THE Asean Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council needs to move with greater urgency and resolve in order to meet the 2015 deadline of realising Asean’s vision to be people-centred and socially responsible, to forge a common identity and to build a sharing and caring community.
This was highlighted by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah in his statement at the 12th Asean Socio-Cultural Community Council Meeting held in Bagan, Myanmar, on September 29.
More importantly, ASCC needs to address the pending action lines on the basis of its strategic priorities. It is not just the statistics of how much ASCC have acted upon, so far as the action lines are concerned, but also in terms of their impacts to the peoples of Asean, the minister added.
With regards to post-2015 vision, the minister sees the need for ASCC to give direction on the strategic areas to focus on. In this regard, Brunei recognises that there are key challenges faced by the region that must be given serious attention.
“Firstly, youth issues continue to be important. Youth development is crucial and for Asean, with its young population, the success in developing our youth determines the future of our region. Their education and skill training, in particular, will ensure their employability and competitiveness, which will in turn ensure our youth’s positive contribution to regional and national development,” he added.
Programmes under the ‘Asean Young Professional Volunteer Corps’ continue to receive positive feedback, both from young volunteers as well as those in the recipient communities, he said, before emphasising that volunteerism is one effective way in creating a sense of togetherness, both in time of success and sorrow – that must be promoted in Asean.
Brunei Darussalam is also very pleased to see activities carried out in support of the various outcome documents of the Asean summits. In this regard, the minister shared a number of activities carried out by Brunei.
Firstly, the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for Asean Youth Football Championship has helped foster a sense of solidarity and unity among countries and peoples of the region, and provided leverage to achieve Asean’s Sports for Peace and Development Agenda.
In the area of health, Brunei has launched a National Campaign to Combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in support of the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases in Asean adopted last year. The activities under this campaign include nationwide health screening programmes which can improve early detection and treatment.
The minister also noted that protecting the environment is another area that must be given due attention. He termed the convening of the UN Climate Summit, in galvanising support to address the impact of climate change and in ensuring a dynamic and transformative post-2015 development agenda, as most timely. In this regard, he welcomed the draft Joint Statement on Climate Change to be submitted for adoption by the 25th Asean Summit this November.
The 12th ASCC Council Meeting was chaired by Aye Myint Kyu, Minister of Culture of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The meeting was officiated by Dr Sai Mauk Ham, Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and attended by ASCC ministers and heads of delegations from all 10 Asean member states, as well as the deputy secretary-general of the Asean Secretariat.
After the opening ceremony, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair joined other ASCC ministers and heads of delegations at a courtesy call on Dr Sai Mauk Kham at the Tatmadaw Guest House in Bagan. There, the minister was given the honour to lead the delegation.
Also present at the meeting were Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Col (Rtd) Dato Paduka Haji Abdu’r Rahmani bin Dato Paduka Haji Basir, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar and senior ministerial officials.
This is the second and final ASCC Council meeting chaired by Myanmar before handing over the chairmanship to Malaysia.