Programmes to improve the lives of women and children in the region must avoid duplicating the efforts of other Asean bodies, said Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
Mr Tan was addressing representatives of the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) yesterday as the commission started its 13th meeting.
The ACWC was established in 2010 to improve the rights of women and children in the region. At this meeting, the commission will review the implementation of its 2012-2016 workplan and discuss the 2016-2020 workplan.
Yesterday, Mr Tan urged the ACWC to think about how it can leave a lasting legacy. He said: "Simply put, it means pursuing projects that can have significance - not theoretical - but real impact on the daily lives and the long-term well-being of women and children."
For instance, some ACWC members want to look into the rights of migrant women and their children, but checks should be made if the work is already being done by others, such as the Asean Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
"These issues are also being covered in different forums and in different forms. It's important for us... so that whatever effort we put in is sharp, is focused and will have its desired effect. So we must avoid duplication of work in Asean to maximise returns on the limited resources that we have," said Mr Tan.
Singapore is hosting a series of forums on women's and children's issues this week.