Focus on the Global South releases the 4th edition of Focus Newsletter, which tackles the issue of democracy in Asia and its different facets--elections, constitutions, (extreme) nationalism, populism, majoritarian rule, press freedom. Why democracy? As our editorial says: "Across South and Southeast Asia, concepts of democracy, justice, and human rights are facing contestation, re-interpretation, and selective application." Through this edition of the newsletter, we hope to contribute not only to discourse but also to the shaping of solutions & alternatives.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), a mega-regional free trade agreement being negotiated by the 10-member ASEAN regional bloc and its FTA partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand held its 18th round of talks May 2-12 in Manila, Philippines. The RCEP talks gained more prominence recently in the wake of the US’ withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA and the strong push from countries like Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to bring TPP standards to the RCEP negotiating table.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the second largest source of development finance in the Asia-Pacific region, next to the World Bank Group. In the last five decades, the ADB has moved more than USD 250 billion in a bid to promote economic growth, facilitate regional trade integration, and expand opportunities. However, for many civil society groups, social movements, and communities affected by ADB financing, the institution has been an agent of inequitable development, fostering inequalities and mis-governance.
Gloria Capitan, anti-coal activist from the Philippines; Mr. Kem Ley, social/political analyst from Cambodia; Melon Barcia, peasant leader from the Philippines. All felled by an assassin's gun.
Den Kamlae, land rights activist from Thailand; Sombath Somphone, development worker from Laos; Jonas Burgos, farmer and political activist from the Philippines. All forcibly disappeared.
Apung Tony and Ka Rolly, peasant leaders. Incarcerated because of their advocacies.
Here is the latest Focus on the Global South newsletter tackling the most important issues in COP 21, and beyond.