Towards sustainable forests

Posted on : 01 Aug 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post Online

All holders of long-term forest timber licences must have Forest Management Certification by 2022

Abang Johari (third left) and Awang Tengah (second left) visit one of the booths during the 18th FMC in Kuching.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has made it mandatory for all holders of long-term forest timber licences to obtain Forest Management Certification (FMC) by 2022.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the decision is in line with the state’s policy reform as in the past, FMC was merely on voluntary basis.

Abang Johari noted that with growing local and global concern on environmental issues, forest management certification has become the main requirement for buyers to ensure that timber and timber products come from sustainably managed forests.

He added that it had also become the key interest for environment and social based non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“We acknowledge that in the beginning of this journey, shortcomings and challenges are inevitable, especially on the capacity of both implementing agencies and timber industry.

“Nevertheless, we believe that with strong cooperation and collaboration from all relevant ministries and agencies, timber industries, NGOs and local communities, a balance between environment, economy and socio-economic development can be achieved,” he said at the opening ceremony of the 18th Malaysian Forestry Conference (MFC) here yesterday.

The chief minister assured that the Sarawak government is always committed to striking a balance between the need for development and safeguarding the state’s forest resources, environment and wellbeing of the people, saying they fully subscribed to the concept of sustainable development of the forest so that the state’s forest will always be there to provide for us.

Abang Johari (third right), with (from right) Hamden, Len, Awang Tengah and others at the event.

He said the Sarawak government was also committed in ensuring its forest and forest resources are managed in a sustainable manner.

“However, with rapid socio-economic development which requires more areas for development and competition for land use as well as encroachment into our Permanent Forest Estate, the management of our forests becomes more and more challenging.

“Realising this, our state government has to re-look its policies and ordinances to strengthen our forest management and wood-based industries.

“Policy reform is needed to catch up with current issues facing forestry either locally or globally,” he said.

Among the policies that are being reviewed and newly introduced are Sarawak Forest Policy, Forest Management Certification, Development of Planted or Industrial Forest, Wood Industries Development Plan, Raw Material for Timber Industries and Forest Revenue especially cess from downstream products.

Abang Johari said these draft policies are in the final stage of deliberation before they are endorsed.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh and Sarawak Forest Department director Hamden Mohamad were present.