarawak.
The new GEF-funded, UNDP-supported project is expected to embark on an implementation in 2021 for six years, with the aim to transform land use planning and management in Sabah and Sarawak to contain the footprint of palm oil production and maintain high-value forest for environment and development benefits.
For a full listing of the final MFL Terminal Evaluation Report, please visit: https://erc.undp.org/