KUALA LUMPUR: ASEAN ministers in charge of socio-cultural affairs today unanimously endorsed the draft of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025, which is aimed at advancing the integration of the ASEAN Community in the next 10 years.

Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the ASCC Blueprint 2016-2025 outlined community building strategies which were more comprehensive and dynamic in engaging people in the 10-member countries as one ASEAN Community.

“Our goal is for the poeple in ASEAN to be able to continue benefitting from a more people-centred and inclusive ASEAN Community, post 2015,” she told Bernama after charing the 14th ASCC Council Meeting which was attended by ministers from all 10 ASEAN member states here today.

She said the document which contained improved inputs from the current ASCC Blueprint 2015, also highlighted five main elements to nurture a more inclusive, committed, sustainable, resilient and dynamic ASEAN Community, post-2015.

Mas Ermieyati said among the key outcomes targeted from the implementation of Blueprint 2025 were empowering older persons in ASEAN, higher education, elimination of violence against women and children, climate change and the civil service.

“Blueprint 2025 is a new approach for the ASEAN Community and strengthens the regional cooperation to ensure ASEAN is relevant to member countries through the 10-year strategic plan, beginning 2016,” she added.

Earlier in the opening remarks, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri expressed optimism the blueprint would act as a commitment to bring people at the heart of ASEAN regional integration initiatives through putting a ‘human face’ to its community building efforts to raise the quality of life of its people.

“In order to maximise the ASEAN potential, it is imperative the ASCC Blueprint 2025 charts the strategic direction to nurture a community that engages and benefits the people, and is inclusive, sustainable, resilient and dynamic,” she said.

The ASCC Blueprint 2025 draft is a component of the ASEAN Community Vision and together with draft blueprints from the political-security and economic pillars will be presented to ASEAN leaders when the 27th ASEAN Summit convenes here next month.

The three documents when adopted will then be a single blueprint known as ‘ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together’ that will chart the course for a stronger and more unified ASEAN Community in the next decade.

Meanwhile, in a joint ministerial statement issued at the end of the 14th ASCC Council Meeting today, the ASEAN ministers recorded their satisfaction towards the works carried out by the ASCC High Level Task Force and the ASEAN Secretariat in carrying out the various community building initiatives that had been outlined under the ASCC Blueprint 2009-2015.

“We are pleased that by the end of 2015, the ASCC would have addressed all the action lines in the Blueprint 2009-2015,” it said.

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