The community of Ulu Papar submitted a petition on 7 October 2011 to the Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC), Sabah’s governing authority over the conservation and utilisation of State’s biodiversity, requesting that adequate community consultations be conducted as part of nominating the Crocker Range as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Several points were raised in the petition in an effort to request for explanations, assistance and cooperation from SaBC with regards to the process, requesting that community members be directly involved in the nomination process, such as decision-making on the zoning of cultural sites which would fall within the boundaries of the Biosphere Reserve.
A major concern raised in the petition is plans to build the Kaiduan Dam, which would threaten the natural resources and landscapes of the area. This dam, should it proceed, would completely alter the lifestyles of the communities of Ulu Papar resulting in the loss of culture and traditions, loss of sacred sites, and, the forced relocation of the community. The petition noted that forced relocation goes against the principles of human rights observed by UNESCO, the body in charge of considering the suitability of the Crocker Range as a Biosphere Reserve.
In preparing the petition, the Ulu Papar community stressed the need for transparent, impartial and scientific investigation on the effects of the Kaiduan Dam on the sensitive ecology of the Crocker Range and the indigenous people of this area, both vital aspects that need to be safeguarded if the government is serious about submitting a Biosphere Reserve nomination to UNESCO. They further requested assistance to ensure that the construction of the dam does not proceed, but to investigate alternative methods that would protect the richness of biocultural resources in Ulu Papar.
In an effort to consult with communities, a workshop was held on 18 October 2011 in Buayan Village, led by SaBC with cooperation from other government agencies including Sabah Parks, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Penampang District Office, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
Representatives from Buayan Village (Theresia John, Patricia John and Raymond Sipanis), met with SaBC officer, Syahrin Samsir, to discuss the need for community consultations. This was reported (in Bahasa Malaysia) by Citizen Journalist, Raymond Sipanis, who is from Buayan.http://www.komunitikini.com/sabah/kota-kinabalu/wakil-kampung-buayan-temui-pegawai-sabah-bio-diversity-centre