Brunei hosts regional virtual meeting

Lyna Mohamad

As the 2021 ASEAN Chair, Brunei Darussalam is hosting the 39th Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME) and its associated meetings at the International Convention Centre, which began yesterday via virtual platform and will run until Thursday.

Presided by Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra as Senior Official on Energy Leader for Brunei Darussalam and Senior Official on Energy Leader of Cambodia Victor Jona as Vice Chair, the meeting saw the attendance of ASEAN member states, dialogue partners and international organisations.

The ASEAN Senior Officials on Energy (SOE) Leaders provided updates on activities of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) as it embarks onto Phase II for 2021–2025 during the proceedings where Phase II aspires for higher targets and new initiatives.

The targets and new initiatives serve to enhance energy transition and resilience towards a sustainable energy future, taking into consideration the COVID-19 impacts and its recovery plans, trends in global economy and energy, cross-cutting issues such as climate change and low-carbon emission, inclusion of private sectors through business forum activities as well as new and emerging technologies and digitalisation in the energy sector.

The five Brunei-led initiatives were also introduced at the meeting, one of which is the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Energy Security and Energy Transition as part of the priority economic deliverables under Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship.

Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra chairs the meeting. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

The declaration speaks of ASEAN’s commitment to strengthening relations and cooperation towards a more dynamic and resilient ASEAN economy, enhanced connectivity and narrowing the development gap between member states.

It also seeks to enhance cooperation with ASEAN dialogue partners, international organisations and external partners to address common sustainable economic development challenges for the collective benefit of the region and beyond.

With regards to the pressing demands of climate change on the energy sector, the declaration also looks to address the matter in accordance to ASEAN’s common but with differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The Concept Papers on ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) – Wide Education and Training Exchanges on the Role of Natural Gas in Advancing a Low Carbon Energy Transition; Energy Establishments and Climate Change Organisation Cooperation on Energy Issues; Establishing ASEAN Energy Interaction Programmes are other Brunei-led initiatives in addition to workshops on hydrogen economy and carbon capture utilisation and storage.

The outcome of 39th SOME and Its Associated Meetings will be reported for consideration to the upcoming 39th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) and its associated meetings, scheduled for September.