CHIANG MAI, 13 May 2019 – Senior Officials from the ASEAN Socio-Cultural (ASCC) Pillar met in Chiang Mai, Thailand to discuss concrete steps to advance the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on Culture of Prevention (CoP) for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society.

The officials discussed the proposed ASEAN Plan of Action on CoP which brings together around 50 activities across ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community’s (ASCC), and 15 sectoral bodies under an overarching framework of fostering a culture of prevention in the ASEAN region.

“The plan of action will serve as a roadmap on where we are today, and the directions we are forging ahead to make preventive outlook at the core of what we do,” said Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) for the ASCC.

The declaration was adopted by ASEAN Leaders at the 31st ASEAN Summit in 2017. It encapsulates six key thrusts, namely, promoting a culture of peace and intercultural understanding; promoting a culture of respect for all; promoting a culture of good governance at all levels; promoting a culture of resilience and care for the environment; promoting a culture of healthy lifestyle; and promoting a culture supporting the values of moderation.

“I would like to suggest that a good starting point is to raise greater awareness on CoP by mounting outreach campaigns to support the six thrusts. The outreach campaigns can be led by respective lead sectoral bodies for CoP, alongside other relevant ASCC sectoral bodies, and also in partnership with external or dialogue partners,” DSG Kung said.

Porametee Vimolsiri, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand said that the declaration aims to address root causes of violence such as socio-economic problems including poverty, social inequalities, lack of access to education, and lack of economic/employment opportunities. He said “the Culture of Prevention is cross-cutting in nature that it calls for close coordination and collaboration from the three pillars of ASEAN Community: ASEAN Political-Security, ASEAN Economic, and ASCC.”

 “For effective implementation, the CoP needs to be mainstreamed in the work and activities of all ASCC sectoral bodies. At the national level, policies and initiatives on CoP should be encouraged to address the needs of people who are socially excluded and promote  social inclusion,” he emphasised.

Six preliminary ideas for outreach campaigns will be implemented in 2019 to 2020 to kick-start the plan of action. With the youth being agents of change, two out of the six campaigns specifically focus on them. The possible ideas to be explored include a campaign to engage youth to promote intercultural understanding, and another to keep youth away from vices including drugs.  Other youth related campaigns include engaging men and boys as agents of change to promote a culture of respect, and also promoting media literacy to fight fake news.

Also in the pipeline are campaigns on a healthy lifestyle through regional implementation of the ASEAN Car Free Day.  The ASCC will also explore the possibility of launching a campaign to prevent the risks of human induced disasters through advocating a plastic free region.