Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) has proven its special position in the building of the ASEAN Community, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung wrote in an article on the occasion of the 51st founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

As one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, the ASCC aims to enhance the quality of life of its people through cooperation activities that are people-oriented, people-centred, and geared toward sustainable unity among ASEAN members and people through creating a shared identity and an inclusive sharing and caring society where people’s life and welfare are enhanced.

According to the minister, from 2015 (the year the ASEAN Community was set up) to now, 8 percent of specific activities for building the ASCC have been completed, 47 percent of others are being implemented and the remaining 45 percent will be carry out in following years.

This year, the ASCC, under the chair of Singapore, is continuing with efforts to realise the ASEAN Community Vision to 2025. Initiatives put forward in 2018 focus on key and emerging issues such as response to climate change, core values in digital technology, youth issues, and mitigation of negative effects of fake news. One noteworthy initiative is the ASEAN smart city network, which looks to improve the living conditions and livelihoods of residents in ASEAN urban areas.

Minister Dung affirmed that along with the joint efforts, Vietnam is a leading member in implementing the ASCC blueprint to 2025.  

Following the issuance of a project on building and carrying out a national plan to realise ASCC targets to 2025 in January 2016, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, as the national coordinator in the field, has been pushing hard the implementation of the national plan.

The ministry has held many training courses and workshops on the ASCC for ministries, sectors and relevant agencies of 63 provinces and centrally-run cities. The country’s ministries, agencies and local administrations have built their own plans of action to carry out the national plan.

Activities towards the goal of connecting and bringing benefits to the people have been combined with enhancing institutional capacity, perfecting organisation and reforming administrative procedures to better serve people and businesses.

Attention has been paid to communications activities to enhance public awareness about the ASEAN Community and the benefits that the bloc brings about.

Policies have been devised and enforced on expanding and improving social welfare, labour and employment, health care, education, gender equality and support for the elderly, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.

The ASCC’s goal of a sustainable community in terms of environmental protection is implemented through specific measures and projects on protecting specialized forests, mitigating climate change impacts, and involving the people in preserving natural resources and the environment.

Ministries, agencies and localities have acted towards a dynamic ASEAN community in many forms, for example the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has supported the teaching of ASEAN languages and promoted exchanges between Vietnamese students and linguists and their ASEAN counterparts. Five universities in Vietnam have made Thai language part of their curricula, and the MoET is cooperating with its Thai counterpart on the teaching of Vietnamese in Thailand. Meanwhile, 13 general schools in Vietnam and Singapore have set up twin relations.  

According to the minister, Vietnam will steer its participation in ASEAN cooperation in the spirit of “active, proactive and responsible cooperation”.

The country will take the initiative in proposing new and feasible ideas on promoting intra-bloc cooperation and connectivity along with expanding external relations and strengthening the bloc’s central role in the shaping regional structure.

Vietnam will actively join ASEAN efforts to settle complicated problems inside the bloc as well as regional and global challenges that threaten regional peace, security and stability, in order to maintain the vitality, values and position of the regional grouping in the new situation.

The country will, together with ASEAN as a whole, implement fully and effectively existing agreements and commitments, with the leading priority of successfully building a strong, united and cohesive ASEAN Community.-VNA