New Conservation Area in Brunei to Benefit from Innovative Partnership
This primary rainforest under threat from development in Brunei has been designated as a Conservation Area.
Peter Engbers, center, flanked by Earthwatch facilitators and fellow business mentors from Shell on the Business Skills for World Heritage workshop in Borneo.
An important area is no longer in harm’s way thanks to the efforts of the Panaga Natural History Society (PNHS) in Brunei with the support of a senior member of staff at Shell in Brunei. Peter Engbers, head of the reservoir geophysics team, has been invited to deliver a Business Skills for Protected Areas training course and apply this to the newly designated Bukit Teraja Conservation Area.
Peter developed his skills as a mentor through the Business Skills for World Heritage (BS4WH) program, which is facilitated by the international environmental organization Earthwatch, in partnership with Shell and UNESCO. This program pairs managers of UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites with business leaders from Shell, who provide one year's training and support. During this year, site managers develop and implement business plans for the effective management of their World Heritage Sites both for the wildlife that the sites support and for the communities that live and work in and around them.
Peter joined the BS4WH training workshop at Earthwatch’s research and learning center in Borneo’s Danum Valley in September 2010. There, expert facilitators from Earthwatch worked with nine managers of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and three Shell business mentors, taking into consideration issues such as risk management, staff resourcing, marketing, and financial planning.
Peter will now take the BS4WH model and apply it to training and mentoring government staff to set up and manage the Bukit Teraja Conservation Area in Brunei. This invitation has come at the request of Pehin Yayha, the minister of industry and primary resources who is also the chairman of the Brunei Heart of Borneo Council. The minister has stated that he is keen to establish Bukit Teraja as a model of best practice for a community-based conservation area.
Participants on the Business Skills for World Heritage workshop undertook field research and facilitated learning sessions in a stunning rainforest setting
Peter says: “We worked hard to survey this beautiful rainforest area. In all, we mapped 40 waterfalls, an extensive potential trail system, and highlighted the ecotourism potential. In the process, we also uncovered a great diversity of plants and wildlife, including some species never before recorded in Brunei. I’m looking forward to working closely with the government, community representatives, and other stakeholders to formulate objectives, assess opportunities, and put together a master plan for the new protected area.”
Dave Hillyard, international director of partnerships at Earthwatch, expressed his enthusiasm on hearing about the initiative: “This is exactly the kind of ripple effect that Earthwatch seeks to achieve. Through our projects and partnerships, we help people to develop skills, knowledge, and strong networks. We are delighted to hear about this fantastic achievement and that Peter is applying the model of the BS4WH program to such great effect.”
Learn more about Earthwatch’s partnership with Shell.