Vietnam expresses strong support for Brunei’s priorities in ASEAN Year 2021 hinh anh 1Vietnam attends the 25th meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council via video conference on March 31. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam pledged to work closely with ASEAN ministers, and give enthusiastic support to Brunei so that the country can successfully play the role as the ASEAN Chair in 2021, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan.

At the 25th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council meeting held virtually on March 31, Hoan spoke highly of Brunei’s efforts in sketching out priorities for the ASEAN 2021: “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” aiming at strengthening ASEAN’s efforts toward recovery, resilience and shared prosperity.

He expressed his hope that all 15 agencies under the ASCC will boost effective coordination in building and completing their working plans during the 2021-2025 period.

“The plans should give an insight into new trends as well as priorities in pandemic prevention and post-pandemic recovery, and settlement of aging population’s impacts, climate change and the fourth industrial revolution”, he said.

Vietnam expresses strong support for Brunei’s priorities in ASEAN Year 2021 hinh anh 2Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan speaks at the 25th meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hoan affirmed that Vietnam has worked to realise the commitments and initiatives outlined in 2020, with focus sharpened on connecting to ASEAN 2021’s priorities and initiatives given by Brunei.

In his opening remarks, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei Dato Pakuda Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Bin congratulated Vietnam on excellently fulfilling its role as the ASEAN Chair 2020 as well as the ASCC Chair in the past year.

He said Brunei will enhance cooperation with ASEAN partners to promote the bloc’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts to bring benefit for all peoples.

The council gathered on the day to discuss strategic issues and directions for the Socio-Cultural pillar. It extended support to priorities under Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2021.

The Council commended the ASCC sectoral bodies for the timeliness and significance of their initiatives and outcome documents for adoption and notation by the Leaders in the 38th ASEAN Summit, the 16th East Asia Summit and the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

They also shared views on strategic issues under the pillar, highlighting the importance of transformative social protection, preparing the youth for the future, human resource development, women development and gender mainstreaming, building future resilience towards green recovery, equal access to digitalisation, poverty reduction, sports and education among others.

They noted with appreciation the ASCC Sectoral Bodies and stakeholders’ continued commitments in caring for the ASEAN people by seizing current and future opportunities and addressing challenges, such as economic uncertainties, public health emergencies and environmental issues towards shared prosperity. The Meeting agreed to forge ahead to better organise regional efforts and guide ASEAN as it progresses with its Community building efforts, in tandem with the ASEAN Political-Security Community Pillar and ASEAN Economic Community Pillar.

Besides, they commended the areas of focus, including Health and Development, Environment and Climate Change, Social Welfare and Development, Education, Youth and Sports, Culture and Information, Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, Human Resources Development, as well as the follow-up to the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the ASCC Blueprint 2025.

The Meeting recognised that the ASCC Council’s role should be expanded to look into ASCC related cooperation with Dialogue Partners and beyond, as part of maintaining ASEAN centrality on ASEAN-led frameworks and ensure coherence and consistency in policies. Towards this, the Meeting encouraged ASCC Sectoral Bodies to look into possible expansion of platforms with Dialogue Partners through +1 and +3 mechanisms. The Meeting agreed to establish an Innovation Platform Dialogue within ASCC. The Meeting recognised that these mechanisms will further strengthen the agendas towards ASEAN community-building./.

The ASEAN Socio Cultural Community is all about realizing the full potential of ASEAN citizens. The ASCC Blueprint 2025 was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the 27thASEAN Summit on 22 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Member states are cooperating on a wide range of areas, including: Culture and Arts, Information and Media, Education, Youth, Sports, Social Welfare and Development, Gender, Rigths of Women and Children, Rural Developmetn and Poverty, Eradication, Labour, Civil Service, Environment, Haze, Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, and Health.