HoB Initiative: a natural priority for a green economy

The HoB Governments have already begun to take coordinated action to recognize and act upon the value of natural capital, some of which are highlighted in the timeline below.

Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia have begun a transboundary effort known as the ‘Heart of Borneo Initiative’. The commitments of the three HoB governments are contained in the HoB Declaration of 2007. All three countries have established governance structures to help fulfill their obligations under the HoB Declaration and have developed Strategic Plans of Action.

Steps towards a green economy

These bold steps—undertaken based on an enhanced recognition of the importance of HoB’s forests, freshwater and biodiversity— represent the beginning of a journey towards an economy that respects nature and is at the service of people.

Sectoral policies such as land-use and emission reduction policies in Kalimantan, feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy (to remove the barriers to entry to the market) in Malaysia, and a public private partnership for biodiversity conservation in Brunei provide evidence that progress towards a green economy has already begun.

Challenges to progressing a green economy

Remaining challenges include aligning and harmonizing relevant economic and development plans with the HoB Initiative. While sectoral policies are beginning to emerge in each of the HoB countries, an integrated green economy approach across sectors is necessary to accelerate the transition to an economy that values natural capital.

To date, economic plans, such as the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Economic Development of Indonesia (MP3EI) in Indonesia, Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in Sabah and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in Sarawak have been developed in parallel and independently from one other.

As a result, a consistent holistic green economy approach, one that mainstreams the ecosystem value of the HoB landscape into policy and economic decision making, is not yet the norm.

Ongoing implementation of the HoB Declaration is demonstrating that three countries sharing a common vision are able to move beyond this vision into action.

Timeline to a green economy in the Heart of Borneo 

 Feb 2007  

The three HoB governments commit to the HoB Declaration to enable conservation and sustainable development that improves the welfare of those living on the island,  while minimizing deforestation, forest degradation and associated loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. 


In Indonesia, the HoB is designated as a Strategic National Area with significant environmental value and has been included in the island-wide spatial plan.

The three governments jointly develop a trilateral Strategic Plan of Action


The three HoB governments have established governance structures to help fulfill their obligations under the HoB Declaration: the HoB National Council in Brunei, HoB Working Groups in Indonesia and National Expert Group and Steering Committees in Malaysia.


Each country completed an HoB-specific Strategic Plan of Action, or Project Implementation Framework.

 Sept 2010  

The three HoB governments launch a joint publication: Financing the Heart of Borneo – A partnership approach to economic sustainability


In Malaysia, the state government of Sabah develops policies related to REDD+ within the framework of a green economy to mainstream REDD+ into economic development and land-use planning.

In Indonesia, the district government of Kutai Barat in Kalimantan is creating enabling conditions for a district level REDD+ program which includes spatial planning,  overnance, and stakeholder involvement to improve forest protection, utilize degraded lands for palm oil expansion and secure community forests for biodiversity, carbon and socio-cultural values.

Brunei greatly increases the area of its protected forests, ceasing to log natural forests entirely.