Peter Engbers a Shell employee participated in the Business Skills for World Heritage programme last year, which is facilitated by Earthwatch in partnership with Shell and UNESCO. Peter was so inspired by his experience that he has taken matters into his own hands during the past few months by working closely with the government of Brunei to set aside more land as protected areas.
“We worked hard to survey this beautiful
rainforest area. In all, we mapped 40 waterfalls, an extensive
potential trail system, and highlighted the eco-tourism 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 to put together a master plan for the new protected
area," says Peter.
The Business Skills for World Heritage programme pairs managers of UNESCO natural World Heritage Sites with business leaders from Shell, who provide one year's training and support. Site managers develop and implement business plans for effective management of World Heritage Site during the year. Peter joined the programme's training workship in Sept 2010 at Earthwatch's research and learning centre in Borneo's Danum Valley learning about risk management, staff resourcing, marketing and financial planning.
An important area of primary rainforest that is under threat from development in Brunei has now been designated as a Conservation Area due to the efforts of Panaga Natural History Society in Brunei with the support of Peter Engbers.
Peter helped coordinate surveys and mapped beautiful rainforest areas under development threats with the purpose of promoting it as a protected area. Species which are thought to be new to science were also discovered while conducting area surveys and a thorough report was completed.
The Bukit Teraja Conservation area is of particularly valuable due to its high biodiversity and is of high ecotourism potential. As a result of the survey and research that the government created on the conservation area, 2,500 ha of rainforest is now under protection.
The Minister of Industry and Primary Resources and Chairman of the Borneo National Council, Pehin Yayha has also asked Peter Engbers to organise and lead a Business Skills for Protected Areas training in Brunei using the model he had learned from the programme. It will introduce participants to business concepts and opportunities for conservation and assist in applying the new knowledge on the Teraja conservation area by formulating opportunities and action plans.
Peter will conduct business skills training for government staff and stakeholders to set up and manage the protected area in Brunei which will assist in making Teraja a showcase of community-based conservation.
Earthwatch would like to congratulate Peter Engbers and commend his amazing efforts in making a difference to our environment! We hope this inspiring story will motivate you to take matters in your own hands too, and take on current environmental challenges by simply getting involved.