By Peter Engbers, Hans Dols, Kolin Ibrahim
Following the recent PNHS Teraja survey, PNHS and HoB jointly proposed the establishment and gazetment of a Teraja Conservation Forest, with a purpose to preserve the primary forest for scientific, educational, and ecotourism purposes. Subsequently in July 2011, a workshop was organized by HoB Centre and conducted by BSP-PNHS staff with the purpose to 1) introduce business concepts for conservation to Brunei Government officials and 2) facilitate opportunity framing on the Teraja conservation area in order to formulate its objectives, assess its opportunities, and develop an action plan. The Workshop was facilitated by Peter Engbers, Hans Dols, Kolin Ibrahim, and Jacqueline Henrot from BSP/PNHS. The presented material was based on Shell framing tools and of material from the Toolkit for Business Planning for Protected Areas especially designed by the Shell Foundation, Earthwatch, and UNESCO. The workshop was sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum. The results of this workshop are a joint view from all participants representing many government agencies and local stakeholders.
It is our vision to preserve the primary rainforest of Teraja and deliver a sustainable community driven eco-tourism and research site in Teraja providing sustainable living environment for the local communities without compromising their way of life.
From the strategic options considered, all the workshop participants agreed that a “small scale low impact Teraja Eco-tourism” approach is preferred and most reasonable. Development should fully involve and align with the wishes of the local inhabitants. Key products to develop are green guide services and a home stay program. The people need training on how to deal with tourists and manage their projects. It is advised to develop an ecotourism master plan for the project. Advertisement should only start when the product is complete.
A full-time project manager is required to drive, steer, and manage the project. Further resources can be part-time allocated from existing organizations and departments. Funding (seed money and project manager salary) could come directly from government or from donors. Donors to consider in Brunei are corporate institutions (e.g. oil industry and banking).
Key initial steps in the agreed action plan are 1) gazetment of Teraja Conservation Area, 2) submit proposal to HoB National Council for approval, 3) meeting of Teraja Steering committees, 4) ongoing stakeholder engagements, 5) draft business plan for Teraja Conservation Area, 6) secure funding for project manager, 7) appoint a project manager. From there onwards, the project manager should complete a master plan of the area and has to drive and steer the project into a operational and well funtioning hybrid organisation of local communities and government agencies. This could lead to the official launch of Teraja Eco-Tourism by August 2013. Find here the full workshop report.