Advancing a Peoples’ ASEAN:  Continuing Dialogue

Call for Civil Society’s Participation
In the 2nd ASEAN Peoples’ Forum / 5th ASEAN Civil Society Conference
18-20 October 2009
Cha-am, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand

The first ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) held in February 2009 in Bangkok brought together representatives of various citizens’ groups in the region to exchange experiences, raising issues of common concern, and deliberate on common recommendations to the ASEAN. The Forum was effectively linked to the Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC IV) in which the focus was on civil society’s continuous engagement with the ASEAN bodies as recommendations from the APF’s 30 workshops was debated and adopted for forwarding to the ASEAN leaders. The highlights of the February event were the two-hour straightforward dialogue with the ASEAN Secretary-General and the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the half-hour informal meeting between representatives of the APF with the ASEAN leaders in Cha-am.

As the ASEAN leaders and officials are gathering in Thailand for the 16th ASEAN summit, the Joint Thai-Regional APF Working Group, comprising Thai and regional civil society organizations that constituted the Organizing Committee of the APF / ACSC IV, once again invite civil society groups in Southeast Asia to participate in the Second ASEAN Peoples’ Forum /the Fifth ASEAN Civil Society Conference to be held at Regent Beach Cha-am, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand.

To pursue the goal of advancing a peoples’ ASEAN, the Second APF / Fifth ACSC (APF II / ACSC V) will feature expanded dialogue with ASEAN governments’ and ASEAN Secretariat’s senior officials who are involved in the three ASEAN Community Councils. The key objectives of the dialogue are to explore the options and limitations and identifying potential solutions for the ASEAN to meet the demands and aspirations of its peoples, and to foster governments-peoples cooperation in creating building blocks for a just, people-centred, and genuine caring and sharing ASEAN Community, which we hope is a shared goal of all the ASEAN governments.

The key broad issues for which the APF II / ACSC V will focus on and for which it will seek ASEAN governments’ inputs, clarifications and discussions on potential solutions include:

Socio-Cultural Cluster:   Mechanisms and TOR of the Socio-Cultural community, TOR for the ASEAN Commission for Women and Children, People’s Participation, Migration, Disability, Health, Culture and Natural disasters.

Socio-Economic Cluster:   Impacts of economic integration; Impact and roles of economic actors and people and general; Cross-border economic concerns and ASEAN’s capability to deal with them; Sustainable production and consumption, energy and development; Regional response to the economic crisis.

Environmental Cluster:   Large-scale development projects that lead to the environment and livelihood destruction; ASEAN position and action plan on climate change; Biodiversity, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sovereignty.

Political Security Cluster:   Challenges in the implementation of the political security community, conflict resolutions, human rights and democracy in ASEAN

It is anticipated that the ASEAN leaders will agree to another interface meeting with a group of representatives from the APF II / ACSC V at the beginning of their summit meeting on October 23, 2009, so that the peoples’ recommendations from the forum can be submitted directly, hopefully also to be discussed, in the interface meeting.

The APF II / ACSC V will be a 3-day open forum for around 500 representatives of Southeast Asian civil society groups, including 260 from the host country. The Regent Beach Cha-am Resort, being in the same neighbourhood as the venue of the ASEAN summit, has been selected as the venue in order to facilitate the attendance of the ASEAN government officials in our proposed dialogue. Participants can be accommodated at the same Resort at discounted price. The schedule of the whole event and the concept notes of the 4 clusters of dialogue are being finalized. All the program and logistic details will be available for perusal on the website by September 22, 2009.

Due to the space limit, all interested groups are requested to register ahead of time starting from September 22 at the website  Registration will close as soon as the available spaces are filled.

We do hope to see you all in Cha-am!

Joint Thai-Regional Working Group on ASEAN Peoples’ Forum:

–    NGO Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO-COD), Thailand
–    People’s Empowerment Foundation, Thailand
–    Sustainable Agriculture Foundation, Thailand
–    Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS), Thailand
–    Altsean-Burma
–    Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia)
–    Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
–    Focus on the Global South (Focus)
–    Southeast Asia Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)
–    Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA)
–    Union Network International, Asia-Pacific Regional Office (UNI-APRO)