The two-day conference aimed to promote cooperation between ASEM members and relevant institutions to identify the policies needed and to set priorities of actions to maximize progress towards greater economic growth and welfare improvements. Therefore, the event is designed to provide a platform for the ASEM partners to exchange policies and best practices to achieve inclusive outcomes and effectively implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at global, regional and local levels.
The event also focused on inclusive socio-economic development in the 21st century, the role and involvement of parties concerned, and the boosting of cooperation between the two continents in the field.
During the event, a wide range of universities, organizations, scholars, experts and researchers from all over the ASEM member states discussed the future challenges on social and economic inclusion with relevant government officials and policymakers.
At the opening speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong underlined the challenges the countries are facing, regarding gaps in wealth, income and employment, gender inequality, terrorism, transnational crimes, cyber security and climate change. Moreover, he suggested people-centered initiatives to realize practical benefits. Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep affirmed that the Vietnamese Government has carried out a sustainable development strategy through ensuring economic growth in tandem with social progress and justice, as well as strengthening the social welfare system for all citizens and further stressed the importance of international exchange: “Europe has a well-developed social welfare system. We have learned from them a lot, most recently in the development of multi-layered social insurance scheme, including compulsory basic category, voluntary and funded social insurance options.”
Participants of the conference agreed on boosting ASEM's contribution to the global effort to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the linking of ASEM initiatives, as well as projects and cooperation groups on women's empowerment, poverty reduction, education, and human resource development, and raising awareness and action to ensure sustainable, creative and inclusive development.
The outcome of the event was a compiled and comprehensive list of best practices, ideas and recommendations of Asia and Europe on promoting economic and social inclusion, which will be presented at the 14th Foreign Ministers Meeting in Spain this December and the 13th ASEM Summit next year.
Moreover, the conference strengthened the bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and ASEM.