Call to fight virus impact with technology

The Culture and the Arts Sector, including the creative industries, has not been spared from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted ASEAN to adapt to the situation and adopt new norms, leveraging on technology with a strong determination to be more cohesive in its responses.

This was highlighted by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin at the 9th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) via video conference yesterday.

Chaired by Minister of Culture and Fine Arts of the Kingdom of Cambodia Dr Phoeurng Sackona, the meeting was attended by ministers responsible for Culture and the Arts from ASEAN and Dialogue Partners China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, as well as the ASEAN Secretary General.

The meeting, with the theme Impact of COVID-19 and Way Forward for the Culture and Arts Sector, agreed on the importance of continuing ASEAN’s efforts in combatting the effects of COVID-19, particularly towards cultural practices, cultural industries and creative industries.

The AMCA Ministers agreed to continue to work together in the culture and the arts sectors.

The ability of the creative sector in adapting to the new norms of virtual service delivery was also highlighted, in which new technology was optimised to ensure business continuity through e-library and e-exhibition platforms; the rise in e-commerce, e-performances and online trainings; digital entrepreneurs; and new media.

A screen capture of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin at the virtual meeting. PHOTO: MCYS

Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan shared the way forward for ASEAN in the Culture and the Arts Sector, namely leveraging on technology to bridge ASEAN people, artists, artisans and cultural practitioners. Technology should be used to foster relationships towards a stronger ASEAN Community. AMCA should also nurture innovation and creativity through virtual means, and increase the diversity of multi-media content, to promote traditional and contemporary ASEAN artistic expressions.

In addition, engaging discussions through online consultation between policy makers, professionals, practitioners and institutions to strengthen cultural heritage management; and tapping the benefits of e-commerce to spur the development of Creative Industries. With the rise of young content creators, Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan highlighted the importance of greater synergy between relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies and strategic partners to develop the digital capabilities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the creative sector.

The ministers issued a joint statement which stated the AMCA Ministers’ support and commitment to promote and mainstream the Narrative of ASEAN Identity in the anticipation of its adoption by the ASEAN Leaders in the 37th ASEAN Summit.

The ministers also reiterated that the ASEAN Identity would be strengthened by drawing on ASEAN’s mutual inherited and constructed values.

They welcomed the progress of the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Culture and Arts (2016-2025), noted the development of the Key Performance Indicators for Culture and the Arts Sector, and looked forward to the operationalisation of the KPI which is approaching its mid-term implementation.

In their meeting with dialogue partners China, Japan and Republic of Korea, the ministers expressed their appreciation on the implementation of the Plans of Action and stressed the importance of the cooperation in the areas of cultural exchange, cultural heritage management and human resource development.

The ministers were of the view that the establishment of the ASEAN Plus Three Culture Cities Network laid solid foundations for the long-term partnership between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries for advancing and expanding city-level exchanges.

The meeting also witnessed the launching of Siem Reap in the Kingdom of Cambodia, as the ASEAN City of Culture for 2020-2022.

The 9th AMCA and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners was preceded by the 16th Senior Officials Meetings Responsible for Culture and Arts and related meetings with dialogue partners.