the BIMP-EAGA vision of turning the sub-regional area into a
single-tourism corridor dubbed 'Equator Asia', Brunei has proven its
unbending commitment to the Heart of Borneo (HoB) concept.
there exists a proposal for the establishment of a 'Trans-boundary
Eco-Tourism' within HoB member countries, which will benefit the tourism
sectors of the three nations directly involved - Brunei, Indonesia and
Malaysia - with the Sultanate having committed a large portion of its
undisturbed forests to the project. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is
also assisting in the project.
Director of Forestry Department at the Ministry of Industry and Primary
Resources (MIPR), Mahmud Haji Yussof, in his capacity as Interim Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of the Brunei HoB Centre said, "I believe Brunei
offers a strong position in eco-tourism potential because it is a
country within the BIMP-EAGA sub-region where tourists do not have to
travel far to experience rich biodiversity. In Brunei biodiversity is at
Bulletin interviewed Mahmud Haji Yussof during a forestry briefing
presented to a 17-member Chinese delegation that was led by Minister of
State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China, Jia
Zhibang, in which the delegation was informed of Brunei's current
forestry status by the Director of Forestry Department, Haji Saidin bin
Salleh. Also present at the briefing were the Permanent Secretary at the
MIPR, Dayang Hajah Normah Suria Hayati binti PJDSMDSU (Dr) Hj Awang
Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, and other senior level officers.
the briefing Mahmud Haji Yussof highlighted the importance of the HoB
project, which has the potential to prevent hundreds or maybe even
thousands of species from facing extinction. Successful rainforest
conservation requires joint efforts as forests are inter-connected, he
mentioned there are several projects being undertaken as part of the
HoB initiative that require the involvement of the relevant authorities
across all the nations involved, such as the continuous study of fauna
and flora within protected areas.
He also linked the importance of
the overall conservation effort to potential economic benefits,
particularly the tourism industry, which will ultimately benefit the
forest is not there simply for its timber or other by-products. Today
we can apply leverage on the forest itself to grow eco-tourism", which
he labeled as being a very promising industry for Brunei. The forests
can basically "generate money for us by itself and also benefit the
local people as eco-tourism is about the local people", he added.
and forest protection remains a strong issue in Brunei, where the issue
is being strongly supported by the political leadership as he referred
to His Majesty the Sultan's 2007 Titah in Sydney, which touched on the
is important to note however that external financial support is crucial
for the initiative's success and that currently Brunei Shell, HSBC and
SCB are private sector businesses that are supporting the initiative.
conclusion he maintained that the committee will continue to try their
best to secure sponsorship from other countries as it also contributes
to the global environmental conservation effort as well.
a trilateral meeting, a project such as trans-border eco-tourism is
being proposed, which will benefit member countries. "What else can we
say but Brunei is a city inside a forest," he stated.