Hanoi (VNA) – The 17th Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) took place in Hanoi on October 20, gathering representatives from ten ASEAN nations and the ASEAN Secretariat.

It was the ACWC’s second meeting in the year, following the 16th meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia in March. It was held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the ASEAN Secretariat as part of the third ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women (AMMW) and related meetings in Hanoi from October 18 – 25.

The meeting discussed the follow-up from the 16th meeting and reviewed the implementation of projects of the ACWC Work Plan 2016 – 2020.

A number of important projects have been completed, such as the ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Singapore in August, the 2018 ASEAN Conference on Juvenile Justice Reform in Thailand in May, and the release of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use and the Regional Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of Victims of Trafficking in Persons.

The meeting also updated the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (RPA-EVAW), including the outcomes of the Senor Officials Conference on Gender Mainstreaming in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Sectoral Bodies; and the results of the 5th ASEAN Children’s Forum in Brunei in August.

It also recorded the results of the Regional Workshop on Strengthening Legal Frameworks to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism held by ACWC and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in Bali, Indonesia from July 26 – 27, particularly the drafting of the ASEAN Declaration on protecting children from all forms of online sexual exploitation and abuse and the Regional Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children which will be submitted for review at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore this November.

At the session to update the status of ongoing projects under the ACWC Work Plan 2016 – 2020, Vietnam presented information about the project to promote inclusive and sustainable growth in building ASEAN Community through recognition of legal status for all women and girls led by ACWC Vietnam.

During the event, an open meeting with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) discussed the progress of the implementation of joint projects between ASEAN and UN Women and key areas of cooperation in 2019.

The 17th meeting agreed to develop a results framework for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and a results framework and the monitoring and evaluation system of the ACWC Work Plan 2016 – 2020.

The 18th ACWC Meeting is scheduled to convene in Jakarta, Indonesia in the first quarter of next year.

The ACWC was launched on April 7, 2010 in Hanoi on the occasion of 16th ASEAN Summit. It comprises 20 representatives of ASEAN member states for women’s and children’s rights.

ACWC’s mandates and functions include the development of policies, programmes, and innovative strategies to promote and protect the rights of women and children to complement the building of the ASEAN Community. It has organised different regional workshops, seminars, training sessions and consultative meetings that provided platforms for government officials, civil society organisations, professionals and other stakeholders to exchange views, share experience and build commitments and a common understanding on various gender issues.–VNA