The ministers in charge of culture and social welfare of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on October 25 for the 8th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council Meeting.

Presided over by Cambodia ’s President Hun Sen, the meeting focused on major issues involving culture, environment, education, natural disasters, women and children, public health and social welfare.

The meeting aims to step up cooperation between member countries to enable an ASEAN Community to be formed by 2015.

Every country is expected to work together closely and support each other in the future to ensure peace, stability and prosperity across the region.

According to Hun Sen, the future ASEAN socio-cultural community will draw up plans on key areas such as narrowing development gaps, developing human resources, ensuring social welfare and social justice, creating an ASEAN identity and ensuring the environment is protected sustainably.

Originally founded in 1967, ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA