ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Green is the Asean color
By David Swartzentruber
Brunei is the second-smallest country of the 10-member Asean group, but does have a length full name-State of Brunei Darussalam the Abode of Peace.
It borders the South China Sea and Malaysia and has a population of just more than 395,000.
However, this rather small country made a fairly large green step today when it signed a memorandum of understanding with Carbon Conservation PTE to transform the Sultanate into a low-carbon economy for sustainable growth.
Truly, in a country such as Brunei, it is not such a giant leap as more industrialized Asean countries have to make to go green. But the Brunei signing does point out that countries all over the globe are getting the message to consider the environment more seriously than 20 years ago.
An important step in Brunei is raising public awareness and there are many countries that are attempting to do exactly.
Environmental messages are appearing in advertisements on the subways, elevated trains and buses of the Asean megacities.
A critical factor is the incorporation of the green message to younger generations in the school system and it is difficult to gauge how each odf the 10-member Asean countries are doing in that regard.
The United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), headquartered in Bangkok, has developed a Green Growth Training Programme to be incorporated into school curriculums.
In addition, ESCAP has received requests for national training workshops from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. Depending on availability of funds, these countries will receive introductory training, and if requested, ESCAP is ready to provide more in-depth seminars on the actual policy tools that can facilitate a shift towards Green Growth.
One of the lofty goals of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint is the development of clean and green Asean communities.
Another smaller, Asean member, Singapore is perhaps in the forefront of going green due to its limited size and dependence on desalinization for a growing part of its water supply.
Another important event in the greening of Asean will be the Asean Affairs Save Our Planet conference in Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of August.
Look for the results of that meeting in future editions of Asean Analysis.
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