More than 80 members of civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged Member States of the UN ESCAP for the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2017 at the UN Conference Center in Bangkok, Thailand on March 29 to 31.
With the theme “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing Asia-Pacific”, the forum aimed to serve a venue for dialogue on (1) Regional perspectives on the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including in depth review of the theme and SDGs: 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14 and 17, the cluster of goals to be discussed by the High-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) in 2017; and (2) Strengthening implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific, including the consideration of a draft regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, with a view to strengthening implementation efforts.
CSOs spoke in the various plenaries and roundtable discussions during the APFSD 2017. Positions taken during the CSO forum held prior to the APFSD were delivered by representatives from various sectoral organizations including farmers, people with disability, workers, fisherfolks and others.
In a statement by the NGO Constituency of the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM), CSOs expressed their concern on the Regional Roadmap that was upheld by the APFSD.
The roadmap, according to them, “has weakened considerably from last year’s version, and we are alarmed to see absence of any concrete doables and deliverables. There are glaring gaps, for example on trade.”
Other critical issues that the APRCEM said the roadmap is silent on include science and technology, trade, tax and illicit financial flows, and official development assistance. The platform also pointed out that the prevailing , fundamentalisms, patriarchy, militarization and lack of accountability, limit opportunities for women and girls to further realize their full potential.
Meanwhile, indigenous people’s reinforced the sentiment by pointing out the absence of any mention of the sector in the roadmap and, instead, just focusing on “resource efficiency” under the theme of management of natural resources.
“Indigenous peoples in this region have been, for centuries, severely impacted by massive land and resource grabbing. We demand the government of Asia Pacific region to recognize our collective rights to our lands, territories and resources and to recognize the importance of our traditional livelihoods and occupations in the regional roadmap,” remarked Patricia Wattimena of the IP constituency and the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP).