Representatives of ASEAN Member-States and the ASEAN Secretary-General gathered for the 27th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting on 30 March 2022.
The ASCC Council is the main body responsible for overseeing and coordinating the activities of the 15 sectoral ministerial bodies that fall under the socio-cultural community.
The ASCC Council meeting was held via a video conference and helmed by Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Cambodia’s Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.
The agenda included ASCC’s priority areas and deliverables under Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairship, the status of documents for presentation to ASEAN Leaders at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits, and other organisational and pending matters.
The ASSC Council noted that ASCC’s priorities this year focus on enhancing ASEAN values, awareness, and identity; promoting human resource development (HRD) and women empowerment; enhancing health, well-being, and social protection for the peoples of ASEAN; and strengthening ASCC’s institutional capacity and effectiveness. The priorities are aligned with the theme “ASEAN Addressing Challenges Together” (ASEAN ACT), Cambodia’s chairship theme this year.
Minister Hang Chuon Naron, in his opening remarks, highlighted concrete activities that Cambodia is supporting in line with the identified priority areas. These include the designation of 2022 as the year of the ASEAN youth; the establishment of a centre for cultural and creative industries; and the development of several declarations that seek to promote the cultural and creative economy, facilitate the digital transformation of the education system throughout ASEAN, and safeguard traditional sports and games.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi threw his support behind these measures. “Engaging youth is crucial as they are key to the future success of our community building and also a catalyst for economic, social, and cultural development. I join His Excellency Minister Hang Chuon Naron in calling on ASEAN to support 2022 as the Year of ASEAN Youth,” said the Secretary-General.
He added, “Another priority deliverable this year is promoting creative economy in ASEAN. The ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework has identified the creative economy as a high potential sector for post-pandemic recovery. I fully support the preparations for the Siem Reap Declaration on Promoting a Creative and Adaptive ASEAN Community to Support the Cultural and Creative Economy and the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries this year.”
The ASSC Council took note of the status of preparations for the 24 outcome documents that will be presented for adoption and notation by ASEAN Leaders at the forthcoming ASEAN Summits. The documents embody the work of the different ASCC sectoral bodies.
Aside from the documents mentioned by Minister Hang Chuon Naron, there are Photo Credit: © ASEAN Secretariat instruments designed to empower women and youth, such as:
- Declaration on More Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Future–Unlocking Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN
- Regional Plan of Action on Promoting Women, Peace, and Security
- Regional Guidelines on Safe School Reopening, Learning Recovery and Continuity
- Roadmap for the Elimination of Bullying of Children in ASEAN
- Work Plan on Youth 2021-2025
- Work Plan on Sports 2021-2025
- ASEAN-FIFA Collaboration Plan 2021-2022
- Joint Statement of ASEAN Sports Ministers on Cementing the Foundation of ASEAN Athletes at the Southeast Asia Games.
Likewise, there are instruments meant to improve the health, social protection, and well-being of ASEAN citizens, such as:
- Declaration on Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030
- Declaration on Portability of Social Security Benefits for Migrant Workers in ASEAN
- Regional Guidelines on Role of Social Workers in the Social Protection Sector
- ASEAN Master Plan on Rural Development.
Climate change and disaster management documents are set to be presented as well, including:
- ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to UNFCCC COP-27
- ASEAN Framework for Anticipatory Action in Disaster Management
- Guidelines for Operationalising the ASEAN Regional Framework on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion in Disaster Management
- 6th ASEAN State of Environment Report.
The ASCC Council also discussed the ASCC Blueprint 2025. The SecretaryGeneral commended the ASCC for harmonising the blueprint with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. He encouraged the ASCC sectoral bodies to reinforce the framework in their work plans, a view echoed by Minister Hang Chuon Naron. “To date, we have come halfway through the ASCC Blueprint 2025 implementation, and most sectoral bodies under ASCC have received endorsement on their respective five-year Work Plan 2021-2025. To materialise the second half of the ASCC Blueprint, it is important that sectoral bodies integrate the strategies of these initiatives into the work plans, with key performance indicators and key result areas,” the Minister noted.
The other matters discussed by the ASSC Council were Timor-Leste’s membership application to ASEAN; developments on setting-up a panel of experts to look into the feasibility of an ASEAN Aid; efforts to strengthen the institutional capacity of ASCC through the ASCC Research and Development Platforms and a possible ASEAN Institute for Policy Studies; and secondment of ASCC officers to the Permanent Missions of ASEAN Member States in Jakarta.
The meeting ended with a Joint Statement of the Twenty-Seventh ASCC Council containing a summary of the discussion and agreements.