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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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20 October 2021 The 17th Senior Officials Meeting on Culture and the Arts (17th SOMCA) and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners was held via video conference. Attending on behalf of Brunei Darussalam was Yang Mulia Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) and senior officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The 17th SOMCA and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners was officiated by Her Excellency Dr Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts of the Kingdom of Cambodia and chaired by Her Excellency Pen Moni Makara, Secretary of State of Culture and Fine Arts, Cambodia. In her remarks, Her Excellency Pen Moni Makara highlighted the importance of the meeting for ASEAN to strengthen cooperation through sharing of best practices in cultural aspects especially during the Covid-19 pandemic; for ASEAN to inculcate the Culture of Prevention (COP) which aims to promote and nurture a prevention mindset to address social issues including violence, environmental degradation and quality of life in all levels; and SOMCA’s priority in contributing to culture. The meeting also held dialogues with the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and India. In the dialogues with the People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea the meeting discussed the status of the ASEAN Plus 3 Work Plan on Cooperation in Culture and the Arts 2019-2021, and the respective Work Plans on Cooperation in Culture and the Arts with People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea 2022-2025. An inaugural discussion was held with India, through the Permanent Mission of India to ASEAN, where the meeting acknowledged the close relations between ASEAN and India, in terms of history and civilizational links, and further discussed proposed activities to strengthen cultural cooperation between ASEAN and India. The meeting also shared the status of ongoing and implemented projects under SOMCA and reports on activities in conjunction with the declaration of Siem Reap as the ASEAN City of Culture 2020-2022. At the same time, senior officials on culture and arts welcomed the ASEAN Cultural Activities under Cambodian Chairmanship of ASEAN 2022. Brunei Darussalam also shared updates on the status of implementation of culture and arts activities under Brunei’s Chairmanship of ASEAN 2021 such as the publication of the Coffee Table Book on ASEAN Diversity and outcomes of the G20 Culture Ministers Meeting that was held in July 2021, where Brunei Darussalam as Chair of ASEAN was invited to attend and presented a statement on behalf of ASEAN. The 18th SOMCA and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners is scheduled to be held in Lao PDR in October 2022. Prepared by: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports  

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The Twentieth ASEAN Economic Community Council (20th AECC) Meeting


18 October 2021 The Twentieth ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) Meeting was held virtually on the 18th October 2021. The meeting was chaired by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II. Attending the meeting virtually were ASEAN Economic Council Ministers from ASEAN Member States (AMS) and the ASEAN Secretary General, His Excellency Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi. Brunei Darussalam was represented by Yang Mulia Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy). Also present was Yang Mulia Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin, Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy.  In preparation for the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summit, the Ministers among others discussed key accomplishments and progress of the Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs) under the ASEAN Economic Community Pillar for Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship for 2021. The PEDs for this year are: (1) Non-Tariff Measures Cost Effectiveness Toolkit (NTM Toolkit); (2) Post COVID-19 Recovery Plan for ASEAN Tourism; (3) Launch of the negotiations for the ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement; (4) ASEAN Investment Facilitation Framework (AIFF); (5) Signing of the 9th AFAS protocol on Financial Services; (6) Work Plan on the Implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce 2021-2025; (7) Regional Action Plan on the Implementation of the Norms of Responsible State’s Behaviour in Cyberspace; (8) Convene ASEAN Financial Literacy Conference; (9) ASEAN Framework to support Food, Agriculture, and Forestry (FAF) Small Producers, Cooperatives, and MSMEs to Improve Product Quality to Meet Regional/International Standards and Ensure Competitiveness; (10) Bandar Seri Begawan: Joint Declaration of the 39th ASEAN Ministers on Energy on Energy Security and Energy Transition; (11) Framework for Circular Economy for the ASEAN Economic Community; (12) Imperatives for Regional Cooperation in Minerals: Key Recommendations to Respond to Opportunities and Challenges of a Minerals-Intensive Future; and (13) Initiate the Development of ASEAN Taxonomy on Sustainable Finance Furthermore, the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap: An ASEAN Digital Transformation Agenda to Accelerate ASEAN’s Economic Recovery and Digital Economy Integration (BSBR), an additional deliverable was also endorsed. The BSBR aims to pave the road ahead for the region’s digital transformation towards realising the ASEAN Digital Economy agenda.  The meeting also discussed and provided guidance on the policy responses on the emerging issues and cross-cutting recommendations of the Mid Term Review (MTR) report of the AEC Blueprint 2025. Additionally, in line with the development of Post-2025 Vision, the meeting exchanged views on megatrends and emerging challenges, to provide guidance to AEC Sectoral Bodies.  Prior to the 20th AECC Meeting, a virtual interface was held between the AEC Council and the ASEAN Digital Ministers (ADGMIN). Ministers discussed strengthening the synergy and coordination in progressing ASEAN’s Digital Transformation Agenda. The discussion amongst others focused on the coordination on the way forward and implementation of the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap: An ASEAN Digital Transformation Agenda To Accelerate ASEAN’s Economic Recovery And Digital Economy Integration. During the meeting, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Awang Mohammad Yusof, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, shared that over the years, ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) as the predecessor of ADGMIN, has implemented various initiatives under the ASEAN ICT Masterplans of 2015 and 2020 respectively, as the foundation for digital transformation in the region. Yang Berhormat Minister of Transport and Infocommunications also added that ADGMIN is now implementing the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 through the activities and workplan under ASEAN Digital Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADGSOM), which can be further aligned with the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap.  Source: Ministry of Finance and Economy

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“Digital Economy and Financial Inclusion for Improving ASEAN Women’s Competitiveness” 15 October 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 4th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women (4th AMMW) which was held via video conference. The meeting was officiated by His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, and chaired by Her Excellency Madam Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Republic of Indonesia, and was attended by the Secretary General of ASEAN as well as Ministers responsible for women affairs from ASEAN Member States. With the theme of "Digital Economy and Financial Inclusion for Improving ASEAN Women's Competitiveness", the 4th AMMW was held to promote constructive dialogue and regional synergies oriented towards creating an enabling environment for women. The 4th AMMW Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote the equality and empowerment of women and girls in the ASEAN region, and emphasized the important role of women in the development and resilience of the ASEAN community. Towards this end, Ministers agreed on the importance for all ASEAN Member States to review and reconfigure relevant policies and programs to ensure inclusive transformation initiatives, including equality for women in the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. Also emphasized were for efforts that include women in the digital economy through increased access to support and financial information. Yang Berhormat the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, amongst others, shared a few of Brunei Darussalam’s initiatives, such as the provision of fiscal and economic support packages, including business counselling and skills training, to help manage the economic impact of the pandemic on MSMEs which are mostly fronted by women. Virtual social enterprise marketplace platforms such as the “Community for Brunei”, designed to help small businesses digitalise, mobilise and scale in the move towards IR 4.0, was also shared. Yang Berhormat the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports also shared that the Brunei Darussalam Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 was launched in June last year, which will support the objectives of Brunei Darussalam's Vision 2035, and further deepen the strides on women's participation and skills in science, technology, maths, engineering and mathematics fields in the country. Yang Berhormat Dato also shared that Brunei Darussalam will be undertaking a Study on Women’s Development, which will be used to strengthen the Plan of Action on Women under the National Council on Social Issues. The theme of the 4th AMMW “Digital Economy and Financial Inclusion for Improving ASEAN Women’s Competitiveness”, is in line with the theme of Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN 2021 Chairmanship, “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”. towards ensuring that ASEAN remain relevant, and prepared for the future together, and not overlook the implications of digital transformation and the 4th Industrial Revolution.  In this regard, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports also shared several of Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN 2021 Chairmanship deliverables relevant to the theme of the 4th AMMW, such as enhancing financial literacy, as well as the adoption of a resolution by the 42nd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) presided by Brunei Darussalam in August this year, on promoting women’s economic empowerment in the future of work and post-pandemic recovery through digital and financial Inclusion” The 4th AMMW also took note of the progress report by the chair of the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), including the completion of the ACW Work Plan 2016-2020, the ACW Work Plan 2021-2025, the deliberations of the 18th, 19th and 20th ACW Meetings, and other important developments. Yang Berhormat Dato welcomed the inclusion of a strategic initiative under the new ACW Work Plan 2021-2025, to develop the ASEAN Master Plan on Women’s Development, which Brunei Darussalam will be leading on together with Singapore and Viet Nam. During the meeting, the Ministers also held a dialogue with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The Ministers also endorsed the Joint Statement of The Fourth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting On Women and welcomed Myanmar as the chair and host of the 5th AMMW for 2024. Also present were Dayang Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) and senior officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The 4th AMMW was preceded by the 20th ACW Meeting, the 13th ACW Plus Three Meeting, and the 23rd ACW Consultation with the ASEAN Commission on the Protection and Promotion on the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) held on the 11th and 12th October 2021. In addition, series of side events including launching of the ASEAN-UNESCAP Joint Report: Women’s MSME Virtual Exhibitions; webinars and workshops for women entrepreneurs were held from 5th to 15th October 2021, and attended by representatives from several government and non-government agencies in ASEAN including Brunei Darussalam’s Women Business Council (WBC); Brunei Darussalam Women’s Council(MWNBD); ASEAN Business Advisory Council and several local women’s Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME). Source: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports

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11 October 2021 Brunei Darussalam has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement upon depositing its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN on 11 October 2021. Brunei Darussalam’s timely ratification of the RCEP agreement signals our strong commitment to support the region’s post-pandemic recovery efforts, strengthening our economic and trade linkages, creating new opportunities for our businesses as well as support for an open, inclusive, rules-based multilateral trading system.  The RCEP Agreement was signed virtually at the 4th RCEP Summit on 15 November 2020 by ASEAN Member States namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam and ASEAN dialogue partners Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand. Launched in 2012, the 8 years negotiated Agreement establishes a modern, comprehensive, highquality and mutually-beneficial economic partnership between ASEAN and its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners.  Being the world’s largest regional FTA comprising about 30% of global GDP and about a third of the world’s population, Brunei Darussalam is expected to benefit from the RCEP as it will broaden and deepen our economic ties between the members and provide new opportunities for our producers and businesses especially in terms of market access given the level of liberalization for trade in goods, services and investment. Realising that its full potential can only be achieved once the Agreement enters into force, Brunei Darussalam looks forward to its RCEP partners to expedite their respective domestic ratification procedures for the timely entry into force of the Agreement. The RCEP Agreement will enter into force 60 days after six (6) ASEAN Member States and three (3) ASEAN FTA Partners have deposited their instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval with the Secretary General of ASEAN, as the designated Depository for the RCEP Agreement. The RCEP Agreement is targeted to enter in force on 1 January 2022.  Source: Ministry of Finance and Economy

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ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM)


4 October 2021 Opening Remarks by the ASEAN Chair, The Honourable Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, Minister of Foreign Affairs II of Brunei Darussalam during the AMM on 4 October 2021 via videoconference. Visit Media for more video.

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30th ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Meeting


4 October 2021 Opening Remarks by the ASEAN Chair, The Honourable Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, Minister of Foreign Affairs II of Brunei Darussalam during the 30th ACC Meeting on 4 October 2021 via videoconference. Visit Media for more video.

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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