The 33rd meeting of the Senior Officials’ Committee for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOCA) reiterated its support for Cambodia’s chairmanship and the four priorities of SOCA 2022, according to a press release from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

SOCA chair Dy Khamboly hosted the virtual meeting on October 5. Attendees included the deputy secretary-general of ASEAN, the ASEAN Secretariat and senior officials from the bloc’s member states.

“‘ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together’ and our four priorities: to enhance ASEAN values, awareness and identity; promote human resource development and women empowerment; enhance health, wellbeing and social protection; and strengthen ASEAN socio-cultural community’s institutional capacity and effectiveness were all agreed upon as priorities,” read the release.

The meeting endorsed 11 documents, which would be adopted, and 20 outcome documents which would be noted by ASEAN leaders at the upcoming ASEAN Summit.

The meeting also discussed the progress of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC) blueprint 2025, the progress of previous ASCC initiatives – including the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework; Framework for Circular Economy for the AEC, Hanoi Declaration on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 vision; Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on the ASEAN Strategic and Holistic Implementation to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disaster (ASEAN SHIELD) – and the status of East Timor’s application for ASEAN membership.

They also covered proposals for the establishment of a high-level committee of the ASCC and endorsed the ASCC assessment report, which was developed during a fact-finding Mission in July, on East Timor’s membership application, it added.

The meeting agreed to expedite the deployment of secondment Officers to ASEAN to meet the full quorum of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, and strengthen its institutional effectiveness.

The attendees offered their appreciation to Cambodia for its excellent hosting as chair, and looked forward to in-coming chair Indonesia’s contributions in 2023.

The education ministry said that on October 13, Minister Hang Chuon Naron, who also chairs the ASCC Council, will chair the 28th ASCC Council Meeting.