Hanoi (VNA) - A kick-off meeting on the development of roadmap to implement the Hanoi Declaration on strengthening social work towards cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community took place in Hanoi on March 25.

The event was hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in its capacity as Chair of the ASEAN Social Work Consortium for 2020 – 2021. The Hanoi Declaration was approved at the 37th ASEAN Summit last year.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Tan Dung said the declaration has important implications for ASEAN member countries, especially in the context that the sector in charge of social work has yet to meet the needs of people, especially vulnerable groups.

He hoped the implementation roadmap to be submitted to the 38th ASEAN Summit will include strategies, actions, and dates for related commitments.

Meeting highlights strengthening social work for cohesive, responsive ASEAN Community hinh anh 1Representatives from ASEAN member countries speaks at the meeting. (Photo: VNA)

Jacel Javier Paguio from the ASEAN Secretariat said the roadmap will be a strategic plan, with each step to be scientifically planned, thus promising to bring about expected results.

Rachel Harvey, a regional adviser on child protection at UNICEF, suggested a specific roadmap for an appropriate and capacity-based training on social work to tackle related training gaps and practical demand.

Participating ASEAN member states jointly set a target that the implementation roadmap will be developed with strategies and actions to conduct the commitments outlined, with a focus on integrating the plans of related agencies such as social welfare and development, health, education, and labour, among others.

After the function, a working group on the roadmap was established.

The Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening Social Work Towards Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community was adopted by ASEAN Leaders at the 37th Summit on November 20 last year.

Under the document, Heads of States or Governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), namely: Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam declared their commitment promote social work and strengthen its catalytic role in realising a people-centred, people-oriented, and inclusive ASEAN Community, that enhances the capacities of the poor, vulnerable groups, achieves inclusion and enhances equitable access of those groups, including but not limited to persons with disabilities, the elderly, youth, women, children and adolescents, migrant workers and victims of violence, trafficking in persons, pandemics and disasters, among others and, in accordance to the prevailing national laws, policies and regulations of ASEAN Member States through: (1) develop and strengthen legislation and policies on social work; (2) develop a strategic plan for the progressive strengthening of social work; (3) adopt, standardise and strengthen accreditation, certification, registration and licensing systems for social workers and para-social workers; (4) enhance interagency coordination at the national level, and cross-sectoral collaboration at the ASEAN level; (5) promote the establishment of national associations or councils of social workers; (6) promote the retention of social workers through the provision of career progression opportunities and professional development; (7) allocate adequate resources to strengthen social work, including workforce development and financing for education, training, research and publications; (8) develop and enhance regional networks of social workers and regional platforms; (9) work towards regional professional recognition of social work, render necessary assistance to narrow social work education gaps among ASEAN Member States; (10) endeavour to develop strategies to enhance positive public perception of social work and social workers; (11) undertake cross-sectoral and inter-pillar cooperation across the ASEAN Community.

They also encouraged relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies in the three ASEAN Community Pillars to promote the implementation of this Declaration, and task the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD), with the support of the Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) and ASEAN Social Work Consortium (ASWC) to develop a Roadmap to implement this Declaration, and review, coordinate, monitor and report the progress of its implementation in partnership with other sectoral bodies and partners./.