His Majesty departs Sri Lanka

National 3 minutes, 20 seconds


HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam left Sri Lanka yesterday after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held over the last week, where outcomes in a range of areas have been adopted, including youth, trade, and climate matters.

The heads of government also adopted the Colombo Declaration on sustainable, inclusive and equitable development in their final communique.

The Colombo Declaration stated that they recognised that accelerating growth has become central to policy efforts globally, but rising inequality at the international and national levels have implications for poverty reduction and future growth potential of member states.

“Countries grappling with natural and man-made disasters and other pressing global challenges are the worst affected. This situation has led to the economic marginalisation of societies, within and among countries,” they said.

It added that achieving growth with equity and inclusivity must be one of the main policy priorities for the Commonwealth, in keeping with its Charter adopted in December 2012.

In the area of youth, the Commonwealth heads of government, in their final communique, adopted the “Young People at the Centre of Sustainable and Inclusive Development - Magampura Commitment to Young People”.

In the declaration, the heads of government “recognise the vital role that young people can and must play at the centre of sustainable and inclusive development”.

They stated that investment in young people is the “foundation for a prosperous and equitable tomorrow”.

“We commit unequivocally to investing in young people and placing them at the centre of sustainable and inclusive development, thus harnessing their creativity, leadership and social capital towards the progress and resilience of Commonwealth countries, and a more democratic and prosperous Commonwealth,” they said.

They also welcomed the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), established during the CHOGM 2013 Youth Forum.

“We recognise the CYC’s autonomous, youth-led status, and the value of its role as a recognised representative body within and beyond the Commonwealth,” the statement read. The Magampura Commitment to Young People also highlighted the importance of access to technology; health and employment issues. The Commonwealth heads of government have also issued the Kotte Statement on International Trade and Investment. “We note that the Commonwealth accounts for one-fifth of global trade and is home to a population of over two billion, the majority of whom live in developing and least developed member states.”

The statement added that widespread unemployment and economic hardship has created growing social unrest in many parts of the world.

In their final communique, the leaders recognised that climate change continues to be a major challenge for all countries, particularly for climate vulnerable developing countries, posing a grave threat to some countries.

They highlighted that at the international level, this challenge should be addressed on the basis of the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in accordance with equity and common law but with differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

In the Kotte statement, they reiterated “commitment to a rules-based transparent free and fair multilateral trading system that enhances our trade liberalisation and developmental objectives, while taking into account the special requirements of small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries”.

They also underlined the urgency of securing a successful and balanced outcome at the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in December 2013, to provide renewed confidence in the multilateral trading system and the much needed impetus for post-Bali negotiations to conclude the Doha Round in the near future.

Accompanying His Majesty during his departure were His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel, and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah.

Before leaving the Hilton Colombo Hotel, the doa selamat was recited by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned.

Present at the Bandaranaike International Airport to bid farewell to His Majesty were Gitanjana Gunawardena, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation, Brunei High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Dato Paduka Hj Sidek Ali, who resides in India and other Sri Lankan officials.

The Brunei Times