The Social Affairs Committee of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) has agreed to promote the digital revolution and strengthen social protections to address issues in the ASEAN region in order to achieve sustainable development.

The committee meeting was held in Phnom Penh on November 22, with a delegation of AIPA members of parliaments from seven other member states: Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam.

Committee members in attendance discussed two draft resolutions on promoting the digital revolution in social protections and strengthening healthcare in the region.

The digital revolution for social protections is defined by the committee as capturing and maximising the benefits of advances in information and communication technology (ICT) and digital technology to support the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, which increases productivity, boosts national economic growth and builds social and digital economic benefits to achieve sustainable economic development and the accompanying rise in living standards.

Representatives at the meeting agreed to send the two draft statements to the second plenary session of the 43rd AIPA General Assembly (AIPA-43) for approval on November 23.

At the same time, the Political Committee of the AIPA came to a consensus on five draft documents of their own to submit to the AIPA-43, also on November 23.

The Political Committee’s documents include papers on topics such as maritime security, the ASEAN five-point consensus (5PC) on Myanmar and promoting multilateralism.

Myanmar and Malaysia were absent from this year's AIPA. Myanmar representatives were not offered an invite due to the ongoing political turmoil and armed conflict, whereas Malaysia has recently held closely contested elections and is not expected to see a new parliament sworn in until early next year.