The United States applauds the vision of the Governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei to establish a "Heart of Borneo" conservation plan that will help conserve 220,000 square kilometers of biodiversity-rich equatorial rainforest that straddles their shared borders and which constitutes a significant portion of the island of Borneo. Secretary Condoleezza Rice announced a United States pledge of $100,000 to help advance this regional project focused on combating illegal logging and wildlife trafficking during her joint press conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid in Kuala Lumpur on July 28, 2006.
The U.S. funds will be disbursed through the World Wildlife Fund and the International Tropical Timber Organization, in consultation with the three Southeast Asian countries, which announced their "Heart of Borneo" conservation plan in April 2006. The World Wildlife Fund is working with the three governments to finalize a "Heart of Borneo" Declaration for signature later this year.
This conservation project serves to significantly enhance U.S. international conservation objectives under the President's Initiative Against Illegal Logging (PIAIL) and the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT). The PIAIL, launched in 2003, consolidates U.S. Government efforts, in alliance with industry and NGOs, to help developing countries improve forest governance and sustainable forest management. CAWT is a new international public-private partnership aimed at stopping the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.