BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN,13 December 2017 – The ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting for Culture and Arts (SOMCA) committed to strengthen cooperation in pursuit of the ASEAN Strategic Plan for Culture and Arts 2016-2025. The meeting was held on 11-13 December in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.

“This meeting is very important in our efforts to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation amongst us in envisioning a peaceful, stable and resilient Community with enhanced capacity to respond effectively to challenges, and ASEAN as an outward-looking region within a global community of nations, while maintaining ASEAN centrality,” stressed SOMCA Chair Datin Paduka Dr. Hjh Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam.

“I would like to note our achievements in ensuring Culture and the Arts play very important roles in building the community that we envisioned in 2025.  Activities were successfully organized by the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI) as well as with our dialogue partners,” added the SOMCA Chair.

The meeting discussed updates on the implementation of the ASEAN Strategic Plan for Culture and Arts 2016-2025 as well as the planned mechanisms to monitor its outcomes. They also noted the progress of the culture projects implemented by the ASEAN-COCI, and the various cultural initiatives with the ASEAN Dialogue Partners and UNESCO in 2017.

During the meeting, officials exchanged updates on the cultural events held in the region by the respective ASEAN Member States to celebrate ASEAN’s 50th anniversary. Brunei Darussalam also briefed the meeting on their initiatives during its current term as the ASEAN City of Culture, including the ASEAN Festival of Arts in 2016, which also had participation from the ASEAN Plus Three countries.

The SOMCA also met their counterparts from China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to discuss updates on the cultural cooperation under the SOMCA Plus Three, SOMCA Plus China, SOMCA Plus Japan, and SOMCA Plus ROK mechanisms. The respective meetings reviewed updates of their work plans and deliberated on future directions to strengthen cooperation on various culture and arts initiatives addressing such areas as protection of heritage, human resource development, cultural exchanges, and art festivals.

# # #