The mountain Batu Siman is a landmark of the Baram Peace Park
The Baram Peace Park was initiated by the communities of the Baram River Basin who are losing their forests to rampant logging and agricultural encroachment. These communities depend greatly on healthy primary forest for their food, water, housing materials, and health, and are thus greatly invested in protecting their forests. The objectives of the project are to raise awareness and align conservation interests between communities, enable effective monitoring of key sites, prevent illegal logging, and provide local communities with greater opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. The expected result is to finalize a community management plan that will establish the area as a protected ecological zone using a unique model based on self-determination and building resilient communities. The indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral territories form the base of the park and go hand in hand with efforts to protect the region’s unique and biodiverse forests. The Baram Peace Park will provide an alternative path of development to large-scale logging and commercial plantations in the area.
The park is located in the upper reach of the Baram River in northern Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. It covers 280,000 square hectares of forest and agricultural land, with over 30 indigenous Penan, Kenyah, Kelabit, and Saban villages. The area includes some of the last remaining untouched forest in Sarawak.
The park is one of the main projects under The Baram Conservation Initiative (BCI), a plan to empower rural communities and protect the forests of Baram area. Village scale electrification systems based on micro-hydro and solar form another important component of the Baram Conservation Initiative. The BCI provides a counter vision to the Sarawak government's original - now cancelled - project to build a large hydropower dam on the Baram River. The Baram communities have united to build an alternative, sustainable development path based on the indigenous communities' needs rather than on large-scale development projects that only serve the interests of the elite.