As part of the Global Diversity Foundation‘s (GDF) Darwin Initiative-funded project entitled, “Participatory Approaches to Nominating the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia” Natural Justice was invited to facilitate the development of a bio-cultural community protocol. The communities in the Ulu Papar area, situated northwest of the Crocker Range Park (protected area), face a serious threat from a proposed dam. If constructed, the dam will inundate the Ulu Papar catchment area and force the relocation of a number of villages. GDF is working with Partners of Community Organizations (PACOS) Trust to engage with the multiple issues surrounding the proposed dam. Holly Shrumm and Harry Jonas provided training to 7 of GDF’s community researchers in Kota Kinabalu, who then facilitated a two day workshop whose focus was to look beyond the immediate threat of the dam to the communities’ medium- to long-term plans for natural resource management.
The workshop marks the first of a series towards the development of a community protocol setting out the wider context in which their lives and livelihoods exist, including: the contributions they are making to the conservation and sustainable use of Ulu Papar’s natural resources; the customary laws relating to natural resource use; the interlinkages between local biodiversity and Dusun culture; and the community’s visions for the future of the full range of traditional and modern land use in the area. The community protocol will request specific assistance from institutions the community can call on to achieve their endogenous development aspirations from within the community, other villages, NGOs, and government agencies.