Conference focusses on strengthening ASSC role

Hakim Hayat

The Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOCA) Retreat was held yesterday via video conference revolving around Brunei Darussalam’s theme for ASEAN2021, ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’. The leaders agreed on strengthening the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community’s (ASCC) role, particularly in inter-pillar and cross-sectoral cooperation while maintaining ASEAN’s centrality.

These will be carried out through ASEAN-led mechanisms in the spirit of a community that engages and benefits its people; and a community that is caring, prepared and prosperous in all its actions.

The ASCC Pillar is one of the three ASEAN community councils; and it was the first meeting among the senior officials of the ASCC this year, together with the ASEAN Secretariat, to deliberate on the priorities and deliverables of the ASCC agenda for 2021.

The meeting also reiterated ASEAN’s commitment in continuing regional collective efforts to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, by implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and following up on the recommendations of the Mid-Term Review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 of enhancing the ASEAN community’s resilience and sustainability.

Among the priority areas also covered were: the fostering of a greater understanding among the peoples of ASEAN and their empowerment, including the strengthening of social protection; youth development; and advancement of the climate change agenda.

Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari led the ministry as Brunei Darussalam’s National Secretariat of the ASCC Pillar in her capacity as Brunei Darussalam’s Leader and meeting’s chairperson.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASCC Kung Phoak and staff of the ASEAN Secretariat, SOCA leaders and delegates of ASEAN member states as well as national representatives of sectoral bodies under the ASCC were also present.

The meeting also discussed SOCA’s preparations for the 25th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council and SOCA meetings, as well as, ASCC-related meetings and events, to be held in March 2021.

Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari leads the meeting as chairperson