|The Senior Officials’ Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community holds an online meeting on June 22 (Photo: VNA)
The meeting was attended by heads of member countries’ SOCA delegations, the ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General in charge of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Addressing the gathering, Director of MoLISA’s Department of International Cooperation and head of the Vietnamese SOCA delegation Nguyen Manh Cuong said 2020 is an important year for the bloc as all of its specialised bodies have been reviewing activities implemented in the current period and preparing to build work plans for the next phase so as to achieve the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
This is also a special year for social and cultural activities as all member states have been hit by COVID-19, he said, noting that the pandemic has affected not only people’s health but also their livelihoods, especially vulnerable groups.
As ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam has been coordinating closely with the ASEAN Secretariat and other member countries to actively and proactively carry out activities and initiatives in response to the pandemic’s complex developments, matching the adopted theme of “Cohesive and Responsive”, Cuong noted.
Participants discussed priority activities and fields for 2020. They agreed to push ahead with effectively carrying out specialised work plans and reviewing the implementation of those plans over the last five years, to assist the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 at the national and regional levels.
The review report is to be submitted to the 37th ASEAN Summit, slated for November.
The officials also highlighted the need to speed up discussions with Timor-Leste on relevant specialised issues so as to learn more about the country’s readiness and capacity to meet ASEAN’s expectations.
The Vietnamese delegation also gave participants an insight into its priorities during the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, including in terms of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, to help secure the support and consensus of member nations.
Accordingly, Vietnam is set to promote discussions on the priority areas of labour and human resources development, social welfare and development, healthcare, communications and information, ASEAN culture, youth, the environment and climate change, and the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.
During the session, the ASEAN Secretariat provided a summary of activities being carried out or planned for the Community that are in line with regional leaders’ decisions and statements on a collective response to the pandemic.
Participants also agreed to submit two documents to the 23rd meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council, so that the council will later propose them to ASEAN summits for approval: an ASEAN statement on human resources development in a changing world of work, and the reference provisions of the ASEAN Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
The Socio-Cultural Community is one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, together with the Political-Security Community and the Economic Community.