To propel climate action, a government’s success should not be measured by traditional measures of economic growth but through a broad spectrum that takes into consideration the state of the country’s natural environment.
This was said by the British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, John Virgoe during a panel discussion at a private screening of A Life on Our Planet by Sir David Attenborough at the Arts Centre, Jerudong International School (JIS).
Speaking on a recent report on biodiversity by the University of Cambridge commissioned by the United Kingdom, the British envoy noted that the report highlighted “how all our economies are reliant on the natural environment”.
Due to the importance that nature plays in a country’s economic growth, he, therefore, believed that we should look beyond a country’s GDP when measuring its success, and to look into how each government manages its natural environment as well as the state of its citizens’ welfare.
To achieve this, Virgoe added, collective action must be taken by not only the government but businesses and the citizens as well, noting how one relies on another’s influence; that each country “responds to the hopes and expectations of its citizens” and the same can be said for businesses as well.
“The fact is, this is a crucial year in protecting the world’s biodiversity and tackling climate change,” the foreign envoy said in a speech, adding that this year, the UK will host the Climate Change Summit (COP26) in November and Glasgow, holding the key theme of nature.
“All countries need to increase their actions to tackle climate change and protect diversity (and) Brunei is no exception, particularly given the economy’s reliance on exporting oil and gas,” he added.
Virgoe went on to say that Brunei, as the chair of ASEAN chair this year, has an important role to play, and in light of this, the UK will be working closely with the sultanate to promote climate change across the region.
Other members of the panel discussion include Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Hj Azhar Hj Yahya, in his capacity as Chair of the Executive Committee for Climate Change, Managing Director of Brunei LNG Hjh Farida Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib, and Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa Hj Ash’ari, who is also a member of the Executive Committee on Climate Change and co-founder of Green Brunei.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN