The 16th Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on The Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) was held from 26th-28th March 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Meeting was hosted by the ASEAN Secretariat.

The Meeting discussed the follow-up from the 15th Meeting in Phuket, Thailand, and reviewed the status of implementation of projects of the ACWC Work Plan 2016-2020. A number of important projects have been completed such as the Conference on Policy Debate on Gender Issues in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for ASEAN Countries by Lao PDR, the Launch of ASEAN Progress Report on Women’s Advancement and Gender Equality and Strengthening the Protection and Empowerment of Women Migrant Workers in Crisis and Disaster Situations by the Philippines, as well as the Regional Workshop for Promoting Comprehensive and Harmonized National Legislation aimed at Preventing and Combating Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) in ASEAN Member States by Thailand.

At the Meeting, the Philippines updated the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (RPA-EVAW), namely the outcomes of the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue on the Scoping Study on Strengthening Protection and Empowerment of Women Migrant Workers in Crisis and Disaster Situations on 15th December 2017, and the Conference on ASEAN Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education on 27th-29th November 2017. On the same note, The ASEAN Secretariat presented a concept paper on the proposed follow-up actions for the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN, which was adopted during the 31st ASEAN Summit in November 2017 in Manila, as well as updates and recommendations arising from the ASEAN-UN Regional Dialogue on Political-Security Cooperation (AURED IV): Women, Peace and Security – The Role of Women in the Prevention of Violent Extremism on 5th-7th December 2017 in Kuala Lumpur. The ASEAN Secretariat also presented the outcomes of the ASEAN HeForShe campaign launch on 30th November 2017 and the outline of ASEAN HeForShe roadmap.

Regarding the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence Against Children in ASEAN (RPA-EVAC), Thailand presented the outcomes and recommendations from the Regional Workshop for Promoting Comprehensive and Harmonized National Legislation aimed at Preventing and Combating Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) in ASEAN Member States on 2nd-3rd November 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, updates of the report titled, “Ending violence against children in ASEAN Member States: A snapshot of action as of 2016”, and the outcomes and recommendations from the Dissemination Workshop for the Baseline Study for Priority Areas under the RPA-EVAC on 6th February 2018 in Jakarta. In addition, the ACWC Chair presented the outcomes of the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue on Integrated National Responses to End Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children Online in ASEAN which was held on 7th-8th February 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Meeting took note of the updates highlighted and exchanged views on ways forward to ensure continuity and engagement of other relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies. ACWC endorsed the ASEAN Regional Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of Victims of Trafficking in Persons.

The Meeting received updates on the status of ongoing projects under the ACWC Work Plan 2016-2020. The projects to be implemented in 2018 are under the thematic areas of strengthening institutional capacity of ACWC, promotion and protection of the rights of women and children with disabilities, women’s economic empowerment, gender mainstreaming, as well as elimination of violence against women and children. These include the  Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment in ASEAN: Leveraging Information and Communications Technologies in Support of women’s Entrepreneurship Development by Cambodia; the Regional Dialogue on Children Bullying and Abuse at Schools and Online by Viet Nam; as well as the ACWC Campaign to Promote ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the 2018 ASEAN Conference on Juvenile Justice Reform to be led by Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand on 9-11 May 2018.

The Meeting conducted an interface with the Chair of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) on areas of mutual interests and collaboration.

The Meeting also discussed the preparations for the half-day conference with ASEAN Dialogue Partners and Ambassadors affiliated with ASEAN to present ACWC and its Work Plan 2016-2020 on 28th March 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 17th ACWC Meeting and the 5th ACWC-ACW Consultation Meeting will be held back-to-back with the 3rd AMMW and Related Meetings in September 2018 in Hanoi, Viet Nam.