Minister calls for ‘climate action’ from home

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam only contributes to about 0.025 per cent of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. At the same time, the country has one of the highest carbon sinks relative to size, with 72 per cent forest coverage.

Even though the country contributes less to global warming, heavy downpours, floods, heatwave and wildfires are affecting the landscapes, wildlife and livelihoods in general.

The Sultanate’s mean temperature has shown an increasing trend of 0.25 degree Celsius per decade with rainfall amount increasing at a rate of 100mm per decade.

This was highlighted by Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar in his statement for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, themed ‘Climate Action’ which fell on April 22.

The minister’s statement demonstrated Brunei Darussalam’s support for Earth Day 2020, and to raise awareness on the importance of protecting the beautiful planet for future generations.

Deputy Minister of Development Dato Seri Paduka Ar Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin plants a sapling. PHOTO: MOD

This year’s theme highlights the need for action from all levels in tackling one of the greatest global environmental challenges of our time – climate change. In addressing the adverse effects of climate change, the minister said, “the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has strengthened its climate governance to ensure an effective cross-sectoral climate action that could be coordinated at a national level.

“This includes the Brunei National Council on Climate Change, the creation of the Executive Committee on Climate Change and three working groups on Climate Mitigation, Climate Adaptation and Resilience, and Support Framework.”

This climate governance, the minister pointed out, “continues to work in a ‘Whole-of-Nation’ approach which resulted in the development of the draft Brunei Darussalam National Climate Policy, which seeks to reduce Brunei Darussalam’s GHG emissions and increase its capacity to adapt to climate impacts through governing strategies on industrial fugitive emissions, forests cover, sustainable vehicles, renewable energy, sustainable power management, waste management, and climate resilience and adaptation.”

Other efforts that have taken place include climate adaptation measures to increase the resilience through flood mitigation, slope protection and coastal protection projects. Recently, the country has started addressing climate change through Environmental Impact Assessment for prescribed activities.

“Brunei Darussalam stands committed to reaffirming and fulfilling its international commitment under the Paris Agreement signed on Earth Day four years ago. This year, Brunei Darussalam will be communicating its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution that demonstrates the country’s increased climate ambition.” On this Earth Day, he expressed, “it is an opportune time for all to come together and do our part to protect the planet especially the very beautiful nature that Brunei Darussalam is endowed with. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Development (MoD) through the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation and the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat calls on the citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam to participate in “Climate Action from Your Home” for there is no better place to start climate action other than from home, and more than ever – we need to start now.”

The minister encouraged climate actions at home including prudent electricity and water usage, switching to LEDs lightbulbs, reducing household waste, compost green waste, upcycle preloved items, or simply learn more about climate change.

“Residents can learn to calculate individual carbon footprint, ways to offset carbon emissions and get involved in climate activities by visiting carbon.green-brunei.com.”

Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi thanked non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private companies who have continuously led climate action efforts throughout the year.
Meanwhile, the MoD through the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat organised the initiative of planting 200 tree seedlings in conjunction with Earth Day.

To date, 50 households are participating in the initiative whereby each house is planting four saplings. Deputy Minister of Development Dato Seri Paduka Ar Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin started off the initiative by planting four saplings in the areas surrounding the Ministry of Development Building at Old Airport.

Also in attendance were Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure, Housing and Professional) at the Ministry of Development Ir Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Zakaria and other officers

It is hoped that the initiative will inspire citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam to also plant more tress at the surrounding areas of their homes.

Stay At Home Earth Day activities can be found on social media accounts of Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (@jastre.bn) and Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (@bccs.bn).