Climate change is a reality
By Azaraimy HH in Nusa Dua, Bali

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday emphasised on the need to increase capacity and preparedness in disaster management during the Plenary Session of the 6th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Nusa Dua, Bali.

During the meeting, His Majesty, in his titah, also touched on the importance of ensuring food security for the people.

The 6th East Asia Summit was held during the last day of the 19th Asean Summit 2011 hosted by Indonesia.

During the EAS, His Majesty consented to deliver a titah, whereby the monarch joined other leaders in welcoming the United States and Russia to the summit, noting that their participation would bring the region closer together and complement the long-standing partnership.

In reviewing the progress achieved by the EAS over the last six years, His Majesty took note of the progress made by EAS from the priority areas of cooperation. His Majesty highlighted that the overarching theme in the discussion seem to be the need to increase resilience in order to keep the people safe and that efforts to provide for their basic needs are sustainable.

Looking at what has been happening recently and the challenges faced by some of the EAS members, it is clear that climate change and its consequences are a reality that needs to be addressed urgently, as they pose a threat to the environment and also the livelihood of the people.

In this regard, His Majesty outlined three key areas of action lines to be considered.

Firstly, His Majesty took note of the need to enhance cooperation in disaster management as a first line of defence and suggested building EAS capacity and enhance its preparedness. For this reason, His Majesty thanked Indonesia, Australia and US for providing their views on how EAS can enhance cooperation on disaster management and tasked the officials to consider them further.

Secondly, His Majesty stressed the importance of ensuring food security for the people, in which Asean has been working with the Asean+3 through the Asean+3 Emergency Rice Reserve Arrangement. Towards this, His Majesty suggested the EAS to consider similar type of collaboration, encourage more investment in agriculture, and increase the involvement of the private sector.

Thirdly, His Majesty identified the need to cooperate in the area of energy security and called for continued support to promote green growth for sustainable development in the long-term. This would pave way to mitigate climate change, especially through reduction in carbon emissions; sharing of clean technologies, and encourage forest conservation.

His Majesty shared that in Brunei, a Biodiversity Centre has been set up for the promotion of research and development in forest management and conservation.

Brunei is also working with Indonesia and Malaysia in the "Heart of Borneo" initiative which is aimed at conserving the rainforest by creating a network of protected forest areas. His Majesty believed that these will go a long way in complementing global efforts on climate change and welcomed participation of other member countries in these initiatives.

Meanwhile, His Majesty later attended the Retreat Session of the 6th East Asia Summit.

At the session, EAS Leaders exchanged their views on regional and international issues, including among other things, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Priorities; Maritime Security; South China Sea; Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; Food Security; Energy Security; Situation in the Korean Peninsula; Afghanistan; Developments in Myanmar; Thai-Cambodia Border Dispute; and Iran's Nuclear Programme.

During the summit, leaders took note of the "Indonesian-Australian Paper; A Practical Approach to Enhance Regional Cooperation on Disaster Rapid Response"; "Asean Economic Ministers' report on the Progress in the Asean Plus Working Groups"; and the "Report on the Asean Framework on the Emerging Regional Architecture".

The leaders also adopted the "Declaration of the East Asia Summit on the Principles of Mutually Beneficial relations" and the "Declaration of the 6th East Asia Summit on Connectivity". The "Chairman's Statement of the 6th East Asia Summit" was also issued. During the summit, His Majesty consented to join other leaders for a group photograph.

Also in attendance at the Summit Meetings were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office; and Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II. - Borneo Bulletin (20th Novempber 2011)