Officials at the ASCC meeting pose for photo (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – The 16th session of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC) was closed in Vientiane on August 31, with the issuance of a joint ministerial statement.

Following is the full text of the joint ministerial statement of the 16th ASCC meeting.

1. We, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC) Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam met on August 31, 2016 in Vientiane, for the 16th ASCC Council Meeting, under the chairmanship of Lao PDR.

2. Inspired by this year’s theme of Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community, we have extended strong support to the chairmanship of Lao PDR, together with the various sectoral ministerial bodies under ASCC, in order to realise the priorities of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community for 2016.

3. Consistent with the ASCC Vision 2025 and in pursuit of the 2016 priorities, we have endorsed key declarations and statements for adoption by the Leaders at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits. These outcome documents aim to concretise and deliver results arising from the collective commitment of ASEAN Member States in various priority areas:

a. Vientiane Declaration on Reinforcing Cultural Heritage Cooperation in ASEAN;
b. ASEAN Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS: Fast-Tracking and Sustaining HIV and AIDS Responses to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030;
c. ASEAN Joint Statement to the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13);
d. ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22)

4. We have also endorsed for notation by the ASEAN Leaders the following documents:

a. The Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Culture and Arts to promote ASEAN’s identity towards a dynamic and harmonious ASEAN community;
b. The Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation, a very important milestone in addressing the problem of transboundary haze affecting the region.

5. We have also endorsed for the signing by the ASEAN Leaders the Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region.

6. We were pleased to note that the ASEAN Food Safety Regulatory Framework has been jointly endorsed by the Ministers of Health, Agriculture and Trade.

7. We discussed the progress of development of the work plans of the various sectoral ministerial bodies of ASCC and exchanged views on ways forward to monitor and report their progress, including the implementation of adopted declarations.

8. We were pleased to note the conclusion of the Study on the Implications of Timor Leste’s Accession to ASEAN and its Implications on ASCC and its submission to the ACCWG for further consideration.

9. We expressed our sincere gratitude for the tireless efforts of the Senior Officials Committee for the ASCC (SOCA) and the ASEAN Secretariat in ensuring effective coordination of the priorities of the ASCC for 2016.

10. Lastly, we conveyed our deepest appreciation and congratulations to Lao PDR for the effective chairmanship and excellent arrangements for the 16th ASCC Council Meeting.-VNA