ASEAN 22ndSOCA Meeting Concludes with Guidelines on Achieving the ASCC Blueprint 2025

ILOILO CITY-- The 22nd Senior Officials Committee for the ASCC (SOCA) Meeting was concluded in Iloilo City, March 7, 2017. The two-day meeting opened on March 6 at the Iloilo Convention Center, attended by delegates and senior leaders from the 10 Member States, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN and representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat.

The SOCA meeting is an important gathering which sets the agenda for the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting to be held on March 8 at Iloilo City.

"We are confident that the productive discussions and mutually beneficial exchanges during SOCA will result in ASEAN programs that will truly uplift the lives of all citizens," said the SOCA Chair and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Florita Villar. In the Philippines, DSWD leads the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), one of three ASEAN pillars, focused on enhancing the well-being and livelihood of ASEAN peoples.

Under the Philippines' chairpersonship, the meeting discussed and deliberated several issues concerning the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) which are as follows:

MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF ASCC PROGRAMS

The SOCA leaders reviewed the progress of implementation of the ASCC Blueprint 2025 and development of the work plans of the various sectoral bodies of the ASCC. They commended the progress made by all the 15 sectoral bodies under the ASCC in building the ASEAN Community and in celebrating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN in 2017. The SOCA Leaders also noted the progress as reflected in the Report on One Year of Implementation of the ASCC Blueprint as reported by the ASEAN Secretariat, including on the cross-cutting initiatives and the community-building programs. In this connection, the ministers endorsed A Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of the ASCC Blueprint of 2025 which serves as

a key reference for sectoral bodies under the ASCC in undertaking their M&E work.

"We congratulate the achievements of all the hardworking members of ASCC. However, it is necessary that we have focused programs that have a direct impact on the citizens of ASEAN. This is why M&E is an important development, with it, we can now create precise plans that will allow people to experience benefits with each ASCC activity," explained DSWD Undersecretary Florita Villar.

ENDORSEMENT OF ASEAN LEADERS' DECLARATION

In discussing outcome documents to be adopted or signed by the Leaders of ASEAN at their 30th ASEAN Summit, the SOCA Leaders look forward to the signing by ASEAN Leaders of the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on The Role of Civil Service as Catalyst for Achieving ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and committed support towards the finalization of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

ASEAN@50 COMMEMORATIVE ACTIVITIES

The SOCA leaders also recognized and are fully supportive of the ASEAN 50th commemorative activities presented during the meeting highlighting the following among others:

o Cross Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence, June 6-8 in Manila, Philippines

o ASEAN Conference on Nutrition and Breastfeeding + "Hakab Na" 2017, August 5 in Manila, Philippines

o ASEAN High-Level Conference on Social Protection, August 18-20 in Manila, Philippines

o Traditional Medicine Conference - Milestone Achievements on T&CM of AMS, September 26-27 in Manila, Philippines

These activities are aligned with ASCC's achievements and priorities, including giving the less privileged sector social protection so that they continue to live with security. The commemorative activities also aim to provide a venue to showcase efforts and related programs of the concerned stakeholders such as the government, civil society organizations, etc. in eliminating violence against children and in the same manner safeguard the children's welfare by giving them proper nutrition among others.

"I salute everyone who prepared for the SOCA meeting and to my colleagues for a productive two days spent. We may come from different nations, but we are one in our vision to create better lives for our peoples," Villar concluded.

Source: Philippines information agency

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