Brunei, Singapore committed to green initiatives

James Kon

Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar and Singaporean Minister of Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu yesterday reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to further deepening cooperation on environmental protection, while exchanging information on monitoring and enforcement strategies to enhance air quality, during the 14th Brunei-Singapore Annual Exchange of Visits (BSAEV) on Environment held on a virtual platform.

BSAEV on Environment is an activity under a memorandum of understanding in 2015, on the cooperation in the field of environment between both countries. The Brunei delegation also consisted of Permanent Secretary (Planning, Land Use and Environment) at the Ministry of Development (MoD) Dr Nor Imtihan binti Haji Abdul Razak, as well as senior officials from the MoD, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The Singapore delegation included Permanent Secretary Albert Chua, and senior officers from the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment, the National Environment Agency and the National Water Agency (PUB).

During the meeting, the ministers reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, while reiterating their commitment to fostering continual progress and deepening cooperation on environmental protection.

The ministers noted the two countries’ steady progress of existing projects and programmes in the areas of solid waste management, air quality management, water resources management, environmental youth exchange programmes, and climate change.

Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar with Singapore’s Minister of Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu during the virtual meeting. PHOTO: MOD

In this regard, the ministers endorsed the continued efforts in solid waste management in both countries, notably Brunei Darussalam’s plastic waste management, development of waste management regulations and waste-to-energy feasibility study.

On air quality management, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore exchanged information on monitoring and enforcement strategies to enhance air quality in the areas of industrial and vehicular emissions.

The ministers noted the exchange of youth environmental programmes, and congratulated the successful implementation of the 1st ASEAN Youth Eco-Champions Award held in October 2019 as part of the ASEAN Environment Day hosted by Cambodia.

Both ministers also agreed for Brunei Darussalam and Singapore to enhance collaboration in water resource management such as rainfall prediction system, smart catchment and smart sewer system, knowledge sharing on water and wastewater services, and best practices and activities.

This also includes a smart pre-paid metering system and water efficiency labelling scheme governance, to further enhance the water conservation awareness, control and policy of used cooking oils in commercial premises, and maintenance of pumps for sustainable wastewater management.

The ministers agreed to step up cooperation on climate change, particularly by sharing best practices on mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as identifying areas for joint collaboration.

Both countries reiterated their commitment to cooperating with other ASEAN member states to advance regional environmental interests in achieving sustainable development and provide a healthy and clean-living environment for the people, despite the unprecedented situation of COVID-19.

Singapore noted Brunei Darussalam’s theme of ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’ for its Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2021, and pledged to support and contribute to Brunei Darussalam’s vision for the region.