KUCHING, 29 May 2023: Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Forestry Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday to formalise a joint five-year tree planting programme under the ecoGreenPlanet programme.

The ecoGreenPlanet programme reflects Sarawak’s aspiration to plant 35 million trees across Sarawak to support Malaysia’s goal to plant 100 million trees under the country’s Reforestation Programme. This ‘greening’ endeavour was first introduced by STB in June 2022, in conjunction with two of Sarawak’s iconic events – the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and the Borneo Jazz (BJ) festival, and both festivals had been recognised for their efforts to promote environmental awareness and sustainability, a testament to Sarawak’s dedication in preserving its unique biodiversity and rich natural heritage.

Over MYR 47,000 was raised as part of the ecoGreenPlanet programme through contributions by corporate sponsors:

· Canard Media Sdn Bhd

· Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd

· Hornbill Skyways Sdn Bhd

· KTS Mutual Sdn Bhd

· Land Custody & Development Authority,

· My Car

· Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (PETROS)

· Sarawak Energy Berhad

· Sarawak Timber Association

· SKS Airways Sdn Bhd

· Society Atelier Sarawak

· Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd

and festival goers from the RWMF and Borneo Jazz Fest in 2022, with 20% of the virtual ticket proceeds donated to tree-planting activities.

The sponsorship and participation by festival goers exemplify how collective efforts can significantly propel environmental sustainability. These funds will be instrumental in enabling the tree-planting programme to help rejuvenate the planet’s ecosystem.

STB chairman YB Dennis Ngau shared that to ensure the sustainability of our natural heritage, Sarawak has actively championed responsible tourism initiatives aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sarawak’s Post-Covid Development Strategies (PCDS) 2030.

“I am happy to announce that STB is now an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which will allow us to learn more about sustainability and Responsible Tourism from an international platform and go beyond our current efforts in advancing responsible tourism practices in the region,” he added.

“On behalf of STB, I am proud to emphasise that we will continue to embrace sustainability causes, in line with our aspiration to position the Region as a leading player in Responsible Tourism and a leading destination for ecotourism in Southeast Asia,” Dennis added.

STB CEO Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor said the ecoGreenplanet programme, a joint effort between the STB and the SFC, aims to plant over 1,700 trees for now in the Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary covering an area of 4.25 hectares as part of a broader commitment to promote Planetary Health by advocating activities that foster environmental sustainability, support biodiversity, and combat climate change.

“The Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, renowned for its rich biodiversity, serves as an ideal location for this initiative, providing a nurturing environment for the newly planted trees to thrive,” she added.

The upcoming RWMF 2023 continues to set a standard for the Sarawak Tourism Board’s efforts by demonstrating Sarawak’s dedication to Sustainable Development Goals and Responsible Tourism as the festival presents another opportunity to enhance general consciousness about sustainability through implementing eco-friendly.

The ecoGreenplanet programme is more than just a tree planting programme as it represents the ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability and a testament to the belief in the power of collective action and the role that everyone plays in safeguarding the planet’s future.

Some of the activities undertaken by STB at RWMF to advocate sustainability include banning single-use plastics, encouraging upcycling of used materials, exploring innovative solutions to waste management, and providing free shuttle buses to ferry festival-goers from the city and nearby locations to festival grounds to alleviate carbon emission and prevent congestion – all towards placing STB as a key player in advocating Planetary Health through its Responsible Tourism practices.

For further information on Sarawak’s greening initiatives, please refer to https://sarawakresponsibletourism.com.

(Source: STB)