The 27th Meeting of the Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (27th SOCA)

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The 27th Meeting of the Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (27th SOCA)has reached conclusions on priority areas and outcome documents to be adopted and noted by ASEAN leaders at the 35th Summit in Bangkok Nonthaburi this weekend (November 2 to 4).

The outcome documents, endorsed by the 27th SOCA, not only highlighted the achievements of the ASCC Priority Areas 2019 under Thailand's ASEAN chairmanship this year but also reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to develop an ASEAN Community that is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future through initiatives to address socio-cultural issues of common concern ranging from children and education to climate change and labour.

The 27th SOCA was hosted by Ministry of Social Development and Human Security on October 31, 2019, at Royal Orchid Ballroom 1, Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers Bangkok.

Mr. Porametee Vimolsiri, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, in his capacity as the Chair of SOCA, chaired the Meeting. The Meeting was attended by more than 60 participants, including H.E. Mr. Kung Phoak, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASCC, Ms. Usanee Kangwanjit, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, SOCA Leaders and delegates from ASEAN Member States.

Mr. Porametee Vimolsiri said that Thailand has assumed the 2019 ASEAN chairmanship under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. On ASCC Priority Areas 2019, the overall landscape is aligned with the Theme of ASEAN Chairmanship of Thailand and can be best characterised by the “Three Four Fourteen” Formulation for ease of reference.

The “Three” signifies the strategic direction based on three strategic drivers: People-to-People Connectivity and Partnerships, Sustainability, and Future-Oriented Actions for Human Security.

The “Four” represents the ASCC-related ASEAN Centres established or developed in Thailand: 1) Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse which was launched during the 34th Summit; 2) ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI); 3) ASEAN Cultural Centre; and 4) ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare (ATCSW).

The “Fourteen” is the number of the ASCC-related outcome documents at the 34th and 35th ASEAN Summits, of which five were submitted at the 34th Summit in June while the remaining nine will be elevated to the upcoming 35th Summit.

Of the nine Outcome Documents to be elevated to the 35th Summit, six are for adoption and three are for notation by the ASEAN leaders.

The 27th SOCA Meeting also took note of the preparations and arrangements under the ASCC purview that are expected to take place in 2020 under Chairmanship of Viet Nam, including tentative date and venue of the 28th SOCA meeting, an ASCC fact-finding mission to Timor-Leste as part of the assessment of Timor-Leste’s readiness to become a member of ASEAN, and the secondment of ASCC officer to the permanent missions to ASEAN.

Mr. Porametee Vimolsiri concluded that effective implementation of the Outcome Documents would assure betterment of the Thai people in addition to benefits in many aspects.

"In the socio-cultural aspect, Thailand will benefit from various areas of cooperation, including promoting and protecting the rights of women and children, environmental sustainability, arts and culture, civil service matters, education, labour, and social welfare and development. Their betterment will be assured as a result of effective implementation of the Outcome Documents adopted and noted by the ASEAN Leaders at the ASEAN Summits. The meetings and events convened at various levels play an important role in raising awareness on ASEAN issues through various projects and activities, as well as coverage by many media outlets," Mr. Porametee Vimolsiri said.