Brunei Pledges Environment Summit
Sultan Haji Hassanal Waddaulah announced in late October that he would sponsor a major environmental conference in Brunei in 2010. As he announced to the Brunei Times, he would seek out promising young scientists from both Europe and Asia to attend the meeting and discuss steps toward environmental protection.
Announced at an Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Beijing, the conference will focus on the impact of climate change on tropical forest regions. Brunei, which shares a small section of the Malaysian island of Borneo, seems to be a likely figure to emerge as host, as a recent estimate said that 79% of Brunei's land mass was protected by government decree. Much of this environmental largesse can be traced back to the country's rich oil reserves which have helped to support the small kingdom and are expected to remain profitable for 20 more years. Nonetheless, the Sultan appears to recognize the need to tackle global warming and its associated carbon emissions, and endorsed the Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development which emerged from the Asia-Europe Meeting, a document which showed strong support for renewable and clean forms of energy.
The meeting should be a clear sign to its Asian island neighbors that business as usual may have to change. Indonesia was recognized in 2007 as the country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world, with 4,447,896 acres of forest lost per year from 2000-2005. This represents a 2 percent chunk of forest lost every year.
-Equatorial Press Staff Report. Photo Courtesy of Tylerdurden1/Flickr.