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Critical next steps

The HoB Declaration represents the three countries’ common vision for the area. The countries have already taken steps to implement this vision, including establishing institutional arrangements and developing REDD+ related policies.

A wide range of stakeholders have roles to play in realizing this vision. Together, a number of critical next steps could be taken to accelerate implementation of the green economy approach to deliver sustainable development and conservation in the HoB.

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The critical social and economic role of HoB ecosystems is rapidly becoming more widely understood. Ongoing efforts are beginning to demonstrate that a green economy approach to achieving the HoB governments’ vision of conservation and sustainable development will lead to more inclusive economic planning, management and accounting within the economies of Brunei, Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

As a result, the HoB is poised to become a leading example of a green economy approach in Southeast Asia.

Wiser and more inclusive decisions are being made on policies such as REDD+, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and on the development of relevant fiscal and economic instruments and policy packages.

However, important challenges remain, including capacity constraints, the continuing reliance on economic growth based on unsustainable natural resource use and the high costs of investing in economic transformation.

To be truly successful and transformative, efforts to achieve a green economy will require additional direction, coordination and large scale implementation support. Changes to policies and practices are urgent, but they need to be based on sound evidence generated through robust analyses, stakeholder engagement and demonstration projects.

This process has the potential to mobilize an economy in which the value of natural capital and its importance in climate change are mainstreamed into economic and development decision-making.

An economy of this nature will drive growth of income and jobs, reduce environmental risks and scarcity and increase resilience to a changing climate. It will also lead to greater food, water and energy security for all.

Such benefits make HoB’s natural capital well worth the investment.