Sarawak Indigenous Community Empowerment with Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC)

SBC is committed to empowering indigenous communities of Sarawak due to their traditional knowledge associated with biodiversity resources. It is not a secret that Sarawak rainforest has huge potential yet to be discovered and community empowerment will increase their interest in taking responsibility to safeguard the biodiversity and at the same time benefiting from any development as a result of the use of biodiversity resources.

SBC Traditional Knowledge (TK) documentation programme is designed to facilitate the indigenous communities in preserving their traditional knowledge which has been passed down generation to generation through digital recording and documentation. By doing so, traditional knowledge is preserved and will not be a complete loss to the communities.

Before conducting the programme, a Prior Informed Consent (PIC) must be signed by the head of the community with the agreement of his/her people. The community must have sufficient information to discuss and able to make decision for the proposed project. In order to obtain consent from the community, a timeframe of not less than 2 weeks and not more than 2 months will be given, or in accordance to the community’s requirement. This protocol enables them to practice their authority in deciding, managing their resources, to understand the potential effects and to negotiate the benefit shared from the proposed project. As of 2019, TK representatives have visited 79 sites from 17 different communities in Sarawak and a total of 5,924 plants have been documented since 2012.

Besides PIC, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) between these two parties allow SBC to access the biological resources for R&D bioprospecting and product development purpose. Any financial advantage that arises from the use of the resource for such purpose will benefit the community that provides the resource. SBC had signed ABS with 5 communities; Kampung Kiding, Pa’ Ukat, Pa’ Lungan, Long Kerebangan and Long Telingan to harvest Litsea cubeba essential oil and trade it to SBC to be incorporated in LitSara® product line. Our LitSara® which started in 2017 has ever since benefited these communities by giving them job opportunities and side-income to improve their socio-economy.

SBC’s latest ABS collaboration is with a Bidayuh community of Kampung Semadang to supply the aromatic plant “Bunga Taang” for incorporation into soon to be launched AdenoSara® pet’s spray.

SBC is targeting to reach out and educate more communities about their power, right and authority towards their biodiversity and traditional knowledge and to give back to them in terms of monetary from the profit gain from their resources.