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ASEAN Policy Debate: Will FTAs Narrow the Development Gap in ASEAN?

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ACSC/APF Jakarta 2011
Economic Justice Cluster
9:00 – 11:30 P.M.; Victory 3, 6th floor, Ciputra Hotel

WORKSHOP THEME: “ASEAN Policy Debate: Will FTAs narrow the development gap in ASEAN?”

Organizers: EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network, Institute for Global Justice, Focus on the Global South, Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation, and the Transnational Institute (TNI)


Narrowing the development gap is a major challenge of the ASEAN regional integration project.  The avowed goals of this process of community building as articulated in the Bali Concord II is to ensure durable peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region. Over the past years, ASEAN has engaged in and concluded negotiations for free trade agreements (FTA) with its dialogue partners as an integral strategy towards economic integration.  These FTAs however have been criticized by social movements and civil society organizations from around the region for their negative impact on peoples’ jobs and livelihoods, erosion of policy space, for strengthening corporate control over natural resources and for exacerbating the development asymmetries in the region.

Report: Navigating Critical Waters: Issues, Challenges and Alternatives to the Privatization and Commercialization of Water in Asia

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ACSC/APF Jakarta 2011
Natural Resources Cluster
9:00 – 11:30 A.M.; PURI 6, lower level, Ciputra Hotel

WORKSHOP THEME:  “Navigating Critical Waters: Issues, Challenges and Alternatives to the Privatization and Commercialization of Water in Asia”
Organizers: Focus on the Global South; Municipal Services Project-Asia; Reclaiming Public Water; Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Speakers: Dr. Buenaventura Dargantes, Visayas State University (Philippines); Hamong Santono, Kruha (Indonesia); Milo Tanchuling, JS-APMDD (Philippines); Irfan Zamzami, AMRTA Institute (Indonesia); Nestor Villasin, Philippine Association of Water Districts (Philippines)
Facilitator: Jenina Joy Chavez (Philippines)

ASEAN countries face serious challenges in water, namely fast diminishing access to water by more members of the population, especially the poor and marginalized; threatened supply as a result of unsustainable living ways that have harmed water resources; treatment of water by governments as well as private sector as a commodity and not as human right or part of the commons.  With this perspective being the dominant now, most ASEAN governments look at privatization as the solution.  But is it? This was the main question that the workshop addressed. Privatization is what’s being pushed also by international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB) by financing projects, such as mega-dams, that harm the environment and communities.
In the introduction to the workshop, there was also a specific reference to the ASEAN’s Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment (1994-1998) which obligates the region’s governments to deliver based on the recommendations of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, which required that “adequate supplies of water of good quality are maintained for the entire population while preserving the hydrological, biological and chemical functions of ecosystems, adapting human activities within the capacity limits of nature and combating vectors of water-related diseases.”

Civil Liberties, Alternative Regionalisms, Access to Natural Resources, Climate Change, Public Health and Trade Issues Take Center Stage

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By Clarissa V. Militante

Philippine civil society organizations (CSOs) rallied behind advocacies close to their heart—freedom of information as civil right, peoples’ right to health and access to medicines, access to water, climate justice, financial and trade issues, and the urgency to address the development gaps in ASEAN—on May 3 -5 at the 2011 ASEAN People’s Forum/ASEAN Civil Society Conference (APF/ACSC) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Peoples and ASEAN: Defining the Divide*

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By Jenina Joy Chavez

More than five years ago, during the first ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) in Shah Alam in Malaysia, only a spattering of regional organizations interested in what the ASEAN was up to flocked to this civil society event, governed mostly by protocol. I remember distinguished gentlemen in business suits occupying the reserved first rows of the hall, who would eventually leave once a speech they deemed important had been delivered.


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We, more than 1,300 delegates at the 2011 ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ ASEAN Peoples’ Forum, representing various civil society organizations and , movements of workers from rural and urban sectors as well as migrant sector, peasants and farmers, women, children, youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, people affected by leprosy, urban poor, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, traditional fishers, refugees, stateless persons, people in exile, victims of human rights violations, domestic workers, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender/Transsexual Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ), sex workers, women in prostitution , drug users, people living with HIV/AIDS, human rights defenders and other vulnerable groups, gathered together in Jakarta, Indonesia, 3-5 May 2011 to discuss the main concerns confronting the peoples of ASEAN and developing key proposals for the 18th ASEAN Summit.

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