The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies' Blog

Answering the Borneo Development Challenge with Green Strategies

Posted in ASEAN-Canada Partnership by NTSblog on July 31, 2014

Borneo’s tropical rainforest has come into the international spotlight since the reduction of tropical deforestation is seen as a means of stabilising global greenhouse gas emissions. The commitment under international conventions and agreements related to sustainable management and conservation of the rainforest have been made. What is central in these agreements is that development plans in improving the socio-economic well-being of communities in the subregion should not jeopardise the existence of Borneo rainforest as one of world’s most biodiversity regions.

Economic growth in developing countries is often heavily dependent on natural resource extraction. Likewise, the BIMP-EAGA subregion which is dominated by resource-based activities and the agricultural sector has become amongst the least industrialised area within its respective countries. In subregional areas, deterioration of natural resources as a result of irresponsible economic activities is compounded by the other challenges facing by the member countries such as population growth, urbanization, infrastructure deficits and the impacts of climate change. The problematic situation can be done with simultaneously enhancing productivity and efficiency of natural resources used through more efficient water, energy and transport infrastructure utilization. Green growth policies can therefore be considered an investment, in which benefits will be received in the future.

It was previously noted that decisions on land use and transport infrastructure systems are the most striking example of how regional integration and economic growth can be directly contradict with nature conservation as well as affect density in city or region. Both in the ​​conservation zones and urban areas, transport infrastructure and land use planning should be able to improve well-being and productivity, which are critical for the development, also provide environmental advantages. In green growth strategies, infrastructure policies are a core issue because of its great potential to regret nor benefit in the future.

In conservation zones, land use planning system based on identification and protection of natural areas with substantial biodiversity values can be a tool to direct and to control the impacts of development on these areas. In city planning process, green spaces are integrated with roads and transit facilities along with high density land use planning which bring people closer to public transportation.

Green infrastructure is thus a potential way of conserving the environment by addressing the ecological and social impacts of urban sprawl, as well as fragmentation and accelerated consumption of open land. Exploring green strategies as an approach to economic development in the areas surrounding Borneo’s tropical rainforest is part of my study under tbe ASEAN-Canada Research Fellowship.

This blog post has been written by Paramitha Yanindraputri. Paramitha is currently Research Coordinator for Skills to Succeed Indonesia in Save the Children, and Research Fellow in Urban Development Studies at the University of Indonesia, as well as Junior Fellow (2013-2014) under the ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership. For more information on the ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership, please click here.


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