The effects of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic have continued to prompt ASEAN to adapt to the situation and adopt new norms with strong determination to be more cohesive in its responses. Work inter-connectedness as emphasised by the ASEAN Leaders in the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 in April 2020, is also crucial to overcome the pandemic, prepare ASEAN and embrace the new normal. These were among the matters underscored by Yang Berhormat Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports at the 23rd ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, ASCC Council Meeting held via Video Conference, 23rd June 2020.


The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dao Ngoc Dung, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and participated by ASCC Council Ministers and their representatives, as well as the Secretary General of ASEAN. At the meeting, ASCC Council Ministers agreed to forge ahead ASEAN efforts to address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, and identify opportunities for the revitalization of the ASEAN region post-pandemic.


The ministers were also encouraged with the active contributions of all ASCC sectoral bodies to the regional coordinated response to COVID-19. The ASCC Council Ministers have endorsed the ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work and recommended it for adoption by ASEAN Leaders at the 36th ASEAN Summit. With the adoption of the Declaration, it reaffirms ASEAN’s commitment to strengthen ASEAN cooperation on labour, education and business sectors, with a view to promote new skills for the future, as well as advance inclusive education and employment. The Meeting also noted with appreciation the establishment of the ASEAN TVET Council, and regional initiatives for the promotion of public health, social work, marine environment cooperation, and the empowerment of women.


Yang Berhormat also shared his views on ASCC’s recovery efforts, namely: Preparedness of the current and future labour market by maximising the use of 4th Industrial Revolution platforms in key areas such as health, education, and information in order to make ASEAN more innovation-driven to respond effectively. This is in line with lifelong learning initiatives, especially in terms of upskilling and reskilling the people.


Yang Berhormat also underlined on ensuring that social protection system is adaptive to all changes, and no one is left behind by reaching, protecting and caring the people, especially those most vulnerable, including the prioritization of their mental health. Acceleration in the use of technology in also important through which Brunei  Darussalam has now extended its health and social welfare protection through the BruHealth app and the launch of the National Welfare System in July 2020.


Aside that, youth should be equipped, particularly in harnessing and channelling their innovative ideas by continuously making platforms available for them. Yang Berhormat also highlighted on establishing appropriate platforms and strengthening cooperation towards minimising the harmful effects of misinformation and fake news, and to work towards timely sharing of information. Yang Berhormat also welcomed the timely Mid-Term Review of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 and the drafting of new Work Plans under ASCC sectoral bodies. These provide the opportunity to carry out check and balances in realising a vision of a community that is sustainable, resilient, dynamic and inclusive. The meeting was also joined by Pengiran Haji Mohd Hasnan bin Pengiran Haji Ali Hassan, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.



Source: Radio Television Brunei

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