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Brunei Darussalam is a peaceful sultanate with long history steeped in culture and is famed for its luxurious rainforest teeming with colourful flora and fauna. The country is a perfect blend of the heritage it has preserved and the modern world it has evolved into. See for yourself the vibrant colours of Kampong Ayer and the pristine rainforest of Temburong. Experience Brunei Darussalam's tranquil lifestyle and friendly people. Discover the wonders and sights of this serene country in the heart of Borneo.

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21 December 2021 ASEAN Member States are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives, displacement of people as well as extensive damage to properties caused by the severe floods and landslides as a result of torrential rain in Malaysia and Typhoon Rai that hit the Republic of the Philippines. ASEAN expresses its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Governments and peoples of Malaysia and the Republic of the Philippines, especially the families affected by these natural disasters. ASEAN reaffirms its solidarity with the Governments and peoples of Malaysia and the Republic of the Philippines and stands ready to extend its cooperation and support during this difficult time. 

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16 December 2021 The Seventeenth Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (17th SOMSWD Meeting) began today via video conference. The meeting was chaired by Her Excellency Madam Ramrung Worawat, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Thailand and attended by the Deputy Secretary General for ASEAN Socio Cultural Community as well as Senior Officials responsible for Social Welfare and Development from ASEAN Member States. Yang Mulia Dayang Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture), Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports attended on behalf of Brunei Darussalam. With the theme of “Strengthening Partnerships towards the Betterment of ASEAN”, the 17th SOMSWD aims to enhance the well-being and improve the quality of life of older persons, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in ASEAN. In supporting the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD), SOMSWD plays a central role in recommending regional policies, developing and implementing the five-year regional workplan, and managing partnerships to advance social welfare and development in ASEAN. The 17th SOMSWD was preceded by the 16th ASEAN GO-NGO Forum on Social Welfare and Development held on 15th December 2021, via video conference. The Forum was co-chaired by Miss Ramrung Worawat, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, as SOMSWD Co-Chair, and Professor Emeritus Dr. Chanita Rukspollmuang, National Council on Social Welfare of Thailand (NCSWT), as NGO Co-Chair. The overall objective of the Forum is to serve as a multi-stakeholder platform and venue of exchanges for ASEAN Member States, NGOs, CSOs, private sector, academia, and relevant stakeholders on measures and resources needed to advance social welfare and development in ASEAN, with particular focus on building a more inclusive and resilient post-pandemic world based on the notion of leaving no one behind. Amongst others, the 17th SOMSWD discussed the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Framework and Action Plan to Implement the ASEAN Declaration On Strengthening Social Protection, the Regional Action Plan to Implement The Kuala Lumpur Declaration On Ageing: Empowering Older Persons In ASEAN, the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming The Rights of Persons With Disabilities, the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on The Elimination Of Violence Against Children (RPA-EVAC) as well as the Strategic Framework on Social Welfare and Development. The 17th SOMSWD will continue with the 16th ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development to be held on 17th December 2021.  Prior to the convening of the 17th SOMSWD, the presentation ceremony for the 1st ASEAN Outstanding Social Development Awards 2021 was held, also via video conference.  The ASEAN Outstanding Social Development Awards was endorsed by the ASEAN Ministers for Social Welfare and Development this year, with the objective of enhancing and elevating the engagements of SOMSWD with various stakeholders. The Awards, which are available in two categories, non-government organisations or civil society organisations (NGOs/CSOs) Category and the Private Sector Category, are also aimed at fostering sustained partnerships and cooperation among NGOs/CSOs, social enterprises, and the private sector in ASEAN Member States, and contribute to the advancement of social welfare and development, guided by the ASEAN Strategic Framework on Social Welfare and Development, which contains priorities for children, the elderly and persons with different abilities. The 1st AOSWADA Awardees 2021 from Brunei Darussalam are Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam for the NGO/CSO Category, and imagine Sendirian Berhad for the Private Sector Category. Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam was awarded the AOSWADA for the NGO/CSO Category in recognition of its achievements as one of the longest running organisations advocating for the development of persons with different abilities in Brunei Darussalam, whilst imagine Sendirian Berhad was awarded the AOSWADA for the Private Sector Category due to its active contributions and corporate social responsibility initiatives relating to the protection of children, in particular but not limited to, the Talian ANAK 121. Present to receive the awards virtually on behalf of Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam were Yang Mulia Pengiran Datin Hajah Noraini Pengiran Dipa Negara Laila Diraja binti Pengiran Haji Abdul Momin, Executive Trustee of Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam and Yang Mulia Dayang Nurul Huda binti Awg Haji Muhin, Head of Administration, whilst the Award for imagine Sendirian Berhad was received by Yang Mulia Dayang Suzannawati Suharju, Chief Executive Officer of imagine Sendirian Berhad. Source: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports

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15 December 2021 ASEAN expresses its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Government and people of the United States of America for the tragic loss of lives, extensive damage to the livelihood and properties as well as displacement of people caused by devastating tornadoes that struck several states in the United States on 10 – 11 December 2021. ASEAN affirms its solidarity with the Government and people of the United States of America, and is confident that they can overcome the challenges and recover swiftly from this natural disaster.

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ASEAN ROK 081221

The ASEAN and Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Startup Festival


The ASEAN and Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Startup Festival was held virtually on December 8th, 2021 as part of activities under Brunei Darussalam's ASEAN Chairmanship 2021 and organised by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) in collaboration with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS), ROK. The one-day event attracted over 300 participants where the virtual event showcased promising startups as well as promoted collaboration and exchange of information amongst startup ecosystems within ASEAN and ROK. The ASEAN-ROK Startup Festival is one of the eleven programmes considered for implementation under the ASEAN-ROK Startups Partnership that was announced through the Co-Chair’s Statement of the 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit held in Busan, Korea. The partnership is currently implemented between the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea (MSS, ROK). More information on the festival can be accessed via event page www.aseanrokstartupfestival.com

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26 November 2021 Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd.) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports attended the Twelfth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (12th AMRDPE) which was hosted by Philippines via video conference. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Noel K Felongco, Director General of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Republic of the Philippines as Chairman of the 12th AMRDPE, and attended by the Secretary General of ASEAN as well as Ministers responsible for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication from ASEAN Member States. With the theme of “Accelerating Recovery and Strengthening Resiliency of ASEAN for Sustainable Rural Development and Poverty Eradication”, the 12th AMRDPE reaffirmed commitment to promote rural development and poverty eradication in the ASEAN region, pursuant to the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025, the ASEAN Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals, and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. During the meeting, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports stated that, as ASEAN embarks on the journey to overcome the effects of the pandemic, we need to ensure that our vulnerable groups are not left behind in our recovery and this will be vital to realise the ASEAN Care Economy as we kick start the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. The Minister shared that the national COVID-19 vaccination programme is inclusive to all, both in urban and rural areas, where latest statistics show that more than 93% of the population have received their 1st doses, whilst almost 80% have completed 2 doses.  The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports shared that through the National Plan of Action on the Eradication of Poverty, Brunei Darussalam has undertaken several strategies to strengthen the social protection eco-system through a Whole of Nation Approach:       a. Improving social service access and delivery across all sectors. Initiatives include the digitalization of registrations and applications for welfare assistance through the National Welfare System (SKN)that utilizes business intelligence; short-term financial assistance for self-employed or freelance workers affected by COVID-19; as well as future plans to integrate applications for in-kind educational assistance, Old Age Pensions, Disability Allowances and housing into the SKN. Provision of affordable housing also continues to be one of the key priorities of the Government, where more than 30,000 homes have been built under the National Housing scheme, and more than 800 homes have or are being built for the underprivileged with assistance from  relevant agencies, bringing even more low-income families closer towards breaking the poverty cycle and building a self-reliant community.      b. Leveraging on digital transformation strategies to enhance economic recovery of vulnerable groups. E-commerce platforms play a critical role during the pandemic as they not only help micro businesses and service providers but also allowed NGOs to fundraise and mobilize causes to assist those in need. It is therefore essential that the AMRDPE work to address the digital  divide in supporting post-pandemic recovery, not only to stimulate economic activities, but also support educational needs of vulnerable groups, especially the accessibility for those living in remote and rural areas.      c. Providing skills training and empowerment to cultivate self-reliance and resilience among targeted groups. Skilling, upskilling and reskilling able-bodied and able-to-work welfare recipients and their dependents remains a top priority, focusing on increasing their marketability through training and education, grants and free-of-charge or low-cost incubators to start and run their businesses. Through partnerships with the Manpower Planning and Employment Council and Darussalam Enterprise, the priority towards lifelong learning for all will ensure readiness for the Future of Work in the Post-Pandemic era.  The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports also shared that towards the realization of Brunei Vision 2035, especially in achieving the objectives for a High Quality of Life, Brunei Darussalam will be developing a Social Blueprint which will consolidate national strategies for a social protection system that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.  The 12th AMRDPE Meeting adopted a joint statement whereby, amongst others, the Ministers recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in long-term impacts on the capacities and livelihoods of families, households and communities in rural and urban settings, and increased the incidence of poverty and deepened pre-existing inequalities. Ministers further stressed on the urgency to accelerate collective action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to undertake measures to ensure that people living in rural and urban areas are empowered and resilient to natural hazards and climate risks. Ministers agreed to enhance interconnectivity of rural-urban communities to facilitate the dynamic interactions of people and enterprises as well as productive activities across the urban and rural areas; and to strengthen inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19  pandemic. Ministers also agreed to strengthen multi-stakeholder rural development mechanisms especially for rural women and youth participation, and other vulnerable sectors; and tasked the Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication to undertake cross-sectoral and inter-pillar collaboration with relevant Sectoral Bodies and partners to implement the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication 2021-2025. Also present at the meeting were Yang Mulia Dayang Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) and Yang Mulia Pengiran Ameer Mubarak bin Pengiran Haji Hashim, Acting Temburong District Officer, representative from the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The 12th AMRDPE were preceded by the 18th Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication on 23 November 2021; the 14th ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication on 24 November 2021 as well as the 10th ASEAN Public-Private-People Partnership Forum on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication on 25 November 2021. Two side events were also conducted, namely the 1st ASEAN Symposium on COVID-19 Socioeconomic Recovery Efforts for The Poor and Marginalized Sectors, as well as the Technical Consultation on the Development of the ASEAN Master Plan on Rural Development. 

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Bandar Seri Begawan, Thursday, 28th October 2021 His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, this afternoon chaired the 18th ASEAN-India Summit. The Summit was held virtually via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman. At the 18th ASEAN-India Summit, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as ASEAN Chair for 2021 appreciated India’s support for ASEAN’s recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including its role in supplying vaccines to the region and its contribution of 1 million U.S. dollars to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. His Majesty welcomed the decision by ASEAN and India to exchange information on medicinal products, including vaccines, and medical technologies for COVID-19 response. In addition, His Majesty encouraged ASEAN and India to work together on sustainable economic recovery by exploring new opportunities for cooperation under the Blue Economy, which may include developing key industries that can generate employment and enhance connectivity such as fisheries and maritime transport, respectively. His Majesty also encouraged the commencement of a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more business-friendly and trade facilitative, which would also support economic recovery efforts. Lastly, His Majesty noted the designation of 2022 as “ASEAN-India Friendship Year” to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-India relations. Meanwhile, His Excellency Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India in his statement highlighted that the friendship between ASEAN and India has improved, despite facing numerous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ASEAN centrality and unity have always been an important priority for India, and this is enshrined in India’s Act East Policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore then delivered the ASEAN Common Statement as Country Coordinator for ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations, which focused on redressing adverse impacts of COVID-19 through sustainable and comprehensive recovery; valued India’s commitment in respecting principles of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative; reaffirmed India’s commitment to a rules-based multilateral system; supported enhanced cooperation in key areas; and promoted a rules-based order in accordance with international law. At the Summit, Leaders commended India for its contributions and assistance to ASEAN as well as India’s support for ASEAN-led mechanisms, in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. ASEAN should also leverage on India’s well-established pharmaceutical industry in promoting human resource development in the health sector as well as strategic research and development of vaccines. Leaders also called for the strengthening of cooperation between ASEAN-India in various areas including digital transformation, digital economy; science, technology and innovation; connectivity; and biodiversity. At the end of the Summit, the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific for Peace, Stability and Prosperity in the Region was adopted.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN on 7 January 1984