31 March 2021
ASCC Ministers fully support Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council priorities and deliverables for ASEAN 2021 Chairmanship Year

Bandar Seri Begawan, 31 March 2021 - The 25th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting was held today via video conference. The meeting was chaired by Yang Berhormat Major General (rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports as the Chair of ASCC Council, and attended by ASCC Ministers or their representatives, His Excellency Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN as well as their respective delegations.

During the meeting, Yang Berhormat Dato urged ASCC should keep building on its coordinated responses as it moves out of the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, while keeping in step with community-building efforts. Thus, said the Minister, Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN2021 Chairmanship theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, underscored ASEAN’s collective pursuit to improve the well-being and livelihood of its people, alongside ensuring that the whole of ASEAN Community and its partners can sustainably prosper together. This will show how relevant the association is to the people.

Yang Berhormat Dato also outlined the need to re-imagine, and re-engineer, how ASEAN, and its institution work, at the most fundamental level by renewing past commitments, strengthening cross-sectoral and cross-pillar coordination, in parallel with COVID-19 recovery and post-2025 vision efforts; while strengthening ASEAN’s centrality through ASEAN-led mechanisms. This will ensure ASCC to be future-ready and forward-looking.

In support of Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council ASCC2021 priorities and deliverables, amongst others, the Meeting agreed on the following:

(i) The submission of the draft Regional Policy Framework of Fostering Greater Understanding, Tolerance and a Sense of Regional Agendas among the Peoples of ASEAN, for adoption, at the 38th ASEAN Summit. To realise this, a High-Level Cultural Forum on Promoting an Adaptive Community of Greater Understanding and Tolerance will be held this year. This is part of ASEAN efforts to build on its preventive work.

(ii) The prioritization of a transformative Social Protection is emphasised, to realise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and as lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to align with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. In this regard, Brunei Darussalam together with the ASEAN Secretariat, are working on introducing a Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy which would allow ASEAN to have policies to enhance readiness and responsiveness of social protection measures. This will also look into harnessing economic opportunities that may arise from the need to enhance care for our people.

(iii) The ASCC Council’s role should be expanded to look into ASCC-related cooperation with Dialogue Partners. In this regard, the Meeting agreed to establish an Innovation Platform Dialogue within ASCC. The Meeting also encouraged ASCC Sectoral Bodies to look into possible expansion of platforms with Dialogue Partners;

(iv) The Meeting underscored the importance of youth development and commended the spirit of volunteerism amongst the ASEAN youths and welcomed youth’s passion in giving back to the society through implementation of youth-led projects. The Meeting also looked forward to the establishment of the ASEAN Aid which is expected to imbue ASEAN citizens with a sense of regional agendas and greater awareness as well as expanding public’s mindshare on ASEAN developments. The Meeting also noted that the Financial Rules for the ASEAN Disaster Management and Emergency Relief (ADMER) Fund will be revised to allow the public to contribute to the ADMER Fund.

The 25th ASCC Meeting commended the other areas of focus, including Health and Development, Environment and Climate Change, Social Welfare, Education, Youth and Sports, Culture and Information, Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, Human Resources Development, as well as the follow-up to the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the ASCC Blueprint 2025.

The Meeting agreed to forge ahead to better organise regional efforts and guide ASEAN as it progresses with its Community building efforts, in tandem with the ASEAN Political-Security Community Pillar and ASEAN Economic Community Pillar. The Meeting supported Brunei Darussalam’s proposal to establish a Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD) and welcomed the proposed establishment of a Roadmap and Terms of Reference for the High-Task Force (HLTF) for the ASEAN Community’s Post 2025 Vision, as mandated by the Hanoi Declaration on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision.