Nearly 100 community representatives gathered together in Miri on April 19th for a consultation on the Upper Baram Forest Area (UBFA), held by the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) in collaboration with SAVE Rivers and KERUAN Organisation.
The UBFA project has been in development for over a decade, as a community-led initiative to protect some of the oldest remaining primary rainforests in Sarawak and support sustainable development. Following this year’s UBFA Declaration (drafted and agreed to by 118 representatives of the Penan, Kenyah, and Saban communities residing within the UBFA), FDS and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) formally signed on to the project on March 20.
FDS invited members of the Penan, Kenyah, Kelabit, and Saban communities living within the proposed boundaries of the UBFA to participate in a meeting to explain the project’s history, next steps, and expected outcomes. With additional support from SAVE Rivers and a presentation by Chairman Peter Kallang, this consultation represented the first of many such collaborations to come.
“We are excited about this one of its kind conservation and forest management model of UBFA,” said Celine Lim, Managing Director of SAVE Rivers. “As we continue to work together with our government counterparts, community members and other stakeholders in co-governing UBFA, we can’t wait to see the potential of UBFA unfolding as one of the world’s best sustainable solutions to our climate crisis.”
The UBFA is a joint venture between communities across the Ulu Baram, the ITTO, FDS, SAVE Rivers, and international NGO partners Bruno Manser Fonds and the Borneo Project. Project implementation is set to begin in June, with initial baseline studies on ecosystem data, ethnobotany and non-timber forest products (NTFP), gender equality, and carbon stocks.