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Brunei officials on study visit to Commonwealth Secretariat

19 April 2012
Commonwealth capacity-building knowledge and experience can be tapped by the South-East Asian country

"Brunei Darussalam and the Commonwealth can strengthen its partnership in capacity-building for governments by developing joint training programmes,” said Pengiran Anak Mansurah Izzul Bolkiah, following a study visit to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, UK.

Pengiran Anak Izzul, a Research Officer at Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT), has been at the Secretariat from 10to 20 April 2012 together with colleague, Jihan Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahman, also from MOFAT’s Department of International Organisations, to gain a better understanding of the operations of an international organisation.

“We wanted to learn more about the Commonwealth and its work, and how it can benefit Brunei Darussalam, and vice-versa,” said Pengiran Anak Izzul. “Being a small country, Brunei lacks human resources and expertise which the Commonwealth can provide through its network of knowledge and experience. On the other hand, Brunei has training centres which the Commonwealth can use for regional workshops. So, we’re looking at ways to strengthen our win-win partnership in order to invigorate our ties with the Commonwealth.”

Jihan Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahman added that their stint at the Secretariat has been an eye-opener.

“We now have a better understanding of operational issues and the strategic thinking behind development work and technical assistance for Commonwealth member countries from our interactions with Secretariat staff. This gives us a better idea on how to tap resources available to Brunei and get more out of our membership of the Commonwealth in terms of what we can learn and what we can share from Brunei’s development experience,” said Ms Jihan.

Both officials met with the heads and staff of various divisions in the Secretariat and were briefed on the programmes and activities in enhancing good governance, democracy, human rights, information and communication technology, economic development, advisory services, social transformation, legal and constitutional affairs, and youth development.

“It offered us an opportunity to meet staff overseeing different areas of development work in the Commonwealth, which is good in helping to build working relationships that would otherwise have been done over the phone. People-to-people contacts are important in our line of work in foreign affairs and diplomacy, and now we can put a face to a name when we communicate,” stated Pengiran Anak Izzul.

Brunei Darussalam is among the top ten contributors to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), the development arm of the 54-member association, aimed at promoting capacity-building among developing member countries.