New Conservation Area in Brunei to benefit from innovative partnership
An important area of primary rainforest under threat from development in Brunei has been designated as a Conservation Area 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 now 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) programme, which is facilitated by international environmental organisation Earthwatch, in partnership with Shell and UNESCO. This programme pairs managers of UNESCO natural World Heritage 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 Site both for the wildlife that the sites support and for the communities who live and work in and around them.
Peter Engbers, centre, flanked by Earthwatch facilitators and fellow business mentors from Shell on the Business Skills for World Heritage workshop in Borneo
Peter joined the BS4WH training workshop at Earthwatch’s research and learning centre 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 protected 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 community-based conservation.
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 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.”
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 programme to such great effect.”
More information about Earthwatch’s partnership with Shell
Shell: Working with others
Read about the Business Skills Transfer Programme
For information about the Bukit Teraja protected area click here