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Bandar Seri Begawan, Wednesday, 27th 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 evening chaired the 16th East Asia Summit, held virtually via video conference from Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.

At the 16th East Asia Summit (E.A.S.), His Majesty in a titah highlighted that the collective actions of the E.A.S. can bring a significant impact to the entire world.

The COVID-19 pandemic, said His Majesty, has brought countries to work together and more closely with multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization and World Trade Organization who can support the E.A.S.’ efforts in addressing the ongoing public health emergency, as well as how to revitalise our economies.

To this end, His Majesty underscored that vaccination is key to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, and called for E.A.S. cooperation to ensure that vaccines are affordable and accessible across the region, given that several E.A.S. participating countries are among the top COVID-19 vaccine producers and together account for more than 70 per cent of global vaccine production.

His Majesty also highlighted the need to focus on the human consequences of the pandemic, especially the well-being of the people.

To this end, His Majesty looked forward to drawing from the vast expertise of E.A.S. participating countries to promote better understanding of mental health and improve its services in the region, which are essential to assuring our people that their overall well-being is important and will continue to be safeguarded. His Majesty also expressed his appreciation for the support to the E.A.S. Leaders’ Statement on Mental Health Cooperation.

In concluding the titah, His Majesty also expressed pleasure that the other E.A.S. Statements on Economic Growth Through Tourism Recovery; and Sustainable Recovery will complement the shared vision to promote a more holistic and comprehensive response to the pandemic, one that enables swift economic progress while ensuring sustainable and inclusive development.

At the Summit, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) also briefed on addressing key actions in moving towards pandemic responses and recovery. In addition, the Secretary-General of ASEAN also reported on the progress of EAS cooperation, in which EAS was encouraged to establish regional mechanisms in addressing global health issues and focus on building greater economic resilience.

Meanwhile, Leaders emphasized the EAS’ important role to leverage on synergies to manage common challenges in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia. In moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, EAS Leaders highlighted the promotion of inclusivity in economic growth and recovery of the region by strengthening cooperation in public health, mental health, cybersecurity, circular economy, climate change and tourism.

At the end of the Summit, East Asia leaders adopted the East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Mental Health Cooperation; the East Asia Leaders’ Statement on Economic Growth Through Tourism Recovery; and the East Asia Leaders’ Statement on Sustainable Recovery.

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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