2nd ASEAN Symposium and Workshop on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. Click here

World’s first Trans-Boundary Marine Park between Sabah, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Introduction to the Turtle Island Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA)

History in the Development Of The Sabah - Philippines TIHPA

Management Objectives of the TIHPA

Institutional arrangements

Key Initiatives

Educational Goals Initiative Marked For Critical Funding

Research Objectives and Strategies

Economic Opportunities

Expected Deliverables


News Around the Region

Sharp decline in Turtle population

Turning to a Turtle Haven




After managing portions of the Turtle Islands separately, accumulated data overwhelmingly supported the view that this group of islands comprised a sea turtle nesting ground requiring joint Malaysian-Philippine management. In consonance with underlying scientifically-sound principles, both governments mutually agreed to undertake concerted actions necessary to ensure the long term survival of sea turtle populations nesting in the Philippine-Sabah Turtle Islands. Progress in the establishment of the TIHPA was as follows:

  • 1976: Dr. Wayne King, New York Zoological Society presents a memorandum entitled "A Proposal to Establish the First International Marine Turtle Sanctuary" to the IUCN Survival Service Commission, recommending the establishment of the Park for the protection of marine turtles.

  • 1977: Sabah Parks recommends the establishment of a Park to the Chairman of Sabah Parks Board of Trustees.

  • 1979: Sabah Parks discusses the Park’s establishment at the World Conference on Sea Turtle Conservation in Washington.

  • 1981: Technical workshop on the establishment of an International Marine Turtle Sanctuary held in Manila, Philippines.

  • 1990: First meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation (AWGNC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia prepares and presents a proposal on marine turtle conservation to the ASEAN Senior Officials.

  • 1991: Second AWGNG meeting, Manila, Philippines. Philippine representatives tasked with preparing a proposal to conduct a workshop on turtle conservation.

  • 1993: First ASEAN Symposium-Workshop on Marine Turtle Conservation. Sabah Parks initiates a discussion on bilateral cooperation with Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Philippines.

  • 1995: Second meeting of the Malaysian-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Philippines presents proposal on turtle conservation. Establishment of a Joint Technical Working Group to study the draft Memorandum of Agreement submitted.

  • 1995: First meeting of the Joint Technical Working Group, Sandakan, Sabah. Draft Memorandum of Agreement agreed to by both parties.

Recent Developments
After almost two decades of intermittent reformulation, continuous bilateral consultations were undertaken during the past two years. As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) for the establishment of the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA) was drafted and approved by both parties. The document was signed on May 31st 1996 by the heads of the foreign affairs offices of the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines. This MOA now forms the basis of understanding for bilateral cooperation between the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines for the conservation of marine turtles in the Philippine-Sabah Turtle Islands.

Copyright ©2000-2002 ARBEC by UNIMAS and MIMCED