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Sustainable forest management crucial

Azlan Othman

Sustainable forest management plays a crucial role in balancing the importance of the forest against the economic, social and environmental aspects.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin highlighted this during the virtual 5th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry (MMRF5) yesterday.

The MMRF5 was held to foster closer cooperation in dealing with regional issues, including increasing forest coverage, combatting the trade in timber products from illegal logging, and reducing the effects of climate change – especially in the post-Covid-19 era.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf shared Brunei Darussalam’s action plans to ensure its forests remain intact and sustainable – through forest gazetting plans, national forest reserves and other programmes. He highlighted the Forestry Department’s annual programmes to mark the International Day of Forests every March 21, and mass tree planting programme. Brunei Darussalam will continue to improve APEC’s close regional cooperation to jointly discuss and resolve issues that arise to ensure forests remain sustainably managed in the region, the minister added.

Chaired by Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa, the meeting was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin during the virtual meeting. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

The meeting took note of the APEC 2022 theme ‘Open. Connect. Balance’ and the ‘Bio-Circular-Green’ economic model, which is applied and integrated from three economic approaches – including technology and innovation which produce value, reduce waste and promote sustainable business models.

The core priorities of APEC this year include the APEC Economic Ministers Responsible for Forestry (MMRF) emphasising global efforts to deal with the effects of climate change through increasing carbon sink and speeding up efforts in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The meeting also highlighted the importance of legislation that regulates logging activities and timber trade from legal sources that meet forest certification standards for each APEC economy, which aligns with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism’s (MPRT) move forward.

APEC economic ministers agreed to issue a joint statement, known as the ‘Chiang Mai Statement,’ which – among others – emphasises the implementation of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 through the Aotearoa Action Plan.

They also took note of the achievements of the APEC 2020 Forest Cover Goal stated in the ‘2007 Sydney APEC Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development’, whereby forest coverage in the region increased by 27.9 million hectares between 2007 and 2020, exceeding the initial target of 20 million hectares by 2020.

The ministers and senior officials responsible for forestry expressed appreciation and support for the efforts and involvement of all APEC economies and agencies interested in sustainable forest management and restoration and in dealing with forest-related issues.

Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Noralinda binti Haji Ibrahim and senior officials from the Forestry Department also attended.