HISTORY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
SABAH - PHILIPPINES TIHPA
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 Parks 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
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.
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.