Asia-Pacific Civil Society demands a just and transformative development agenda

Posted on 1 September 2013

IBON International Post-2015 Updates 

Bangkok, Thailand – The first region-wide civil society consultation on Post-2015 took place on Friday, 23 – Saturday 24 August in 
Bangkok, Thailand with 90 organizations from 21 countries from across Asia and the Pacific.
The event was co-organised by UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development with IBON International, Asia-Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Asia-Pacific Research Network (APRN), Asia-Pacific Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) and Asian Development Alliance (ADA).
Civil society from across Asia and the Pacific gathered to discuss regional challenges and priorities and to craft key messages from Asia-Pacific civil society for a just and transformative sustainable development agenda for the region and the world. There were strong calls during the consultation for a transformative development framework which promoted a new model of development justice rather than simply economic inclusivity. Asia-Pacific Civil society called for a development framework which aimed to end inequalities of wealth, power, resources and opportunity between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women.
Kate Lappin, Executive Director of APWLD and co-chair of the consultation opened the conference inviting civil society to craft a joint message to the Ministerial Dialogue: From the MDGs to a UN Development Agenda beyond 2015 as well as to share strategies for advocating and building a movement around a common development agenda. Referring to the recently concluded inter-governmental meeting on the post-ICPD agenda in the Latin America and Caribbean region which produced a radical statement thanks to a strong civil society intervention, Kate Lappin expressed her hope that this meeting would facilitate a similarly strong civil society voice and called on participants to build a consensus that was both concrete and transformative.
Key Note speaker, Masakazu Ichimura, Chief, Environment and Development Policy Section, UNESCAP, noted important challenges for development in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed the support of UNESCAP in facilitating inclusive and transparent dialogues with civil society. Mr. Ichimura suggested that this would be a good opportunity to showcase civil society’s substantive contributions to development debates in Asia and the Pacific.
Antonio Tujan, International Director of IBON International, delivered the second key-note address calling for development justice and noting that civil society needs to redouble their efforts to ensure the participation of the marginalized in the post-2015 agenda. He emphasized that civil society should not be limited to consultations and that civil society must make active interventions in determining and setting development policies. While criticizing the current development paradigm where neoliberal policies of deregulation have brought economic instability and wrecked havoc, dismantling environmental and social safeguards for sake of free movement of capital, he called for vigilance to ensure a new development agenda is not business as usual.
During the Asia - Pacific CSO Consultation, the first panel of presentations and discussions focused on how Asia-Pacific fitted within the current global processes – the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals and new high level political forum (hlpf) as well as
Global Region: