Friday, February 26, 2016

Adenan to consider ‘rejected’ Peace Park plan, say Penan leaders

Penan leaders in Baram today said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has agreed to discuss their four-year drive to have a self-protected biosphere they have named the Penan Peace Park. James Lalo Kesoh, a representative of the 18 Penan communal leaders, said in a statement they were grateful that the government has finally agreed to discuss their proposal. Their proposal in 2012 for a self-administered 1,628 sq km conservation region in upper Baram close to the Sarawak-Kalimantan border had been rejected by the administration of Adenan's predecessor, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud. Kesoh, a former penghulu of upper Baram, said the decision of the present government was conveyed to them in a meeting in Miri on February 18 by state Forestry Director Sapuan Ahmad. The meeting was also attended by Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf, the deputy resident of Miri, and Penan Paramount chief Temenggong Datuk Hassan Sui. Kesoh quoted the forest director as saying that the government welcomed the proposal and was willing to do further studies with the collaboration of the villagers in the area. Kesoh said as a prelude to any discussions, a moratorium should be declared on all logging activities within the area of the proposed park and all law suits by the government against the Penan on disputes over land there should be withdrawn. He said the forest director reportedly said the government was willing to consider the proposals if there is a written request. The Penans proposed the Peace Park as a community managed protected area to maintain a unique and species-rich ecosystem in the upper Baram. Their proposal is by promoting land usage with alternative methods to generate income for the people without impacting the biosphere as the park area and its surroundings play a very important role with regard to flora and fauna. According to a survey by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) on the Pulong Tau National Park, which is adjacent to the proposed area, the park represents a "biological hotspot". ITTO said more than 300 species have been found there and these include fish, amphibians, mammal, birds and many more. The ITTO study found that at least 56 of the documented animals species are endemic in Borneo and 52 are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. – February 26, 2016.]]>

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