DATO SERI PADUKA AWANG HAJI ERYWAN BIN PEHIN DATU PEKERMA JAYA HAJI MOHD YUSOF, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, said that, after a year of no local transmissions, his country is facing a new COVID-19 wave. To control the spread, the Government has swiftly implemented several measures, including restricting movements and international travel, as well as ramping up vaccinations. Three quarters of the more than 3.5 billion doses distributed worldwide go to 10 countries; low-income nations are only able to vaccinate less than 2 per cent of their populations. Member States must work with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that the COVAX mechanism is able to provide equitable, accessible and affordable vaccines for all.
He warned that a large mental health problem is emerging because of repeated lockdowns and quarantines, which, if left unaddressed, will affect the new generation’s workforce, slowing economic and development progress. Together with Australia and Malaysia, his Government is working towards a declaration on mental health cooperation to be adopted at the upcoming East Asia Summit in October to strengthen regional efforts to address mental health concerns. “At the crux of it all, the people’s health and well-being are fundamental to build back better and stronger towards a resilient global community,” he said, adding: “We must ensure that our recovery efforts prioritize the recovery of our economies by ramping up trade and investments so that livelihoods and employment can recover quickly”.
He called on the international community to champion free and open trade and investment, encourage greater technology transfer and strengthen global development. Aiming for the establishment of more green initiatives, he underlined the importance of a “meaningful outcome” of COP26 in Glasgow that would set the future tone and direction. The Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) has already set out a framework for the circular economy to reduce waste of finite resources while reducing pressure on the environment, he stressed.
The situation in a fellow ASEAN member State poses a risk to regional stability, he said. He welcomed ASEAN leaders’ early agreement on a “five-point consensus” to ensure a peaceful return to democracy in that country, in line with the will and interest of its people. The consensus calls for an immediate cessation of violence, a dialogue among all parties and humanitarian assistance. In that regard, he thanked external partners, including the United Nations, for their assistance, as well as for the generous humanitarian contributions pledged in September. Turning to the situation in Palestine, he said continued forced evictions, destruction of homes and settlement expansion by the occupying Power has denied Palestinians their basic human rights and right to self-determination. The Security Council must work towards a comprehensive, lasting peace, based on a two-State solution, he said, also calling on the international community to remain resolutely committed to creation of an independent State of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
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