Prince lauds UAE for establishing IRENA

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, yesterday attended the Plenary Session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The session was chaired by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President of the assembly.

His Royal Highness delivered a statement, thanking the Federal Republic of Germany for the initial idea behind the agency and congratulating the United Arab Emirates on its impressive work as the permanent host country.

His Royal Highness later held bilateral discussions with Sven Al Kalaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His Royal Highness yesterday evening joined fellow heads of delegations in a tour of IRENA exhibition and attended a dinner at the Manaret Sa'diyat hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates to welcome all delegates. Also present at the dinner was His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of UAE.

Following is the full text of HRH's speech:

"My congratulations on your election and my appreciation to the agency for the arrangements for this very important international initiative.

"First of all, I would like to thank the Federal Republic of Germany for the original idea behind IRENA and offer my warmest congratulations to the United Arab Emirates on the speed with which they have established the agency in time for this first meeting.

"It means that one of the world's great industrial countries is working together with one of our most go-ahead developing nations and that represents outstanding cooperation and is extremely encouraging.

"For us in Brunei Darussalam, the opening of the agency comes at a most appropriate moment. Oil and gas is our biggest industry and we export to several countries in our region, so we have tried to make sure that our energy is clean and efficient. Nevertheless, we have to face the biggest question for all oil-producing countries, especially, a very small one like ours.

"This is the question that our people are beginning to ask quite seriously: What happens when the oil runs out?

"This means that we have to look very closely at renewable energy.

"We have a number of local plans at the moment and we're also working with our neighbours in the region, but of course, we cannot solve all the problems on our own. We need more expertise and experience and consequently, we need international ideas.

"That is why I am here, Mr President, to say that we very much support the aims of IRENA and greatly appreciate all your efforts in getting this very important agency established.

"I would especially like to congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the speed and efficiency in which they have established the agency. I am very impressed and I wish them every success as its permanent seat." - Borneo Bulletin (5th April 2011)