Address climate change to attain sustainable development
By Waleed PD Mahdini in Singapore

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday attended key meetings on climate change, US-Asean leaders and the Second Retreat Session as the 17th Apec Economic Leaders Meeting ended in the city-state.

His Majesty stressed that in order to achieve sustainable development, consideration must be given to climate change efforts.

The theme of discussion for the Second Retreat was "Sustaining Growth" which focussed on the global economic crisis, climate change and inclusive, balanced and sustainable growth.

His Majesty shared with other leaders of Brunei's efforts in regional conservation such as the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle Initiative.

His Majesty again stressed the need for sharing of experiences, best practices and technical cooperation to develop more efficient use of energy and explore alternative energy.

His Majesty encouraged both sides to cooperate on energy security and climate change and expressed confidence that such initiatives will support government visions for energy efficiency.

His Majesty also expressed support for more inter-faith dialogues and stated that it has helped promote friendship and understanding between our people.

Earlier, His Majesty welcomed the complimentary efforts undertaken in the G20 and in Asean to ensure the global economy will continue to recover. To achieve inclusive growth, His Majesty encouraged the sharing of experiences to improve the development of human resources, social security and to strengthen small and medium businesses.

Later in the afternoon, His Majesty and the Apec leaders attended the Asean-US Leaders Meeting at Hotel Shangri La.

During the meeting, His Majesty expressed appreciation to the United States in revitalising its policy towards Asia, particularly the relationship with Asean.

His Majesty also welcomed the US proposal in establishing the Asean-US Eminent Group and expressed support in developing the Plan of Action for Asean-US Dialogue Relations for 2011 to 2015 towards enhancing relations in trade, energy, environment as well as people-to-people exchanges.

In the evening, His Majesty left Singapore. Before departure a doa was read by the State Mufti.

Present at the Changi International Airport to bid farewell to His Majesty was Lim Boon Heng, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office in Singapore.

The 18th AELM will take place in Japan next year.

"Asean stands ready to be a reliable partner of the US in tackling the various global and regional challenges, whether it is climate change, the Doha Round or counter terrorism and security issues," said the current chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Abhisit Vejjajiva, who spoke at a press conference with US President Barack Obama, following the conclusion of the inaugural Asean-US Summit.

President Obama, speaking beforehand, told reporters: "During our meeting, we talked about how the United States and Asean worked together as partners within this region and throughout the world. We discussed the importance of the challenge of climate change and working together to support the G20 efforts to promote a sustained and balanced global economic recovery."

A joint statement was duly issued about their pledge to increase collaboration and for the establishment of an Asean-US Eminent Persons Group - a move that is already being seen as a positive support for enhanced Asean-US cooperation in addressing regional and international issues.

During the meeting, it was learnt that President Obama stressed the US policy of enhancing engagement with Asean, which it regards as a key partner in the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region that was universally welcomed by the 10 Asean leaders of the high-level dialogue.

The leaders also reaffirmed the importance of bringing the Doha Round to a successful conclusion in 2010, and supported the G20 statement in fighting protectionism. The selection of the Philippines being chosen as the country coordinator for Asean-US Dialogue Relations from July 2009 to July 2012 was also endorsed by the leaders and requested it to lead the drafting of the next five-year Plan of Action. - Borneo Bulletin (16th November 2009)