24/05/2018 08:59 GMT+7 print

ASEAN work to counter social, cultural challenges at root

Strategic directions for dealing with root causes of social issues were the main theme of a conference in Jakarta on May 23 held by the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The event was attended by representatives from delegations of countries at ASEAN, senior officials of the ASEAN Cultural Community (ASCC), ASEAN’s dialogue partners, development partners, ASEAN organisations and the United Nations.

The conference aimed to promote the ASEAN Declaration on Culture of Prevention (CoP) for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society adopted at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines, in November 2017.

Addressing the conference, ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi highlighted challenges facing the world, including the spread of diseases, drug, crime, human trafficking and false information on social networks. He mentioned difficulties in seeking solutions to long-term problems related to education, health care and social services.

The Secretary General particularly stressed the widespread impacts of climate change on ASEAN countries, causing losses amounting to 4.4 billion USD each year.

Instead of responding directly to the challenges, ASEAN is trying to adopt a preventive approach by dealing with the root causes of the problems, Lim Jock Hoi said, noting that a preventive way of thinking is needed to do that.

He reiterated six aspects of the culture of prevention, which were awareness about peace and inter-cultural understanding; respect; good governance; resilience and care for the environment, a healthy lifestyle and values of moderation.

According to the Secretary General, those factors will help promote ideas on cultural diversification, gender equality and women empowerment, as well as opportunities for vulnerable groups.

Besides the important role of families, community-based organisations, educational establishments and religious groups in encouraging the six aspects of the preventive culture, ASEAN also acknowledges the role of cooperation with partners and related parties in seeking effective solutions to promote the CoP among ASEAN.