Over 40 people from different backgrounds, including embassy representatives, professionals, graduates and secondary school students, gathered to witness a dialogue on the economic and climate future of Brunei Darussalam and the region.
Organised by the Global Awareness and Impact Alliance (GAIA), a local-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), the dialogue ‘In the Middle: A Dialogue on Pandemic Paradoxes’, was held at Ri’s Social at The Promenade Samakaya in Kampong Sungai Hanching. It was moderated by Nafisa Halim and GAIA research associates Riyani Sidek and Siu Tzyy Wei.
The dialogue’s objective was to spark conversation on the paradoxes of the pandemic.
The dialogue acknowledged that while the pandemic may have led to increased digitalisation, many are still unable to gain basic access to the Internet and it is these kinds of paradoxes that are worth discussing and pushes an individual to think outside the box.
Last Saturday night’s dialogue was held in two sessions touching on ‘Our Digital Economic Reality’ and ‘Entering a Carbon-Free Future’. This was in line with GAIA’s goal to empower thoughts and generating change. It was set as a debate where experts with differing perspectives and opinions were put on the spot with prompts to encourage an organic discussion.
The first session was led by Siu and joined by economic experts Dr Hazwan Haini from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Yazid Mahdi with experience from Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), who touched on the impacts of a digitalised economy on small and medium enterprises (SME), income disparities and the advantage held by professionals with specialised technical knowledge.
In the second session, also moderated by Siu, Head of the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS) Ahmad Zaiemaddien bin Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi and Zukri Rahman from the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) deliberated on the future of the Sultanate’s carbon footprint in a post-pandemic world, by paying particular attention to Brunei’s progress and whether the pandemic has reduced carbon emissions.