08 February 2021
Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOCA) Retreat discusses Priorities and Deliverables for Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2021

The Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOCA) Retreat was held on 8 February 2021 via video conference. The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Pillar is one of the three ASEAN Community Councils, and this is the first meeting among the Senior Officials of the ASCC this year, together with the ASEAN Secretariat, deliberating on the priorities and deliverables of the ASCC agenda for year 2021.

Under Brunei Darussalam’s theme for ASEAN2021, “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, SOCA Leaders agreed to focus on strengthening ASCC’s role, particularly through inter-pillar and cross-sectoral cooperation whilst 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 meeting also reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to continue regional collective efforts to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, by implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and following up to the recommendations of the Mid-Term Review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025, to enhance the ASEAN Community’s resilience and sustainability. Among the priority areas also discussed were fostering greater understanding among the peoples of ASEAN and their empowerment including through the strengthening of social protection; youth development; and advancing the climate change agenda.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports as Brunei Darussalam’s National Secretariat of the ASCC Pillar, led by Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari, Permanent Secretary (Community and Culture), in her capacity as Brunei Darussalam’s SOCA Leader, chaired the meeting. In attendance were the SOCA Leaders and delegates of ASEAN Members States and His Excellency Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASCC and staff of the ASEAN Secretariat. National representatives of sectoral bodies under the ASCC were also present during the meeting.

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