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OPENING ADDRESS BY
AWANG ABDUL MUTALIB BIN PEHIN ORANG KAYA SERI SETIA
DATO PADUKA HAJI MOHAMAD YUSOF
PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS
NEGARA BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
THE OPENING CEREMONY
THE WMO SEMINAR ON SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS AND DELIVERY OF
METEOROLOGICAL AND HYDROLOGICAL SERVICES
21-25TH OCTOBER 2013,
THE RIZQUN INTERNATIONAL HOTEL,
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, NEGARA BRUNEI DARUSSALAM.
And a very good morning,
Yang Mulia Awang Muhamad Husaini bin Aji,
Acting Director of the Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department,
as Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee.
Yang Mulia Awang Haji Idris Bin Haji Md Ali,
Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Communications
Madam Haleh Kootval,
Chief, Public Weather Services Division,
World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Glen Anderson
Chief of Party,
Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD) Project.
Distinguished Speakers, Directors, Senior Officials, Participants and invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
of all, I would like to thank the Chairman of the Local Organizing
Committee, Awg Hussaini and his team, for inviting me this morning. It
is certainly a great pleasure to be here. I also wish to extend our warm
welcome to all of you to Bandar Seri Begawan, and to this auspicious
me also record our highest appreciation to the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) for the opportunity to work together in hosting this
Seminar. Such collaboration is, indeed, a valuable experience for Brunei
Darussalam. I certainly welcome this initiative and hope today’s
collaboration will have more continuity and bring us all to new heights
in the years to come.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s Seminar brings together the heads, senior officials and experts
of the meteorological sector in our region. Through this avenue,
meteorological information can be further understood and conveniently
used by the public to the way they work, live and play every day!
Let me now share with you some of our perspectives in context to this
morning’s seminar. Firstly, I wish to share some recent policy and
institutional developments in the Meteorological sector of Brunei
Darussalam. For us, today’s seminar is a timely event. Our national
meteorological service is undergoing a transformation.
have just established the Department of Meteorology, under the Ministry
of Communications Brunei Darussalam in April 2013. This policy
initiative saw the upgrading of the Meteorological Service Section of
the Department of Civil Aviation into a full-pledged Department. The
policy development also demonstrates our Government’s recognition of
meteorological’s growing importance. Meteorological
services will now be given to the public in a more effective,
comprehensive and accurate manner. It will also further enrich our local
expertise in the meteorological field.
6. Secondly, let me touch on how crucial the impacts of meteorological and hydrological services are becoming today. The
impacts of severe weather, climate and related environmental natural
hazards are becoming increasingly apparent. This brings the need for
both meteorologists and climate scientists to come together to work out
efforts in safeguarding lives and property.
7. More recently we have observed the
impacts of natural disasters happening within theTsunamis, typhoons,
earthquakes and disastrous floods have ravaged some countries in this
region. The extreme nature, frequency and intensity of such phenomenon
are at times, very alarming.
8. According to the Secretary General of WMO, over
the last 30 years, natural disasters took the lives of over 2 million
people and produced economic losses estimated at over 1.5 trillion US
dollars. Almost 90 percent of such disasters, more than 70 percent of
the casualties and almost 80 percent of the economic losses were caused
by weather-, climate- or water-related hazards such as tropical
cyclones, storm surges, heat waves, droughts, floods or related disease
The consequences of these disasters bring very wide and deep
implications to countries and societies, with everything at stake, such
as food production, energy security or our day-to-day activities. Therefore,
countries must continue to enhance their preparedness, strengthen their
resilience as well as reinforce their response and recovery operations.
I wish to share some of my thoughts on meteorology and tecnhology
optimisation. Three things come to mind when it comes to weather
forecasting and met services - i) Accuracy of Information ii)
Reliability of Information and iii) Timely sharing of Information. In
this regard, I certainly urge the meteorological community to take full
advantage of new technologies. I'm also calling for full optimization of
ICT, which has widespread usage among the global community.
11. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2013, more than half of the world’s 6.8 billion mobile phone users are in the Asia-Pacific region. The usage of social media is also an undeniable global phenomenon. The popular WhatsApp smart phone application, has 300m active users, with 11billion messages sent and 20billion messages received every day.
numbers are simply mind-boggling but are definitely crucial at critical
times when reaching out to the public can save lives and properties.
According to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red
Crescent, Typhoon Bopha in 2012 affected 6.3million lives in the
Philippines. However, thousands of lives were saved because 99% of the
population had access to a mobile phone and were able to receive early
warning messages and information to stay safe. This statistic is a very convincing example.
understand that meteorological authorities have in fact, started their
own initiatives in using ICT to disseminate information to the public. I
applaud your efforts and encourage further utilization of ICT for more
effective and efficient articulation of meteorological information.
and my final point, creating economic value and making the best of the
meteorological sector. We all must know that climate and weather
forecasting have achieved tremendous improvement in accuracy over the
last 10 to 15 years. I consider this as a success story of man,
machine and technology joining forces.
I must stress that the accuracy of forecast will not do much good if no
one is willing to listen to it. It is, therefore, critically important
that the delivery of forecasts and services be continually addressed
and improved. Let me now pose a question to all of us - how can forecast
or meteorological information be articulated and translated into
relevancy to the way we work, live and play in our everyday lives?
this regard, I would like to commend the WMO for their continuous
efforts in facilitating and promoting the economic value of
meteorological forecasts and information. Through such efforts,
meteorological services and products have been able to help the public
and policy makers to make better and informed decisions. The Seminar
today, is an excellent example of this effort.
I am also very pleased with the strong initiative driven through the
WMO Public Weather Services Programme, and WMO’s willingness to
collaborate with our Brunei Darussalam Meteorological Department. I
encourage this seminar to further promote user engagement and feedback,
the sharing of best practices amongst National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) as well as partnerships in maximizing the use of weather, climate and water information.
this regard, I strongly urge for a continued and strengthened
co-operation between NMHSes, WMO and our partners to leverage on the
various expertise and knowledge, hence creating economic value for all
our mutual benefits!
that note, I wish you all a successful seminar and to all the
international participants, I wish you an enjoyable stay in Brunei
Darussalam! Thank you.
20. With the ‘Kalimah Bismillahirahmaanirahim’ I now declare “The
WMO Seminar On Social And Economic Benefits And Delivery Of
Meteorological And Hydrological Services” held here in Bandar Seri
Begawan, Brunei Darussalam open.
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