| Lyna Mohamad |
INTIATIVES like Bandarku Ceria further caps greenhouse emission by ensuring that Bandar Seri Begawan is free of cars every Sunday morning while the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EEC) Building Guidelines for Government and Commercial Buildings was adopted to reduce unnecessary waste of electricity, Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman said.
Her Royal Highness made these comments in her Sabda at the opening of the 15th International School Brunei Borneo Global Issues Conference (ISB BGIC) yesterday.
Her Royal Highness, who is the Royal Patron of ISB BGIC, graced the opening ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.
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 in a titah at the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit in 2014, noted the extreme weather events and their threats, and emphasised that “failing to act decisively and collectively now may prove to be detrimental to global security, development and prosperity”, Her Royal Highness said.
Her Royal Highness said other world leaders have similarly answered the urgent call for ‘Climate Action’ and signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, which was a significant agreement as it saw the largest number of signatories to date on Climate Change thus showing how serious this issue has become for different nations worldwide.
“In line with the Paris Agreement, His Majesty’s Government has embarked on several initiatives. In keeping with the Heart of Borneo and as promised in our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Brunei has increased its gazetted forest reserves from 41 per cent to 55 per cent of the country’s total land area,” Her Royal Highness said.
Her Royal Highness said severe weather events, rising sea levels, increased greenhouse gases, heat waves, and reduced water supply, continue to contribute towards alarming irreversible changes in the planetary climate system.
The theme for this year’s ISB BGIC ‘Climate Action’, is fitting as countries, continents and communities across the world experience first-hand the effects of these climate change, she said.
With young leaders in Brunei further upholding His Majesty’s titah, non-government organisations (NGOs) like ‘Green Brunei’ convenes a Climate Camp in Temburong, educating the youth on the environment, climate change and sustainable development and the same organisation has produced an easily understandable guide on installing solar panels for homeowners, helping the country’s shift towards more renewable sources of energy.
Her Royal Highness highlighted that being the future leaders of tomorrow, the participants will also have a part to play in conserving the planet.
“I therefore support the efforts and commitment of our young delegates, as they emulate our world leaders in meaningful debate and cooperative problem-solving,” Her Royal Highness said.
“I urge you to be vocal in your opinions, yet be receptive and collaborative during the discussions. Take time to consider the different ideas and circumstances of others in your committees, just as our world leaders wisely consider the perspectives of other countries in order to produce workable solutions.”
Her Royal Highness also expressed hopes that the young delegates understand that this crucial exercise they are undertaking now at BGIC, is actually an important part of their preparation for their future lives at university and work.
“This conference is a testament to the contributions and generous support of the organisers, teachers, guest speakers and other key players present today.”
Upon arrival, Her Royal Highness was greeted by ISB Executive Principal Laura Thomas.
The ceremony at the International Conference Centre in Berakas began with the opening address by Laura Thomas and a joint speech by BGIC Secretary Generals.
This was followed with a musical performance by the ISB concert band and vocalists and keynote presentations by Hannah Testa and Rita Kimani.
Prior to the delivering of the Sabda and royal declaration of the opening ceremony of the 15th ISB BGIC by Her Royal Highness, another musical performance was performed by the ISB concert band and vocalists.
Her Royal Highness also presented certificates of participation to representatives from the 25 participating schools attending the conference as well as appreciation certificates to event sponsors before posing for a group photo with the certificate recipients.
Keynote speaker Hannah Testa from the US, is a 16-year-old sustainability advocate, international speaker and founder of Hannah4Change, an organisation dedicated to fighting issues that impact the planet and has been awarded with Teen Earth Day Hero by CNN, the Young Superhero for Earth Award by Captain Planet, the Action for Nature International Young Eco-Hero Award and the Gloria Barron Prize.
A board member, advisor, and youth ambassador for a half-dozen organisations including Plastic Pollution Coalition and 5 Gyres Institute, Hannah is also part of the team of activists who push global coffee shop giants, Starbucks, to produce a more environmentally friendly, sustainable coffee cup.
UN Sustainable Development Goals Young Leader Rita Kimani of Kenya, meanwhile, is the co-founder of FarmDrive, a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit.
The 25-year-old computer scientist, despite challenges along the way, has seen how sustainable agriculture can be a vehicle for inclusive economic growth and a game changer for sustainable food production and security.
The conference ends tomorrow after the 300 delegates come together in the General Assembly to debate resolutions to mitigate and attack the issue of climate change.