ACWC champions the well-being of all women and children towards an inclusive COVID-19 recovery in ASEAN

JAKARTA, 12 October 2021 – The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) continues to safeguard the well-being of women and children in the new normal.

During the 23rd ACWC Meeting conducted virtually on 12 October 2021, ACWC Representatives from all ten Member States deliberated on harnessing the efforts of ASEAN amidst the COVID-19 recovery process in promoting and protecting the rights of women and children through the ACWC Work Plan 2021-2025. 

Guided by the purpose and mandate of ACWC as a human rights mechanism, the endorsed ACWC Work Plan 2021-2025 serves as a living blueprint to drive ASEAN in developing regional policy actions for improving the lives of women and children in ASEAN.

This year’s ASEAN theme “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” has inspired the finalisation of the ACWC Work Plan 2021-2025.  With this, “we ensured that the ACWC Work Plan 2021-2025 would fully reflect the ambition of the ACWC by 2025 and beyond with the well-being and best interest of all women and children in the ASEAN region in mind,” said Mrs. Hou Nirmita, the ACWC Vice-Chair and Cambodia’s Representative for Women’s Rights to the ACWC.

To ensure an inclusive and responsive recovery from COVID-19 with the needs of vulnerable women and children addressed, the ACWC further sharpened its key priorities for 2021-2025 with more targeted support and cooperation from relevant partners and inclusive stakeholders’ participation.

Through the ASEAN Gender Mainstreaming Framework (AGMSF) jointly developed by the ACWC and the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), it is hoped that gender mainstreaming in the region will gain the support and cooperation of key partners and stakeholders especially in the three ASEAN Community Pillars.

The Meeting served as an opportunity for the ACWC to discuss the pivotal ways of moving forward the continued implementation of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Women (RPA on EVAW) and the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children (RPA on EVAC). To strengthen implementation of the two documents, the Meeting finalised the Regional Plan of Action for Protection of Children from All Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN (RPA on COEA) and the Regional Plan of Action on Implementing the ASEAN Declaration on the Rights of Children in the Context of Migration (RPA on CCM).  It envisaged securing the notation of ASEAN Leaders at the 38th ASEAN Summit in October this year.   

The Meeting further reaffirmed ACWC’s commitment to addressing the emerging challenges faced by all women and children in the region, including the negative impacts of child bullying through the timely development and finalisation of the Declaration on the Elimination of Bullying of Children in ASEAN, which will be submitted for adoption of the ASEAN Leaders at the 38th ASEAN Summit.    

Moreover, in fulfilling ACWC’s mandate to promote and protect the rights of all women and children in ASEAN, the ACWC expressed its full support and dedication to contribute to the implementation of cross-sectoral and cross-pillar initiatives to advance other priority regional agenda on trafficking in persons, women, peace and security, social protection, disability inclusion, legal identity of women and children, and sustainable development, among many others.

Recognising the sustained support and cooperation of long-standing Dialogue and Development Partners in attaining the goals of the ACWC Work Plan 2021-2025, the ACWC particularly acknowledged the partners who joined the Open Session of the 23rd ACWC Meeting, namely the Mission of Canada to ASEAN, UNICEF, UN Women, Plan International and Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ).

In forging ahead as a more resilient ASEAN Community, the ACWC, together with key partners, stakeholders and the ASEAN Secretariat, is committed to join hands in making sure that the efforts in advancing women’s rights and children’s rights will continue on in ASEAN despite these difficult times.