Global issues critical for youth development
By Ahmed Shaheeb

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah yesterday highlighted the importance of the involvement of youths in dealing with global issues especially the environment.

HRH was speaking at the opening of the 6th Borneo Global Issues Conference (BGIC VI), organised by International School Brunei (ISB) yesterday morning.

Also present at the ceremony were Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr. Awang Hj Ahmad bin Hj Jumat, the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR), Pehin Dato Paduka Awg Hj Abdullah, Minister of Development, Dato Paduka Hj Sheikh Adnan Sheikh Mohammad Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The event began with a welcoming address by International School Brunei's Director Mr David Taylor in which he expressed delight over the record number of delegates attending the conference and welcomed returning schools.

HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah in her address expressed her pleasure to meet so many dynamic and proactive youth, who took upon their young shoulders, the sense of responsibility for the many real and serious issues facing the world today.

HRH added that the conference and the participation of the young people exemplify the essence of our preoccupation and concern with global issues that matter to us today and in the future.

"I firmly believe that our capacity to build the kind of world in which we all wish to live depends on the involvement of everyone, including our youth," HRH said.

HRH then went on to say that the conference provides a dialogue that engages young people through a unified objective to bring meaningful change to the world and its environment, which emulates what leaders are doing through representations of countries in the United Nations and other relevant regional and global forums.

"As a supporter of youth empowerment, I treasure every opportunity I get to interact with you (the youth) and support your efforts to create a better world, foster a better environment and celebrate ideas and solutions to issues that affect us all. I am therefore pleased to see this conference going from strength to strength since its inception here in Brunei Darussalam in 2003."

In her closing address, HRH officially launched the event.

This year's theme, which focuses on "Water" as a valuable resource, is very much at the centre of many global issues facing mankind which was touched on in the opening speech by Mr David Taylor.

He highlighted global problems such as melting ice, access to clean water and sanitation, the threat to the oceans, flooding and other man - made ecological disasters such as the shrinking of the Aral sea exposing dust laden with toxic pollutants and that presently there are about 1.2 billion people without access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion lacking access to basic sanitation.

He thanked everyone who has supported the project since its inception, especially Brunei LNG who has given considerable financial support for the past six years and gratitude to the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources for guidance and access to facilities such as ICC.

He also expressed his appreciation to Royal Brunei Airlines, British High Commission, Total, HSBC, AsiaIncForum, The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Sunlit Advertising, Orchid Garden Hotel, Sehat Water, Nyuklian Printing Company and CfBT for their generous sponsorship and support.

Also delivering a keynote address was Mr Fred Smeenk, Managing Director of BLNG who said it was an honour for BLNG to continue its sponsorship of BGIC VI, which seeks to promote internationalism amongst young people.

The Borneo Global Issues Conference is now a Brunei Tradition. It is a four-day, student run MUN (Model United Nations) conference that brings together secondary school pupils from around the region to discuss major global concerns of the day. In this forum, aspiring young men and women will debate key issues and produce resolutions on these issues in a mock United Nations simulation.

The objective of the conference is to encourage international cooperation, understanding and world citizenship among young adults at a time of rising globalisation. In addition, the conference will offer participants the opportunity to develop debating skills in the English language.

A renowned Animal Planet presenter Monty Halls was also at hand to give a keynote address International School Brunei's Borneo Global Issues Conference VI (ISB BGIC), in a United Nations-style conference at the International Convention Centre, Berakas.

Monty Halls is an ex-royal marine who hosts Animal Planet's "Great Ocean Adventures" and is one of United Kingdom's leading explorers. During his expeditions, he led a multi-national team of adventurers and scientists on an expedition to Southeast India to discover the ruins of a lost civilization beneath the sea. The discovery made Halls one of the new stars of British exploration and in the conference talked about the stresses and strains that humans inflict on the oceans of the world.

The four-day conference also sees celebrity guests such as Alison Cronin, Director of Monkey World, a primate specialist and TV presenter address delegates and invited guests, including officials from the Ministry of Education, school principals and student observers on the impact of habitat loss through population increase, greed and ignorance on primates during the conference. - Borneo Bulletin (2nd Mar 2008)