SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday called on ASEAN Ministers of Social Welfare and Development to accelerate cooperation toward building a prosperous region for the ASEAN peoples. "Stepping up cooperation among ASEAN Ministers of Social Welfare and Development is a key for addressing and overcoming challenges to realize the Development of Social Services for All," the premier said at the opening of the 8th ASEAN and 4th ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development.
"We should focus our attention on examining social issues and understanding the potential impact on the peoples, especially the poor, the vulnerable, due to challenges caused by ASEAN integration 2015," he said.
Hun Sen also recommended the ministers continue working closely together to maintain ASEAN's centrality in the region and step up all levels of cooperation, especially through ASEAN and ASEAN+3 frameworks.
"I believe that the meeting will help enhance relations among all ASEAN and ASEAN+3 countries as it enables us to share information, broaden and deepen our cooperation in all fronts, from politics, security, economy to socio-cultural affairs," he said.
The two-day event would also help realize ASEAN's objectives in the enhancement of welfare and livelihood of ASEAN peoples by ensuring equitable access to opportunities for human development, social welfare and justice, especially the development of Social Services for All, he added.
Cambodian Minister of Social Affairs Ith Samheng said the ASEAN ministers would discuss and advise on the drafts of two major ASEAN Declarations: ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Social Protection and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children in ASEAN for submission to and adoption by the 23rd ASEAN Summit in October 2013 in Brunei.
The 4th ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development will be held on Saturday.
ASEAN Social Welfare Ministers meeting is held once in every three years, aiming at increasing cooperation in social affairs among the ASEAN member states and between ASEAN and its strategic partners: China, Japan and South Korea.
The last meeting was held in Brunei in November 2010.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.