On August 29, Indonesia hosted the 30th Ministerial Council Meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) 2023 in Jakarta. The meeting was attended by ministers from ASEAN member states, the ASEAN Secretary General, senior officials of the ASCC and the Deputy Secretary General of the ASCC. They gathered to discuss various socio-cultural issues in the region.
Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, who chaired the session, revealed that one of the main focuses of the ASEAN General Assembly was to address issues related to migrant workers.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn also attended the meeting where various issues were discussed, including the strategic direction of the ASCC in developing and ensuring the sustainability, inclusiveness and resilience of ASEAN. In this regard, he stated that the meeting served as a platform to exchange views on the establishment of a strong and inclusive ASCC beyond 2025.
In addition, the ASEAN Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the strong leadership of Indonesia as the Chair of ASEAN and the ASCC Council in 2023. He also emphasized the commitment to support Laos' leadership in ASEAN in 2024.
Special Staff for International Cooperation of the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture (Menko PMK), Joko Kusnanto Anggoro, also revealed that the declaration and statement on socio-cultural issues in ASEAN in 2023 had a very productive impact. According to him, there is compatibility between the issues discussed at the meeting and domestic programs, especially those related to poverty reduction and stunting, equitable development efforts, gender equality issues, and so on.
In addition, Indonesia's achievements in this context will also be presented to provide tangible benefits at the regional level. In addition, Anggoro also stated that efforts are being made to make these socio-cultural issues one of the main pillars that will continue to be championed in ASEAN leadership in the next period.
Under Indonesia's chairmanship, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Pillar has identified five key areas of focus. These include efforts to empower persons with disabilities, measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, strengthening families in the face of challenges, improving the quality of early childhood education, and the ability to sustainably adapt to disasters.
The plan will be formulated into official documents to be approved by the leaders of ASEAN member states during the 43rd ASEAN Summit to be held on September 5-7, 2023.
These documents include the ASEAN Declaration on Inclusive Development and Partnerships for Resilient ASEAN Communities in the Face of Disability Challenges, the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-28), the ASEAN Declaration on Gender Equality and Family Development, the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on Early Childhood Care and Education in the Southeast Asian Region, and the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on Sustainable Capabilities in the Face of Disasters.
In addition, Indonesia has also proposed the preparation of 13 other documents covering various areas such as health, employment, village network development, social protection, environmental protection and education. Before being discussed at the level of ASEAN leaders, these documents will first go through a discussion process at the 30th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Pillar Ministerial Council or ASCC.