KINABATANGAN, June 28 — The Sabah Government will seek to register Kinabatangan as a biosphere reserve site under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the move was in recognition of the 6,605 sq km district as a source of natural resources with a variety of important ecological functions and also the Kinabatangan landscape with its unique and rich biodiversity.

"If we are successful, Kinabatangan will become the second biosphere reserve site in Sabah after the Crocker Range and the fourth in Malaysia.

"With the recognition, the international population will focus on Kinabatangan, especially Sukau to enjoy a sustainable environment that is well cared for with the involvement of communities living in the vicinity of the site,” he told reporters after officiating the World Biodiversity Day celebration here today.

Jafry, who is also the Sukau assemblyman, said the journey towards getting the recognition was expected to take two years through the consultation process by the Sabah Biodiversity Centre with the stakeholders including locals, next month.

The minister said the findings from the consultation were part of the requirements for the nomination documents to be sent to UNESCO through the Federal government.

"Through this MAB program, an integrated management plan based on the existing Sabah legislation will be developed with the involvement of all stakeholders in Kinabatangan.

"Management zones with their own objectives such as Core Zone, Buffer Zone and Transition Zone will be identified so that all stakeholders have a role to play and, in turn, benefit accordingly from the economic sectors that result from the international recognition of this site,” he added. — Bernama