SPEECH BY: THE RIGHT HONORABLE CHIEF MINISTER DATUK SERI MUSA HAJI AMANíS AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE Ė DECODING AND REALISING REDD-PLUS IN THE HEART OF BORNEO (SABAH), AT GRAND BALLROOM, LEVEL 1, THE MAGELLAN SUTERA HARBOUR RESORT, KOTA KINABALU
ON 8TH NOVEMBER 2010
It gives me great pleasure to be here this
morning and I wish to thank the Organising Committee for inviting me to grace
this occasion. On behalf of the Sabah State Government, I welcome distinguished
participants from abroad who have travelled to
We are also indeed honoured to have with us today Malaysiaís former Prime Minister, Y.A.Bhg Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Y.A.Bhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah, our staunch supporters in championing the cause of greening Malaysia.
The impacts of climate change are already measurable and visible around the globe. We continue to witness climate related disasters that displace communities, destroy property and food crops. As consensus grows on the serious impacts of global climate change, the role of forests in carbon storage is increasingly being recognised.
I was made to understand that about 30 percent of global carbon emissions come from agriculture, forestry, and land use change activities. Deforestation and forest degradation account for around 12 to 20 per cent of annual emissions. Fortunately, forests are able to absorb greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with recent studies suggesting that about 5 billion of the 32 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted annually through human activities are absorbed by forests.
Given this crucial role of forests, slowing or halting deforestation is seen as the obvious choice to mitigate climate change. However, in reality, making such a commitment is not that simple, especially in developing nations like Malaysia, and more so in a state like Sabah which is still working hard to bring quality growth and prosperity to the people. Yet, I am confident with increasing amount of knowledge and expertise, we should be able to find a balance that best suits environmental sustainability.
At the Conference of Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen,
our Right Honourable Prime Minister Datoí Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak announced
that Malaysia is adopting a voluntary reduction of emissions intensity by up to
40 percent in 2020 compared to 2005 levels. In addition to that,
In terms of forest cover, about 53 per cent of
I must also point out that due to the heavy dependence on timber for revenue to develop the state, logging practices before the mid 1990s were skewed in favour of profit and not the environment. This is why we now have large parts of forest reserves, particularly commercial reserves, that are now in varying degrees of degradation. In 1997, the State implemented Sustainable Forest Management to allow forests to recuperate and to be restored through human intervention such as enrichment planting and silviculture.
In addition, billions of ringgit in potential revenue were foregone following the state governmentís decision to cease logging on 240,000 hectares of productive lowland dipterocarp forests, for the conservation of orang utans. We have also increased the size of totally protected forest reserves by two fold within the last eight years, testimony of our seriousness in tackling issues related to forests and the environment.††
The development of REDD and now REDD-plus is
timely in enhancing forest carbon stocks. There are opportunities in
In addition, several studies have also suggested
that Sustainable Forest Management increases carbon storage in tropical forests
with a net effect of 54 tonnes of carbon per hectare. This translates to about
140 million tonnes of enhanced carbon due to the practice of Sustainable Forest
As part of the Heart of Borneo (HoB),
Despite this knowledge, none of the initiatives
have actually turned into real transactions from carbon revenue..
As such, I hope this two-day conference will
help us to decode what REDD-plus is and help us learn what can be implemented
on the ground in terms of policing, governance and the many other technical
requirements. I hope participants will be able to contribute in our efforts to map
The State Government looks forward to recommendations
from this conference and will do its level best to facilitate enabling
environments to realise REDD-plus in
Before I end my speech, I would like to take
this opportunity to congratulate the Sabah Forestry Department and WWF-Malaysia
for their partnership in organising this conference. I must also thank speakers
and participants for your presence here today. I wish you all a fruitful
conference and to our foreign guests, do enjoy
I hereby declare this Conference officially open.