H.E. Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Education of Brunei Darussalam officially opened the 55th Governing Board Meeting of SEAMEO BIOTROP on 16 October 2017 at Centerpoint Hotel, Brunei Darussalam.
In his opening address, the Minister commended the Centre for producing significant accomplishments from implementing the various programs and activities spelled out in its recently completed 9th Five-Year Development Plan (2012-2017) toward attaining its vision as “A Leading Centre in promoting and enhancing the real value of tropical biology in Southeast Asia”. He appreciated the efforts of SEAMEO BIOTROP in collaborating with Wasan School in the past and now as the School of Agro-Technology and Applied Sciences within the Institute of Brunei Technical Education to transfer technology and ideas to the teachers toward preparing youths to develop their passion and interest in agriculture and be able to produce more innovation in agriculture in the future.
Recognizing Brunei Darussalam’s biodiversity endowment and the importance of conserving and managing them, H.E. Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi encouraged SEAMEO BIOTROP to establish partnership with the Institute of Biodiversity and Environment Research of the University of Brunei Darussalam. “Such innovative research partnership will benefit both SEAMEO BIOTROP and UBD in addressing common concerns and achieve shared goals,” added the Minister.
The Minister also expressed his support for SEAMEO BIOTROP to implement its School Garden for Improving Students’ Literacy, Nutrition, and Entrepreneurship Program and Urban Agriculture Training Program in Brunei Darussalam’s schools.
The opening ceremony was also graced by seven ambassadors of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Thailand and representative of high commissioner of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam.
In his welcome remarks, SEAMEO BIOTROP Director Dr Irdika Mansur stressed the importance of the Centre’s Governing Board meeting this year specifically for the approval of the Centre’s 10th Five-Year Development Plan (2017-2022) as one of the working papers for discussion. The Plan is billed as “Forging Ahead with Tropical Biology for Environmental and Societal Transformations in Southeast Asia”. Under this Plan, the Centre will focus on three program thrusts, namely: 1) Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems/Landscapes, 2) Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes, and 3) Conservation and Sustainable Use of Unique Ecosystems/Landscapes of High Biodiversity.
Seven Governing Board members and two representatives from 10 SEAMEO member countries and SEAMEO Secretariat Deputy Director for Administration and Communication attended the Centre’s Governing Board meeting to discuss and provide guidance on 10 working papers and nine information papers.