More than 150 civil society organizations (CSOs) from across the Asia-Pacific region participated in the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development from March 26 to 28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
With the theme Prosperity for Whom?: Asserting Development Justice in a Changing Asia and Pacific, the forum – organized by the Asia Pacific Regional Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM), UN ESCAP and the UN Environment – took inspiration from past CSO forums that successfully united a broad number of organizations in advocating for development justice as a development framework in the region.
Specifically, the forum aimed to: 1. Inform and capacitate participants on global and regional processes on sustainable development and how to engage them; 2. Provide a space for dialogue on the structure and content of the APFSD and upcoming UNEA-3, formulate joint civil society positions and strategize interventions at the APFSD; 3. Facilitate sharing and exchange on critical issues; 4. Reflect on the work of APRCEM, and; 5. Agree on joint actions and follow up to civil society positions adopted.
In its Declaration, forum participants stated that: “Sustainable development remains a major concern for the people of Asia Pacific. Two years into the implementation of the Agenda 2030, CSOs still remain strongly concerned about the system that allows a few elite to amass wealth at the expense of the wider population.”
Participants also expressed concern that “Development Justice is continuously being sidelined in the region because of the worsening systemic drivers of unsustainable development that remain unresolved: unjust free trade and investment agreements, land and resources grabs, militarism and conflict, increasing corporate power and greed, and patriarchy and fundamentalism.”
The forum also formulated positions on the various goals that were tackled in the APSFD, on the Means of Implementation, the Regional Roadmap, and Follow Up and Review