An Environment Valuation (EV) Workshop for Sarawak was held 6 - 8 December 2005 at Damai Lagoon Resort. The workshop was jointly organised by my office, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, PE Research and the Danish Development Aid Agency (DANIDA). The major agencies that are responsible for environmental management in the State also sent their representatives to attend the workshop. As Environmental Evaluation is a new subject, whereby EV Methods are attempts to put 'costs' to the natural environment (before development and use it to justify whether conservation is a better alternative. The course facilitator was Professor Dr. Mohd. Shahwahid, the Director of the Rainforest Academy
, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The instant Environmental Economists from the various State Departments/Agencies
Posing with the Master after presentation - wearing the COWI Cap was a mark of graduation
The workshop had been useful in introducing various ways to value our natural environment. My presentation for my group at the end of the workshop was on the Tourism Value of the Miri - Sibuti Reefs. If there is to be a choice - would income from tourism be enough to conserve the natural state of the reefs, that is, balancing the stress due to tourism (potential damages by diving activities and boats) on the reefs while trying our best to preserve its natural state. Some tough decisions to be made there - let's leave the brain wrecking decision making process with the top policy makers :) I will always wonder what would happen if oil reserves are found within that area....