Conservation versus Development

I was at the ICC yesterday for the opening of the ISB Borneo Global Issues Conference VI by Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah. I was very impressed with her delivery. I was also impressed with the organisation of the whole affair bearing in mind I did not see a single Adat Istiadat people. Protocols were correct. But most importantly it was not a boring opening.

We had Monty Halls of Animal Planet and Alison Cronin, Director of Monkey World-Ape Rescue Centre, also another Animal Planet presenter. Monty Halls was a very dynamic and inspirational speaker. With his humourous touch, the whole opening was made that much more livelier. Though he did remind me a bit of that British actor Monty Price. He also brought reality into what goes on if anyone wants to be a nature conservationist. I thought that was really good. It is a lot of hard work but in the end, you get a planet that is safe to live in complete with its biodiversity.

The Borneo Global Issues Conference has now become more or less a Brunei Tradition. It is a three-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 increasing globalisation. Additionally, the conference will offer the participants the opportunity to develop debating skills in the English language. More than 20 schools participated in the conference coming not just locally but also from UK, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

The Conference with its Million Tree project is something we have to laud to. We produced roughly 9,000 kg of CO2 each. Each tree can only consume about 20kg of CO2. That means we have to plant for every single one of us 450 trees per year. That's a lot of trees and not to mention a lot of areas too.

There is indeed a debate between the conservation and development. We in Brunei are not yet debating that, at least not widely. In the future that may change. I can already see it in one of our future projects - a dam versus lost of forests and its habitat. It would not be too far wrong to suggest that the general issue of balancing between environmental considerations, and economic progress and development will assume even greater central prominence in the Brunei public fora in the years ahead. This brings into the picture time and again, of the often-heated debate of balancing between the need to preserve environmental resources and the necessity of economic progress and development in Brunei.


Yes. It makes you think hard on how to balance between the two. But personally I think if you do it (utilizing the resources) in moderation, surely Brunei won't crumble to pieces,no?
I'm no expert in the area (in fact I didn't do very well in my Resource Economics many years ago, although my lecturer told me otherwise haha) and neither am I trying to belittle the importance of the environment. I however think it is a greater concern for Brunei to diversify its economy, FAST. And I cannot see that can be achieved without having to tap into our other natural resources and/or without any effects to the environment.
At the end of the day, as much as I want to preserve our beloved virgin forest, I also need to help feed the people. And in MODERATION, I think we can probably achieve what economists like to call 'Pareto Optimal allocation' (which unfortunately almost can never be achieved haha).
Sorry it's just my thought now. I probably think otherwise if I know the real situations we are facing at the moment.
Anonymous said…
Dear rogue economist, the real situation we are facing now is the lacklustre 'debating' skills of our "appointed Yang Berhormat" Honourable Members of the National Legislative Council (LegCo)!

The last session of the LegCo (by the way, how many years of hiatus/ hibernation do our YBs need?!) a couple of years back was such a forgettable monotony, I think. Even Mr BR (a Government 'backbencher' in his own right, I dare say) could not remember a single plausible important thing that came out of it. And I for one am anxiously looking forward to some heated exchanges 'war of words' in this financial year Annual Budget "debate?" in the brand new, impressive LegCo (Parliament?) Building which kicks off tomorrow!

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