NAY PYI TAW, 11 October 2017 – ASEAN Ministers of Sports endorsed a number of new initiatives to advance cooperation in sports in ASEAN, including revitalisation of traditional sports and games, promotion of participation of women and girls in sports, and leveraging sports for development of life skills among the youth. This was discussed at the 4th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sports held today in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
The ASEAN Sports Ministers adopted the ASEAN Work Plan on Sports 2016-2020 and endorsed the plans for 2018 including a survey of ASEAN physical fitness as initiated by Thailand and to pursue the bid put forth by Indonesia and Thailand for the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2034. The ministers also commended Malaysia for the conduct of the 29th SEA Games and the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August and September 2017, and at the same time expressed support to the preparations of Indonesia for the hosting of the 18th Asian Games in August 2018.
Taking the chairmanship of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Sports beginning November 2017 until October 2019, Dr. Myint Htwe, Minister of Health and Sports of the Union Republic of Myanmar affirmed commitment to deepening ASEAN cooperation on sports. “It is always easy to unify people and communities through sports. Sports have a special place in the hearts of everyone because we all love to be active and healthy. It is also a simple but effective instrument to build friendship. For the next two years, Myanmar will lead the ASEAN cooperation on sports and I am confident that we can do much to support the greater ASEAN objectives of prosperity, peace and integration through sports.”
At the strategic level, given the fact that the sports sector has a cross cutting element by the nature of its work, the ministers indicated the need for greater interaction and dialogue with other ASEAN sectoral bodies as well as regional and international organisations, including Dialogue Partners, and other parties with an interest in sports. The ASEAN Sports Ministers welcomed potential collaboration with entities associated with ASEAN such as ASEAN Chess Confederation, ASEAN Para Sports Federation and ASEAN Football Federation, as well as partners including the Right to Play and UNESCO.
On the same day, the ministers welcomed further engagement with Japan at the 1st ASEAN Plus Japan Ministerial Meeting on Sports. The meeting discussed ASEAN approach in pursuing greater regional partnership for sports with Japan.
“I am very pleased with the inaugural ASEAN Plus Japan Ministerial Meeting on Sports launched this year. This is important in enhancing deeper cooperation in the field of sports towards the realisation of the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation especially in promoting the Olympic and Paralympic message and values across Southeast Asia in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Japan is looking forward to working with ASEAN further especially in the area of sports,” said Mr. Toshiei Mizuochi, Minister-in-charge of Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
The inaugural meeting intensified coordination between ASEAN and Japan on sports, and served as strategic platform to exchange views with each other on issues pertaining to sports at regional and international forums. The ministers discussed and agreed on a set of policy guidelines and strategic direction to guide the operationalisation of the ASEAN-Japan collaborative work programmes in the field of sports including public-private collaborative platforms to support the ASEAN-Japan partnership.
After the meeting, at the invitation of Mr. Toshiei Mizuochi, ASEAN Sports Ministers and the media visited the Japan Sports Showcase, an exhibition of seventeen Japanese sports companies and organisations.