Kathmandu, 27 March 2010
Around 50 representatives belonging to the Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacies (SAPA) call on greater interaction and solidarity among regional groups to address common concerns. In a public forum on “The Asian Challenge: Forging Solidarity, Building Alternatives” on March 26 in the Everest Hotel, SAPA members discussed the multiple crises experienced in Asia – in the economy; in the environment and the climate; and in peace, democracy, human rights and self-determination.
Mr. T. Jayaraman of the Tata Institute in India said that the twin crisis of the climate and the economy requires innovative solutions that challenge the way we organize our economies and our consumption pattern. We cannot solve the problem with a business-as-usual attitude. The issue of self-determination is a regional concern that implies not only the presence of wars and conflicts, but also raises basic questions about nation-building, the role of the state, and identity. Mr. Sammy Gamboa of the Initiative for International Dialogue said that the important challenge for people’s movements is in mobilizing to support people’s struggles on the ground.
According to Ms. Meena Menon of Focus on the Global South, South Asian groups can learn from the relative success of Southeast Asian groups in doing advocacy at the level of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Still, she said that Southeast Asian groups can be inspired by the level of South Asian identity that has been reached in the sub-region.
The public forum ended in a positive note, with participants agreeing to continue the discussion and striving for common action. The Southeast Asian participants, for instance, were invited to join the People’s SAARC process that will take place in April.
The public forum is part of the two-day General Forum of SAPA, where membership and network issues are also discussed. SAPA is a common platform for communication, consultation and coordination among Asian social movements and civil society organizations engaged in action and reflection for advocacy and campaigning with inter-governmental bodies and processes. SAPA operates through different Working Groups to focus on specific issues like human rights, migration and labor, and rural development. Other Working Groups organize around defined processes like the ASEAN; or around geographical emphasis (South Asia, Northeast Asia).
Subodh Raj Pyakurel (INSEC) +977 985 1026841
William Gois (Migrant Forum in Asia) +63 920 9600916
Jenina Joy Chavez (Focus on the Global South) +63 918 9026716