We received a visit from the USDA US Embassy Kuala Lumpur led by Mr. Timothy Harrison, Agricultural Attaché, Mr. Abdul Ghani Wahab, Agricultural Specialist, USDA US Embassy Kuala Lumpur and Ms. Rowena Ngumbang, Marketing Specialist, USDA US Embassy Kuala Lumpur.
We toured the SBC’s facilities such as the Ethnobotanical Garden, the proof of concept Algae Cultivation Facility, Natural Product Library, Analytical Chemistry and Gallery.
They learned how SBC preserves traditional knowledge of the plants and projects associated with bio-related products with the indigenous communities of Sarawak.
During the visit, we exhibit some of the projects implemented by SBC in partnership with communities such as LitSara project, Biodiversity make Scents, essential oils and Sekiu Oil project.
We also discussed matters on the USDA’s Borlaug Fellowship Program which promotes food security and economic growth by providing training and collaborative research opportunities. The program helps foster science-based trade policies that improve international market access for U.S agriculture products.
Working Visit of His Excellency Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia to Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, 21 July 2022.
The British High Commissioner to Malaysia, His Excellency Charles Hay MVO made a visit to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre on 21 July 2022 as part of his programme on an official trip to Sarawak.
His Excellency was accompanied by staff of the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur, Ms Khairun Nisa Zabidi, Climate Change Advisor and Mr Nicholas Chan, Climate Diplomacy Advisor. The delegates were welcomed by Mdm Margarita Naming, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, SBC, Haji Husini bin Bakir, Principal Assistant Secretary and Ms Asha Devi Kaushal, Principal Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development.
They were briefed by Mdm Arlene Alicia Toaiang on the interesting plants utilised by the indigenous communities in Sarawak. His Excellency visited the proof-of-concept algae production facility at SBC and he also took the opportunity to view and take photos of the tree planted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales back in year 2017.
The tour emphasized on SBC key activities specifically biodiversity discoveries towards the sustainability and ethical impact on communities in Sarawak. They were given insights on the LitSara, Adenosara and Sekiu Access and Benefit Sharing project, covering communities’ engagement, and the social impacts on the communities’ livelihood, skills and knowledge.
His Excellency and the delegates visited the Natural Product Library, an exclusive collection from unique species of plants and microorganism from the rainforest of Borneo.
During the visit, SBC conveyed its keen interests in establishing potential collaborations with British counterparts in bioindustry. His Excellency noted that there are great opportunities for British companies to collaborate with Sarawak in terms of biodiversity related projects and research and its commercialization.
To commemorate his visit, His Excellency planted the Engkabang Jantong tree (Shorea macrophylla). This species is endemic to Borneo and locally abundant in mixed dipterocarp forest and it was listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The oil from the seeds is known as 'butter from the rainforest' and is used in cosmetics products. It is also one of the species that provide high-quality timber.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia, His Excellency Lee Chi Beom made an official visit to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre on the 8th June 2022 as part of his regional visit to Sarawak.
His Excellency was accompanied by the Minister Councillors, Mr Lee Kyoung Dock and Yoo Kwangyul, embassy’s delegates, Korean Chamber of Commerce Malaysia Chairman, Mr Baek Seung Ryul and his colleagues, as well as other key corporate associates of the embassy. The delegates were welcomed by Datu Kameri Haji Affandi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development and Dr Yeo Tiong Chia, Chief Executive Officer, SBC.
The purpose of the visit is to explore new areas of cooperation, particularly in bioresearch and bioproduct development. During the visit, His Excellency and the delegates were briefed on SBC’s roles and functions to drive the growth of bioindustries in Sarawak. His Excellency also witnessed the proof-of-concept algae production facility at SBC that was used to inform the construction of a 5Ha facility at Sejingkat. The tour around SBC highlights specific biodiversity discoveries that will be commercialized.
His Excellency and delegates were given insights and framework of a project the LitSara® Access and Benefit Sharing project, covering the projects’ initial establishments, communities’ engagement, and the social impacts the projects have had on the communities’ livelihood, skills and knowledge.
During his speech, His Excellency emphasised that developing countries to work together with developed countries especially in communities’ engagement and sharing of benefits with the communities. He added that there will be huge opportunities for Korean companies to collaborate with Sarawak in terms of biodiversity related projects within the bioindustry sector. He shared that they have learned valuable knowledge about biodiversity in Sarawak during the trip to Semenggoh.
To commemorate his visit, His Excellency planted a Diospyros cauliflora tree also known as Surang Bai by the Bidayuh community of Sarawak. The Borneo native tree can grow up to 60-feet high and produces bright yellow fruits. Some research has shown that the edible sweet fruit contains phytochemical that exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer bioactivities.
Sarawak Biodiversity Council signed the Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) with six indigenous communities while witnessed by Yang Berhormat Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development.
The ceremony held today marks the second BSA under the LitSara® Project following the inaugural signing three years ago with five communities. With the signing, the additional community from the Lun Bawang from Long Rusu, Ba’kelalan officially joins the LitSara® project.
With the signing of the BSA, the six communities involved in the LitSara® Project are the Bidayuh, Kelabit and Lun Bawang communities of Kampung Kiding, Padawan, Pa’ Ukat and Pa’ Lungan of Bario, Long Telingan and Long Kerebangan of Lawas, and Long Rusu of Ba’kelalan.
The BSA signing between Sarawak Biodiversity Council with the communities represents three-fold benefits to the participating indigenous communities in terms of recognizing and respecting the communities’ right to its biological resources and associated Traditional Knowledge, ensuring fair and equitable sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits arising from the utilisation of biological resources and associated Traditional Knowledge, as well as, promoting the importance of biodiversity conservation.
SBC would like to take this opportunity to thank United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environmental Facilities (GEF) for funding LitSara® project since the beginning from year 2014 till 2018. Last but not least, we would like to thank TERAJU for supporting three communities under the TERAJU Livelihood and Dana Pembangunan Usahawan Bumiputera (DPUB) Program.
Diamond Gas Holdings Sdn. Bhd. (DGH) and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) are embarking into a new research agreement this year after the successful operation of the largest, and one of its kind outdoor Algae Cultivation Facility (ACF) in Southeast Asia, located at SBC.
Algae Cultivation Facility at Sarawak Biodiversity Centre
DGH, an established Malaysian investing company for upstream development, midstream and GTL (gas to liquid) projects in Malaysia is wholly owned by Mitsubishi Corporation (MC). Under the new research agreement, DGH is channelling research funding over a period of 3 years, to support research and development (R&D) activities in developing microalgae towards various potential industrial applications.
Stemming from a long-term SBC-MC collaboration, this SBC-DGH partnership aims to open a new chapter in efforts to spur green technology innovations and offer alternatives to achieve sustainable renewable energy production, in line with this year International Biodiversity Day 2021 theme: “We’re part of the solution #ForNature” announced by the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2021.
Biodiversity serves as the primary solution for various sustainable development challenges from nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and people’s livelihoods. Thus, through this partnership, microalgae will be the main bioresource to drive the development of decarbonization technology as the world transits to the use of renewable energy.
MC began a strong research partnership with SBC in 2012. They have been actively supporting the microalgae R&D in SBC and exploring initiatives to deploy green solutions. Amongst the major achievements that were established is a natural resource asset called Sarawak’s Microalgae library, and the construction of an algae production facility for industrial stakeholders to pilot their technology.
Monitoring of cultivation system by Sarawak Biodiversity Centre’s staff
The Microalgae library has a collection of more than 650 strains covering 75 genera that are indigenous to Sarawak. More than half of these strains have known biotechnological applications, and some remain yet to be decoded in its function. Currently, the SBC research team has successfully demonstrated the cultivation of locally isolated Chlamydomonas and Spirulina as the feedstock for biofuel and aquaculture. The facility for these algae production is equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital network to enhance productivity.
Over the years, MC have been supporting different activities in Sarawak which include energy, automobile businesses, and tropical forest restoration conservation and protection of the environment are placed as one of their core responsibilities to the public.
Microalgae as viable alternative energy source show a high potential for the generation of fuel such as biohydrogen, bioethanol and biodiesel. Through this partnership, demands of both producing enough renewable energy to meet future needs while preserving the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved.
The SBC-DGH partnership agreement was formalized on 20th May 2021 in conjunction with International Biodiversity Day 2021 which is held on 22nd May annually. Diamond Gas Holdings Sdn Bhd was represented by the Managing Director, Mr Yasuyuki Suzuki and the Sarawak Biodiversity Council was represented by its Chairman, YB Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Sarawak State Secretary. The formalization of the agreement was witnessed by Mitsubishi Malaysia Chief Executive, Mr Masashi Shiraishi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research, Sarawak and Deputy Chairman of Sarawak Biodiversity Council, Mr Kameri Haji Affandi and Chief Executive Officer of SBC, Dr Yeo Tiong Chia.
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, October 17, 2020: The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) today announced the signing of a Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) with the Bidayuh and Iban communities of Kampung Semadang (Padawan) and Rumah Simon (Lubok Antu), respectively, to partner on the development and commercialization of AdenoSara®, the essential oil of Adenosma nelsonioides (Bunga Ta’ang/Bangkit Engkerawan), for human and veterinary health and wellness applications.
The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) will be signing its second Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) on the use of indigenous communities’ knowledge for R&D leading to commercialisation.
The BSA signing scheduled for September 2020, will be with the Bidayuh community of Kampung Semadang near Kuching and Iban community of Rumah Simon at Lubok Antu. The BSA stipulates the rights of the communities on development of Bunga Ta’ang or also known as Bangkit Engkerewan through Sarawak’s Traditional Knowledge (TK) Documentation programme. The essential oil of the plant will be commercialized under the trademark AdenoSara®.
This was revealed by the Chief Executive Officer of SBC, Dr Yeo Tiong Chia during a visit by Dato Sri Michael Manyin, Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research, Sarawak, to SBC on Thursday. The Minister was accompanied by Dr Annuar Rapaee, Assistant Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research, and a delegation comprising officers from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) and the Sarawak Research Development Council (SRDC).
Sarawak, through SBC sealed its first BSA in March 2019 with five indigenous communities for the commercialisation of the LitSara® essential oil.
Sarawak is the first in Malaysia to implement the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) which entails governance of genetic resources and traditional knowledge with benefit sharing channelled to indigenous communities for sustainable development and use of their biodiversity.
During visit, the Minister and his delegation were given an update on SBC’s R&D activities, and witnessed industrial and scale-up commercialisation on bio-based products during a tour of the Centre’s laboratories and algae cultivation facility.