| James Kon |
MINISTER of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin yesterday planted a sapling and participated in the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’ to celebrate the Commonwealth and community as well as to build connections.
The Commonwealth Big Lunch – at the Berakas Beach within the Berakas Forest Reserve – was organised by the British High Commission in partnership with local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) namely Green Brunei, Beach Bunch and Hand4Hand.
British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay said, “We are delighted to organise the Commonwealth Big Lunch in Brunei. It is to celebrate our joint membership of the Commonwealth over a shared meal.”
He added, “The great turnout is a sign of youth engagement across the Commonwealth to ensure that we work together to achieve a more sustainable future. This will be a focus for discussion at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April and the UK looks forward to welcoming 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.”
The Commonwealth Big Lunch was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS); Forestry Department; Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation; Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd; International School Brunei (ISB)and Standard Chartered Bank.
The Berakas Forest Reserve is one of the areas that Brunei has dedicated as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
More than 200 volunteers participated in the Commonwealth Big Lunch which is one of many across 53 commonwealth nations from March 12 (Commonwealth Day) until April 22.
Legislative Council members YB Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari and YB Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii, Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, personnel from the MCYS, National Service Programme (PKBN) members and representatives from ISB were also present.
Meanwhile, touching on protecting the environment in Brunei, the British High Commissioner highlighted, “It is very important to have people to focus on the environment and the NGOs that we are working with are good example of raising awareness on protecting and conservation of Brunei’s environment.”
The beach cleanup was organised by Beach Bunch, with assistance from the Brunei Four Wheel Drive Association (PKTLB).
Among the 53 Commonwealth nations, 46 are ocean states and 24 are small-island developing states; they rely on strong ‘blue’ sectors such as tourism, fisheries and shipping.
The world’s oceans are essential to life on Earth, but their health is under threat: each year, around 12 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the ocean.
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April, the sustainable development of the world’s oceans will be discussed.
There will be a push for action to reduce plastic waste, underlining the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to tackling climate change, protecting the environment and increasing the resilience of its members.
The tree planting was organised by Green Brunei in partnership with International School Brunei’s One Million Trees Project and sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank.
It was launched in 2006 to support forest conservation projects across Borneo and beyond. The project aims to plant 500,000 trees in Brunei by 2020 and one million trees in Borneo by 2025.