| Achong Tanjong |
THE two-day seventh Asean Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY VII) and the sixth Senior Official Meeting on Youth Plus Three (6th SOMY+3) got underway yesterday at the Centrepoint Hotel and was chaired by Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar.
Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid, as the chairman of SOMY VIII, in his address said, “We see opportunities to progress the youth agenda in Asean, not just towards to 2015 but also beyond 2015.
“We sincerely believe that with the spirit of Asean and your continuous support and collaboration we will have a very good deliberation and a substantive outcome for our meeting”, he said.
He added that Brunei Darussalam attaches great importance to the youth issue. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at the recent ninth National Youth Day 2014 emphasised that the youth, whose numbers make up almost 50 per cent of the population are ‘Agents of Change’ and that they constitute the group with the most potential to shape the nation in any form they choose. His Majesty called upon Brunei youth to understand and to know how to conduct themselves in a manner that safeguards the nation’s dignity.
“With that in mind, we, as the senior officials in the youth sector have to ensure that our young people have the ability to choose their options wisely as well as contribute positively towards regional development in all sectors in Asean.
“As the end of 2014 approaches, it is a good time for us in the youth sector to see how much we have achieved in implementing projects, especially towards achieving the Asean Community 2015 goal.
Currently, there are two new project proposals on drug reduction initiatives for the youth and three external partners who will discuss other projects at a meeting in which each member state looks forward to hearing the proposal on the Youth Development Index.
Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid also encouraged Asean member states to share their thoughts on how they can move forward. More importantly, he hoped they will have good discussions on the key elements of the AMMY Post-2015 Vision and the Asean 5-Year Work Programme on Youth (2016-2020), which will be crucial in shaping the direction taken by the sectoral body in the years to come.
The 6th SOMY+3 included representatives from Japan, South Korea and China.
Once the meetings are over there will be an Asean TAYO Award presentation ceremony to be held at the Royal Berkshire Hall of the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding club.