Sultan upholds 'Green Growth'
By Azlan Othman in Honolulu

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said the Sultanate has embarked on a comprehensive review of its energy policies and is promoting awareness on the need to use energy efficiently including the introduction of revised electricity tariffs.

His Majesty said this in his titah at the second plenary session of the APEC Leaders meeting yesterday at JW Marriot Ihilani Hotel, Honolulu, which focused on 'Energy Efficiency and Energy Security'. The monarch said energy efficiency and energy security are of great concern to Brunei Darussalam.

On that note, the monarch said, APEC's work in 'Green Growth' is very important as it addresses sustainable development and the need to balance it with the interest of the people. His Majesty added that even as a net energy exporter, Brunei Darussalam has realised the need to plan for a sustainable future through initiatives on energy efficiency and conservation.

His Majesty added that such initiatives aim to promote public awareness on the need to manage resources sustainably. Notwithstanding, throughout the various programmes under inclusive growth, the effect to vulnerable group of society will be taken into consideration and the government will work to ensure that they are not adversely impacted.

His Majesty added that for this reason the work of APEC is particularly useful for Brunei Darussalam to address this balance of interests between the people and the future, with the need for capacity building and technology transfer, which are also essential to achieve the newly revised energy intensity target in APEC.

Leading the discussion was a presentation given by Dr Steven Chu, United States Secretary of Energy and Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist, International Energy Agency.

At the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting 2011, the leaders agreed to issue the "Honolulu Declaration - Toward a Seamless Regional Economy". The declaration outlined their commitment to continue working together in strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade; promoting green growth; and towards regulatory convergence and cooperation.

In the declaration, steps taken to promote green growth include rationalising and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while recognising the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services, and set up a voluntary reporting mechanism on progress, which will be reviewed annually; aspire to reduce APEC's aggregate energy intensity by 45 per cent by 2035 and promote energy efficiency by taking specific steps related to transport, buildings, power grids, jobs, knowledge sharing, and education in support of energy-smart low-carbon communities.

In looking forward, the leaders have agreed to take concrete steps towards a seamless regional economy in order to link their companies and market closer together for the benefit of all.

Earlier, His Majesty attended the first plenary session of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting; the dialogue with APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and a working lunch.

During the plenary session, the leaders focused their discussion on issues related to "growth and jobs". The discussion was preceded by a presentation from Ms Christine Legarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

At the session, APEC leaders raised the need to be vigilant of recent challenges affecting the region, including the global economic crisis and a succession of natural disasters, as they move forward to expand trade, promote growth, and create jobs. These challenges have not only strengthened their commitment to cooperation as a way forward, but also to support the strong, sustained, and balanced growth of the global economy.

The leaders reiterated that APEC's core mission continues to be further integration of their economies and expansion of intra-trade. The leaders also recognised that trade and investment are critical to job creation and greater economic prosperity.

The first plenary session was followed by the dialogue with APEC Business Advisory Council, a session which His Majesty attended together with economic leaders from Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Chinese Taipei and the United States of America.

The dialogue with APEC Business Advisory Council covered a number of areas including SMEs inclusive growth; Women in Business; Innovative Growth; Green Growth; Public-Private Partnership; Food Security; and Energy Security.

Representing Brunei Darussalam at the dialogue was Mr Javed Ahmad, Managing Director of Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam.

In the afternoon, His Majesty also attended the working lunch where the leaders discussed "Regulatory Reform and Competitiveness". Following the working lunch, His Majesty and other APEC economic leaders went for a customary group photo session.

His Majesty left Honolulu yesterday afternoon after attending the APEC Leaders meeting. Before departure, a doa selamat was read by the State Mufti, Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

Also present to bid farewell at Hickam airbase were Ms Gladys Boluda, Assistant Head of Protocol of US State Department, Dato Paduka Hj Yussof bin Hj Abdul Hamid, Brunei Darussalam Ambassador to the United States of America and officials from the Brunei Embassy. - Borneo Bulletin (15th Novempber 2011)