HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in a titah yesterday, informed the United Nations Climate Summit that Brunei Darussalam was targeting a 63 per cent reduction in total energy consumption by 2035.
Brunei Darussalam aims to achieve this by reducing fossil fuel demand for inland energy use, and through a revised power tariff that encourages energy savings. As of 2013, Brunei has managed to attain an average reduction in energy consumption of 13.9 per cent.
The Government of Brunei Darussalam further aspires to generate at least 10 per cent of total power from new and renewable resources by 2035, His Majesty added.
The monarch yesterday morning consented to attend the United Nations Climate Summit and delivered the titah at the Plenary Session. The summit was held at the United Nations’ Headquarters Building, New York, United States of America.
The Summit was presided over by Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN. The ceremony was held at the General Assembly Hall. Following the opening ceremony, National Action and Ambition Announcements were held in three parallel Plenary Sessions, whereby all Heads of State and Government were given opportunity to deliver a speech.
His Majesty was pleased to share and exchange the experiences and ideas on addressing climate change. His Majesty commended the Secretary-General for his continuous efforts in bringing global attention to one of the world’s greatest challenges. His Majesty also thanked the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting the Abu Dhabi Ascent, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its valuable work.
His Majesty stated that frequent occurrences of extreme weather events have led to considerable loss of life and property, and threatened the livelihoods of communities around the world. Failing to act decisively and collectively now may prove detrimental to global security, development and prosperity. This is why it is essential to realise a new and meaningful global climate agreement by 2015.
His Majesty believed that every country has the responsibility to address this issue based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”. The actions in addressing climate change have to be effective and comprehensive. It is important that countries, particularly developing nations, are properly equipped to face climate change and its adverse effects.
“To do this, new skills must be acquired, expertise needs to be shared and the required modern technology should be affordable and accessible to all. These priorities need to be reflected in the new climate agreement next year and would make a positive contribution to the wider United Nations development agenda.”
As reflected in Brunei Darussalam’s “Vision 2035” development plan, His Majesty said Brunei Darussalam’s priority is to safeguard the welfare of its people. A key part of this plan includes ensuring a clean, green and healthy environment for every citizen. In this regard, various efforts have been undertaken to achieve environmentally sustainable development.
At the regional level, Brunei Darussalam is also pleased to be working with the United States to promote collaboration in renewable energy under the East Asia Summit process.
For the past 80 years, forest conservation has been an important part of Brunei Darussalam’s national development strategy. Today, 75 per cent of Brunei Darussalam’s land area is covered by tropical rainforests comprised of highly diverse ecosystems. In addition, Borneo’s pristine peat swamp forests, which act as a carbon sink to counter emissions, are acknowledged by scientists as being some of the only remaining examples of their kind in the world, the monarch added.
Brunei Darussalam’s commitment to preserving the environment is further reflected through the allocation of 58 per cent of its land area to the “Heart of Borneo” forest conservation initiative. Brunei Darussalam continues to work with its neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia, and other international partners such the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in this endeavour, His Majesty said.
Brunei Darussalam thanks its partners for their contribution and welcome others who are interested, to work with the Sultanate in protecting this valuable asset, the ruler added.
Furthermore, the Heart of Borneo provides priority areas for biodiversity and environmental research.
These forms of research have been conducted by Universiti Brunei Darussalam in cooperation with other academic bodies under the International Consortium of Universities for the Study of Biodiversity and the Environment.
Brunei Darussalam’s next step to enhance conservation efforts is through the Coral Triangle Initiative, which will endeavour to protect our marine resources, and thereby protect our environment as a whole, in a more comprehensive manner, said His Majesty.
Finally, His Majesty said the global community has high expectations on what can be achieved at the summit. Brunei Darussalam is ready to play its part in this important global issue with the UN and the rest of the world.
His Majesty emphasised the importance of succeeding in generating the political commitment and momentum to move ahead with both urgency and practical actions to meet this great challenge.
Accompanying His Majesty were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abd Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; and Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Ghafar bin Haji Ismail, Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam to the United Nations.