Seminar nurtures Bruneians as advocates for 'green growth' in the HoB
Held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), the seminar was attended by 21 participants from the Brunei’s government, private business, NGOs and academic sectors, who participated in a two day seminar and a four week intensive on-line training course to develop Green Growth strategies for Brunei Darussalam.
The on-going four week e-workshop is guiding participants to reflect on how Brunei can benefit from sustainable production and consumption, sustainable infrastructure and green tax and budget reform and as well as "greening businesses" or enterprises that prioritise environmental protection into their long-term business strategies.
Speaking at the seminar's opening, Aneta Nikolova, an environmental affairs officer and analyst from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) said that the online learning facility was a "window towards green economy and green policies" in the region. "It is also the window where Brunei can promote itself as one of the leaders in this region.
For us, Brunei is the Heart of Borneo, and Borneo is the lungs of the Asia-Pacific. This is the last tropical forest in our region that has been (kept) intact and the efforts of the Sultanate here is a remarkable example for the whole region," said Nikolova at UBD's University Technology Hub.
As part of the online course, participants will have to prepare a one-page case study, which the ESCAP official said could be brought to mainland countries in the region.
"We hope to have these case studies appear on our online e-learning facility, which is a window to good practices for the whole region."
Participants at the seminar included representantives from UBD, Institut Teknologi Brunei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Development, Brunei's Heart of Borneo Council, Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies, Green Brunei, Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Shell Petroleum Company SdnBhd, Brunei Investment Agency and the British High Commission.
Dean of UBD's Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies, Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, hailed the initiative as a "first step in promoting e-Learning", while "providing a critical opportunity to further advance our understanding of green growth and sustainable development, and to foster a new environmental consensus".
The seminar shared expert perspectives on green growth initiatives from around the world, alongside training on the use of the e-learning facility.
"We hope that you will become the champions of green growth in Brunei Darussalam. We need more champions. (Brunei is) a small, but bright and intelligent nation full of ideas and interest for innovation. This is our call," said Nikolova.
Speaking at the seminar, Rob Fenn, The British High Commissioner for Brunei, believed low carbon and green growth policies in Brunei could benefit the country greatly by creating techolognical competitiveness by reducing business costs and generating jobs and business opportunities.
Globally, it is estimated that there is now an annual total of 4 trillion dollars of green industry business. The forecast is that green business will grow by 45% over the next 8 years. Brunei is yet to develop its green growth potential and the opportunities are huge for both the country financially and preserving its beautiful forests.
WWF HoB will keep you posted on further outcomes of the workshop.