Development publication timely, says minister

“The milestone publication of ASEAN Development Outlook (ADO) is timely, especially against the backdrop of the unprecedented year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will add value to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community’s (ASCC) work for inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the association,” said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and ASCC Chair Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin during the virtual launch ceremony of the ADO by the ASEAN Secretariat on Monday.

Secretary General of ASEAN Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China Zhao Yingmin, ASEAN senior officials, ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and lead researchers from University of Cambridge also attended.

Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan welcomed the comprehensive assessment of the current situation, challenges, opportunities, lessons learnt, and best practices which will serve as an excellent source of strategic, yet practical policy recommendations for ASEAN and respective member states.

He also expressed his confidence that the publication will also support the work of ASCC’s sectoral bodies as ASEAN progress towards the realisation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The ADO is a regional publication to chart progress towards sustainable human development in the ASEAN region and to identify key challenges with examples of best practices for the future.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and ASCC Chair Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin delivers his speech during the launch of the ASEAN Development Outlook

The 2021 edition focusses on inclusive and sustainable development in ASEAN across four key thematic areas – The ASEAN Identity, Natural and Built Environment, Livelihoods, and Social Welfare and Health – to help navigate and steer regional cooperation, and chart a vision of the ASEAN Community in coming years.

The ADO publication is expected to be one of the outcome documents for the 38th ASEAN Summit.

It is a product of joint collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the ASEAN Secretariat under the guidance of the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE), with contributions from ASEAN member states, ASEAN Sectoral Bodies across the ASEAN Community pillars and ASEAN’s strategic partners.

The publication is made possible with the support from the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund.

Meanwhile, the 16th Coordinating Conference on the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOC-COM) was also held, attended by Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (SOCA) Leaders.

The conference was co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASCC Kung Phoak and Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam’s SOCA Leader and Chair Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari.

Chairs of Senior Officials for ASEAN Political-Security Council, Senior Officials for ASEAN Economic Community Council and ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives, Chairs of Sectoral Bodies under ASCC and other ASEAN Entities were also present.

Themed ‘Towards Post-COVID Recovery and Resilience in ASEAN’, the conference discussed the findings and recommendations of the report of the Mid-Term Review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 as well as the development of the ASEAN Community Post-2025 Vision which form part of Brunei Darussalam’s priorities as ASEAN Chair for 2021. The conference also deliberated on necessary operational resources to promote post-COVID recovery and resilience in ASEAN. In the afternoon, SOCA leaders also attended the First ASCC Partnership Conference chaired by Kung Phoak via video conference.

Chairs and Vice Chairs of Sectoral Bodies under ASCC; ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives; Chairs of Sectoral Bodies under ASCC; ASEAN’s Partners; UN Agencies; and international organisations participated.

During the conference, in tandem with the 16th SOC-COM discussions on key priorities towards Post-COVID recovery and resilience in ASEAN, participants exchanged views on the way forward following the adoption of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan by ASEAN Leaders last year.