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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.
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.
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 attended the Press Conference of the 38 th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits via virtual video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman. The Closing Ceremony began with a titah by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang DiPertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the ASEAN Chair for 2021, in which His Majesty shared that ASEAN’s discussions on advancing ASEAN Community-building and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic under Brunei Darussalam’s Chairmanship theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” were reflected in the Chairman’s Statements and outcome documents. Key outcomes of the Summits outlined initiatives to strengthen the region’s preparedness for future challenges. These included the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD), which aims to create a more coordinated and responsive ASEAN. ASEAN prioritised helping its people by securing vaccines and protecting their well-being through the ASEAN Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy, as the region continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic. His Majesty highlighted that ASEAN Member States, along with partners in ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Summit, are working together to better understand and care for ASEAN people’s mental health in this challenging time. His Majesty also shared that ASEAN is investing sustainable development for the region by embracing the Circular Economy model and cooperation on the Blue Economy. In addition, ASEAN’s external relations have also made progress, with agreements to establish Comprehensive Strategic Partnerships with Australia and China, and with the welcoming of the United Kingdom as a new Dialogue Partner of ASEAN, the first in over 25 years, whereby Brunei Darussalam will be the ASEAN Country Coordinator. ASEAN also celebrated the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-Russia relations, and looked forward to the Special ASEAN-China Summit to celebrate its 30th anniversary in November 2021. His Majesty expressed pleasure in chairing the first annual ASEAN-Australia Summit, as well as the first ASEAN-U.S. Summit for President Joseph Biden Jr. and the first ASEAN-Japan Summit for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. ASEAN has also strengthened its cooperation with India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. During the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit, discussions focused on cooperation to promote economic recovery and public health, as well as addressing longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as mental health issues, and achieving sustainable and green recovery. His Majesty also emphasised that Myanmar remains an integral part of the ASEAN family, and hoped for the return to normalcy in accordance with the will of the people as well as the timely implementation of the Five-Point Consensus. Lastly, His Majesty extended his thanks and appreciation to ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners for their support throughout the year. At the end of the Press Conference, His Majesty also answered few questions from the media.
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 attended the Closing Ceremony of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits; and the Handing Over of the ASEAN Chairmanship to the Kingdom of Cambodia via virtual video conferences from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman. The Closing Ceremony began with a titah by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the ASEAN Chairman for 2021, in which His Majesty noted that Leaders had productive discussions on the current state and future direction of the region as well as considered ways to further enhance relationships with external partners. The year 2021 has been a challenging year as ASEAN continues to address the impacts from COVID-19, especially with the emergence of new variants. Despite this, ASEAN has continued to make advancements through collective efforts under the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”. His Majesty welcomed the adoption of inclusive and cross-pillar strategies to further advance ASEAN’s Community-building efforts embodied in the “ASEAN SHIELD” initiative, by improving institutional coordination to enhance preparedness and response to future emergencies and disasters. ASEAN has also stepped up efforts to respond to and recover from COVID-19, including work to procure vaccines for its people. His Majesty highlighted the cooperation to address mental health and nurture a Care Economy for the protection and welfare of the people of ASEAN, which are important building blocks to realise an ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and beyond. His Majesty also stated that ASEAN has laid foundations to welcome the future with confidence and resilience by adopting the “Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution for ASEAN”. To safeguard the region’s progress and development, ASEAN has invested in the youth as its most precious resource. His Majesty highlighted the establishment of the “ASEAN Junior Fellowship Programme” to build understanding and appreciation of ASEAN among junior officials and ensure that ASEAN remains relevant. His Majesty also expressed pleasure for Brunei Darussalam’s sponsorship of the programme for the next 10 years. His Majesty underlined that ASEAN Community-building will always be a work in progress, and that it is thus vital to remain committed to upholding multilateralism and a strong regional architecture to enable meaningful progress for generations to come. In concluding the titah, His Majesty expressed honour and privilege to serve as ASEAN Chair for 2021 and handed over the Chairmanship of ASEAN to His Excellency Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia. His Majesty then handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to His Excellency Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia through the passing of the ASEAN Chairman’s Gavel as a symbolic handover of the Chairmanship of ASEAN to Cambodia as the upcoming Chairman of ASEAN in 2022. This was followed with remarks from Prime Minister Hun Sen, in which he stated that Cambodia, as ASEAN Chair for 2022, will steer ASEAN to collectively expedite the building process of an equitable, strong and inclusive ASEAN Community in line with the core spirit of ASEAN. His Excellency highlighted that Cambodia’s Chairmanship theme of ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together will see ASEAN working together in achieving harmony, peace and prosperity in the region. At the end of the ceremony, the ASEAN leaders also witnessed a video presentation by the Kingdom of Cambodia as ASEAN Chair in 2022, which emphasized on strengthening ASEAN’s centrality and unity for regional mechanisms and cooperation with external partners; promoted harmonizing recovery efforts to expedite economic growth; and highlighted the need for social protection for all.
28 OCTOBER 2021 1. The 4th ASEAN-Russia Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations was held via videoconference on 28 October 2021. The Summit was chaired by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. 2. We were pleased with the progress made in the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Relations. We recognised the importance of this milestone year as it marks 25 years of ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership and also 30 years of ASEAN-Russia relations. 3. We noted the progress made in the implementation in the previous Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) to Promote Cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Russian Federation (2016-2020), with 99 out of 139 measures/activities successfully addressed. We welcomed the adoption of the new CPA to Implement the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Russian Federation Strategic Partnership (2021-2025), which will guide both sides in further strengthening the ASEANRussia Dialogue Partnership. We also welcomed the adoption of the Joint Statement of the 4th ASEAN-Russia Summit: Building a Peaceful, Stable and Sustainable Region and Statement of ASEAN and the Russian Federation on Cooperation against Illicit Drugs Trafficking. 4. We appreciated Russia’s continued support for ASEAN Centrality and unity, and its active participation in various ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), on various aspects of security cooperation such as addressing traditional and non-traditional threats and challenges, that contribute to regional peace, security and stability. 5. We encouraged the conduct of joint ADMM-Plus exercises amongst our militaries to build trust and confidence and to enhance our capability in addressing common security challenges. 6. We welcomed the convening of the ASEAN-Russia Consultations of the High Representatives for Security Issues on 28 June 2021, as well as the convening of the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue on ICT Security-related Issues on 23 September 2021. 7. We reaffirmed the shared commitment to finalise the ASEAN-Russia Work Plan on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) 2021-2024 with a view to deepening cooperation in addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges. 8. We reaffirmed our support for a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, inclusive, transparent, and rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We underscored our support for WTO reform with the aim of making the WTO more resilient and effective in addressing global economic challenges and its commitment to promote predictability and stability for international trade. 9. We valued Russia’s contribution in the sphere of women economic empowerment and advancement, particularly those aimed at developing professional and business networking towards promoting the role of women in economic activities. We appreciated the priority attention dedicated by Russia in concluding the project study on “Russia and ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network” which informs ASEAN on the barriers and Russia with a series of three (3) webinars conducted on 29 July, 5 August and 11 August 2021 for exchange of best practices and experiences in the entrepreneurial competencies of women. 10. We looked forward to strengthening ASEAN-Russia economic cooperation on the basis of the ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Roadmap. In this regard, we welcomed the endorsement of the revised ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Roadmap and the ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Work Programme for 2021-2025, plans that envision development cooperation between ASEAN and Russia in three key dimensions: trade and investment, digital economy and sustainable development. We are confident that the implementation of the revised Roadmap and the Work Programme 2021-2025 will provide a solid and vital foundation for the growth of trade and investment between ASEAN and Russia in a post-COVID-19 future. 11. We appreciated Russia’s engagement with the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) and welcomed the project of Innovations for Smart and Sustainable Cities in ASEAN and Russia, which would further enhance ASEAN-Russia cooperation on smart cities initiative. 12. We welcomed further development of mutually beneficial cooperation mechanisms between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) through the implementation of the Programme of Cooperation (PoC) under the Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on Economic Cooperation. To this end, we welcomed the extension of the Cooperation Programme between ASEAN the EEC until 2025. We looked forward to further cooperation and collaboration between ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), as well as the EAEU in economic and financial cooperation. 13. We appreciated Russia’s efforts to enhance regional vaccine access, supplies of “Sputnik V” and launch of its production in interested ASEAN Member States and looked forward to further cooperation on regional public health, and in enhancing regional preparedness and capacity through sharing information technology and capacity building initiatives in the prevention, detection and response to communicable and emerging infectious diseases including regional public health emergencies and future pandemics. We also highlighted the need to enhance cooperation in pandemic preparedness and response, including through scientific research for the development of test kits and vaccines, ensure equitable, timely and affordable access to vaccines either through multilateral mechanisms as well as through bilateral frameworks. We noted the ongoing consultations in the EAS on the initiative of Russia to establish a regional mechanism on emerging infectious diseases prevention and control cooperation between relevant agencies of the EAS participating countries. 14. We reiterated the importance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which is based on the principles of, among others, strengthening ASEAN Centrality, openness, transparency, inclusivity, a rules-based framework, good governance, respect for sovereignty, non-intervention, complementarity with existing cooperation frameworks, equality, mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefit, and respect for international law, and serves as a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the wider Asia-Pacific and Indian Oceans regions. ASEAN Member States encouraged Russia to work with ASEAN on practical cooperation in the priority areas identified in the AOIP to enhance mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit through ASEAN-led mechanisms. 15. We acknowledged the need to embrace and utilise new technologies to overcome challenges and build a more resilient society, and encouraged the strengthening of collaboration through the exchange of expertise and best practices in innovation, science and technology to make people future-ready. In this regard, we welcomed the proposal to designate 2022 as the ASEANRussia Year of Scientific and Technological Cooperation, and looked forward to finalise the proposed activities between ASEAN and Russia. We also noted Russia’s invitation to ASEAN to participate as a major partner in the International Industrial Trade Fair INNOPROM to be held in Ekaterinburg in 2022. 16. We recognised the continued importance of promoting people-to-people contacts, including through organising the meetings of the Network of ASEANRussia Think Tanks (NARTT) and ASEAN-Russia Youth Summits. 17. We took note of the ongoing consultation for the adoption of the ASEAN-Russia Plan of Education 2021-2025 and emphasised the importance of continued synergy and complementarity of this work plan to the ASEAN Workplan on Education 2021-2025 and the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the East Asia Summit Development Initiative (2018-2022). 18. We welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ASEAN and the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Field of Disaster Management on 19 February 2021 to promote and develop engagement in the area of disaster management and looked forward to its practical implementation. We emphasised the importance of enhancing ASEAN's capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from future emergencies and disasters and in this regard, we encouraged for both ASEAN and Russia to share best practices and lessons learned, to improve the coordination of existing ASEAN processes and mechanisms, with a view to facilitate the implementation of the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD). 19. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, prosperity, safety, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, and pursuing peaceful resolution of disputes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. We noted the positive progress in the ongoing negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) and encouraged further progress towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. We emphasised the need to promote an environment conducive to the COC negotiations and thus, welcomed practical measures that could reduce tensions and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings, and miscalculation. We stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties, and reaffirmed the importance of upholding international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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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