Conference discusses ASEAN’s collective efforts in COVID-19 fight

Azlan Othman

The 15th Coordinating Conference on the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) convened last Thursday with the participation of over 100 delegates from the Senior Officials’ Committee for the ASCC, representatives of ASCC sectoral bodies, the Committee of Permanent Representatives, as well as ASEAN regional entities.

ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for ASCC Kung Phoak and Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam Dr Ha Thi Minh Duc co-chaired the virtual conference.

The Chairs of Senior Economic Ministers’ Meeting (SEOM), ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Right (AICHR) were also present at the conference.

In his opening remarks, Phoak said with a wide spectrum of participants representing the three pillars and entities associated with ASEAN, the conference provides regional knowledge and wisdom to ensure that ASEAN is relevant and beneficial to all.

“Even during this trying time with the ongoing and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN has remained on its course to deliver people-oriented and people-centred initiatives,” said Phoak.

Meanwhile, Dr Duc highlighted that 2020 is a pivotal year for ASEAN. This year, all sectoral bodies and three ASEAN pillars are conducting a mid-term review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 implementation, a review on the sectoral work plan 2016-2020 and developing the work plan for the next five-year period.

The participants were briefed on the mid-term review’s state of play and the ASCC sectoral bodies work plans’ status of implementation as well as emerging priorities for the next five years.

ASEAN’s collective efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic were also discussed at the conference.

The conference commended the active joint efforts undertaken by the ASEAN SOM on Health Development and other sectoral bodies and entities to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and possible development of post-pandemic recovery plan.

“As ASEAN is subject to enormous and unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting all aspects of life, Vietnam, as the Chair of ASEAN 2020, hopes that all sectoral bodies, through the coordination of their Chair and Vice Chair, will continue to make efforts to promote cooperation, cohesion and proactive activities to complete the goals and priorities in this year,” concluded Dr Duc.