ASCC Council Ministers meets virtually at the Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (26th ASCC)

Bandar Seri Begawan, 29 September 2021

The 26th 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, Chair of ASCC Council 2021, and attended by ASCC Council Ministers or their representatives, His Excellency Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN and their respective delegations.

Yang Berhormat Dato, together with the ASCC Council Ministers, commended the inclusive and holistic actions by the ASCC Sectoral Bodies to address the gaps and challenges affecting the region, in areas such as public health, social protection, fake news and misinformation, environmental degradation and the climate crisis, amongst others. The Ministers also stated that the recommendations in the Mid-Term Review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 had helped advance ASEAN community building efforts through incorporating and aligning the Blueprint’s implementation into the respective post-2020 ASCC Sectoral Work Plans and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan (ACRF).

Yang Berhormat Dato, in his opening remarks, highlighted that with the spirit of togetherness,  ASEAN continued to rise to challenges towards achieving sustainability and resilience among the peoples and at the same time, preparing the region for the future. Thus, this supports the fundamental objectives behind Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, emphasizing ASEAN’s relevancy to its peoples, where no one is left behind. 

A number of significant progress and efforts have been made by the ASCC pillar throughout this year, particularly in response to the post-pandemic COVID-19 efforts, as shared by Yang Berhormat Dato. Yang Berhormat Dato further added that the Whole-of-ASEAN Approach in realising ASEAN commitments to strengthen ASEAN coordinated responses, can be seen through ASCC’s multidimensional approach in addressing gaps and challenges, thus ensuring the wellbeing and livelihood of the peoples of ASEAN are being taken care.

With the Meeting endorsing the Strategic Policy Framework on Promoting an Adaptive ASEAN Community of Greater Understanding, Tolerance and a sense of Regional Agendas Among the Peoples of ASEAN, as one of the outcomes documents to be submitted to the 38th ASEAN Summit, Yang Berhormat Dato emphasized that harnessing the caring nature of ASEAN would give greater meaning, especially in the post-pandemic efforts. The Ministers underscored that the document will lend greater coherence in the ASCC’s efforts and encouraged relevant ASCC Sectoral Bodies to identify the nexus which includes promoting cultural and creative peacebuilding through inter-sectoral lenses of youth, education, health, information, and media. 

Recognizing the importance of preparing for the future, the Meeting reaffirmed support and commitment on the elevation of the role of youth in realising sustainable development, ensuring that they are prepared and future-ready in responding to the complex global challenges, through initiatives amongst others, the ASEAN Youth Academy Programme, ASEAN Youth on Climate Change and ASEAN Walk 2022. The Meeting also congratulated Brunei Darussalam for convening the First Innovation Platform Dialogue with the theme of Youth Employment and Digitalisation in ASCC Perspectives on 27 September 2021, as a platform for relevant ASEAN stakeholders to discuss issues of interest and concerns in ASEAN and globally and be able to provide recommendations, through sharing of knowledge, best practices and lessons learned. 

The ASCC Council Ministers also recognized the importance of care work during the pandemic and the need to identify new ways to balance new social and economic dynamics with family responsibilities. Thus, the Meeting supported the development and finalisation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy as a timely initiative that will steer the region and guide policy makers in addressing the growing challenges of sustaining investment in care and for the whole spectrum of care work to become an indispensable part of ASEAN inclusive socio-economic growth.

The Meeting looked forward to the endorsement of the ASCC outcome documents, together with the outcome documents endorsed at the 25th ASCC Council Meeting, for consideration of ASEAN Leaders:

The Meeting also endorsed the Joint Statement of The Twenty-Sixth ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council and welcomed Cambodia as the incoming Chair of ASCC for the year 2022. 

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN on 7 January 1984