Tag Archive for: asia pacific

Cross-regional mega-FTAs are now being preferred over bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements as imperialist powers compete for cheap labor, sources of raw materials, and markets. Workers of the South are set to bear much of the brunt of this shift, as new sets of trade rules would further permit monopoly capitalists to dictate the cheapest value of labor and other production facilities, and disregard decent standards, to accumulate bigger profit.

Download EILER’s briefer “Mega-FTAs and its implications on Asian Workers” written by Rochel Porras and Otto de Vries to read more on the potential impacts of RCEP and other mega-FTAs on the region’s labor sector. Get a copy here.

20 February 2015

Contact: Eni Lestari
Migrants Constituency, AP Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism
Chairperson, International Migrants Alliance

Include develop justice into this declaration – if not, please tell me where I should go to achieve it.

This was the challenge posed by Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and member of the migrants constituency of the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM), to Member States of the United Nations during the Interactive Dialogue with Major Groups and other Stakeholders.

AP-RCEM is a platform initiated, owned and driven by CSOs that aims for a stronger cross constituency coordination and ensure that voices of all sub-regions of Asia Pacific are heard in intergovernmental processes in regional and global level.

Since the AP-RCEM’s formation in May 2014, it has reached out to a broad number of CSOs and grassroots organizations such as the IMA for a more coordinated and effective engagement in various intergovernmental meetings.

Lestari was among those chosen by the Steering Committee for the participation of stakeholders to speak in the dialogue.

The dialogue served as the venue for civil society organizations to engage during the second negotiating session for the Post-2015 development agenda.

Lestari grounded her speech on her experience as a migrant worker, woman, and one whose life has been turned around due to the impacts of globalization and neoliberal policies implemented in Indonesia. She was forced to migrate due to falling livelihood of her family.

“Similar to others, I quickly found out that the promises of a better income and future were just fiction,” she remarked.

Based on her experience and the numerous more women and migrant workers, Lestari said that the post-2015 political declaration must lay out commitment and show the way to dismantle flawed global economic system.

“It must lay out a vision for new global, truly democratic economic and political systems that are just, sustainable and equitable. We call this development justice,” she added.

Lestari then outlined the basic shifts that development justice requires: redistribution of wealth, resources and power; economic justice that requires a system that does not rely on forced migration and cheap labor; gender and social justice that requires not only gender equality, health and wellbeing but also ending patriarchy; environmental justice that calls to make the planet habitable especially for the marginalized, and; accountability that calls for governments to realize their commitments.

Finally, Lestari issued the challenge for member states to commit to this kind of justice to usher in a truly equitable, sustainable and human-rights based development.#


Below is Eni’s speech at the Interactive Dialogue

Delivered on behalf of the Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) and the International Migrants Alliance

I am speaking on behalf of the Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism and the International Migrants Alliance to ensure that the voice of the most affected and the most marginalized by the current development model are heard.

I am a migrant domestic worker. We are amongst the most exploited and most abused workers.
Like most of you,I alsowanted education, prosperity and dignity. But globalization and neoliberal dictates that exposed Indonesia to serious crisis, threatened the security and survival of my family leaving me with no choice but to migrate for work. Similar to others, I quickly found that the promises of a better income and future were just fiction. Debt, exploitation and the denial of human rights are the realities of a system that promotes export and exploitation of migrant labor.

What does this mean for the post2015 Political Declaration?

It means laying out a commitment and a pathway to dismantle the foundations of the global economic system that promotes inequality, forced migration and dependency on cheap labor.
It must lay out a vision for new global, truly democratic economic and political systems that are just, sustainable and equitable.

We call this DEVELOPMENT JUSTICE that I call on you to incorporate in the political declaration.
This means that you must acknowledge that the current system depends on and produces injustice, and commit to remedying it.

To deliver this, all five foundational shifts must be incorporated.

– First, redistributive justice that redistributes wealth, power, resources and opportunities between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women. Your declaration must commit to democratization of global institutions and power; dismantle unfair trade, finance and investment systems; and commit to fairer redistribution of land and to land reforms that benefit small farmers and communities.
– Second, economic justice that means building economies based on solidarity, sharing and justice; and equally value the labour and contributions of all people. It must not rely on the remittances and exploitation of migrant workers.
– Third is environmental justice that aims tomake this planet habitable for all people, particularly the most marginalized, now and in the future.
– Fourth, gender and social justice that does not only promote gender equality, but seeks to end patriarchy and the systems that ensure women are cheap or unpaid labour, in the market and at home.
– Fifth, accountability to the people ensures that this process makes governments finally accountable for the commitments they have repeatedly made and repeatedly denied to the billions of people.

I hope that you can honour not just my request butthe demands of migrants and women like me. Please be ambitious, be brave, be honourable and be just. Incorporate Development Justice into this declaration – if not, please tell me where I should go to achieve it.


NOTE: This Communique is the outcome of the Asia Pacific People’s Conference on Development Justice: APRN Biennial Conference 2014. You may also download the document here: APRN Conference on Development Justice – Communique.


We, coming from 65 organizations from 16 countries across Asia– from Australia, Bangladesh, China and Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, and representing peasants, agricultural workers, women particularly Dalit, landless women, rural and urban poor, fisher folk, migrants, indigenous peoples, workers and support NGOs and networks came together in Hong Kong SAR, China on August 31 to September 3, 2014 for the Asia Pacific People’s Conference on Development Justice.

We have consolidated and agreed on our understanding of development justice vis-à-vis people’s demands, and critically analyzed the global processes within the post-2015 development agenda and their emerging outcomes at the grassroots, national, and international levels.

We conclude that inequality, poverty, exclusion, ecological destruction, violence, genocide and war are but symptoms of systemic and structural injustice, oppression, and hegemonic expansion carried out through unequal systems of trade and debt, official development assistance, as well as the furtherance of patriarchy and neocolonialism.

The new development agenda being crafted in the post-2015 process will not deliver genuine justice and lasting peace unless and until it breaks free from the failed neoliberal framework of development, where corporate interests trump the people’s interests. Rich countries are withdrawing from addressing structural issues and making financial and other significant commitments to development, thus promoting the role of corporations in financing and shaping the agenda, and slowly abandoning their accountability to the people they should serve.

Transnational corporations in collusion with states to expand and strengthen their power and intensify the process of globalization and revitalize the crisis-ridden capitalist growth model dominate the post-2015 development agenda. Big businesses have been actively staking a claim in setting the post-2015 agenda in order to take advantage of enormous investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy, extractive industries, technology, agriculture, natural resources including water, land, and seeds, construction, health, education, labor and other sectors, undermining and violating human rights and increasing inequalities. Through public-private partnerships, they are securing public monies and resources to subsidize and socialize the risks associated with their investments for even more private profits. They are hyping their commitment to social and environmental goals in order to strengthen brand credentials, build customer loyalty and attract more investments. They set voluntary standards and procedures while rejecting mandatory regulations that can hold them to account for their abuses of peoples’ rights and the environment. Corporations are co-opting official spaces discussing sustainable development and climate change to arrest possible steps that would hinder the full commodification of natural resources, through the so-called green economy.

Migrants’ labor and their remittances are also instrumentalized to finance development, which lead to more institutionalization of forced migration from LDCs and underdeveloped countries.

This is not an agenda that will deliver justice and genuine change.

We call for justice, for Development Justice – a just and transformative framework for development that promotes people’s rights, dignity, wellbeing, solidarity and equality (within and between countries, between rich and poor, between men and women), peace and security and respect for culture while keeping within the earth’s carrying capacity.

It is through Redistributive Justice, through the establishment of people’s access, control, and ownership of resources, wealth, power and opportunities that all human beings can live equitably and in harmony with nature. A genuine agenda for development must dismantle existing systems that have historically plundered and continuously channel resources and wealth from developing countries to wealthy countries, from the working masses to the elites within society.

End foreign control and plunder of our resources to achieve Economic Justice and build self-sufficient economies that uphold public interests over private profit, and support decent work and living wage for all. This will develop enable dignified lives, accommodate for needs and facilitate capabilities, employment and livelihoods available to all, and is not based on exploitation of people or natural resources or environmental destruction. The people’s right to determine their own economic development based on the needs and resources must be upheld, not dictated by existing international structures used by corporations, in connivance with capitalist states.

We call for Social Justice, by recognising the need to eliminate the patriarchal system, deliver gender justice and challenging and eliminating all forms of violence, discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion which exist between nations, within communities, and between men and women. We call for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and marginalization on the basis of gender and preferred sexuality, of race, color, and ethnicity, of work, livelihood and social status, and more importantly, of class and economic background. We uphold and call for the protection of the right to self-determination of nations and peoples against infraction by policies set by foreign and local ruling elites to maintain their dominance and control over resources.

We recognize that the people are part of the environment and are responsible for the ecological crisis that resulted from dominant development model that plunders the Earth’s resources. However, some are more responsible than others. We call for Ecological Justice that recognizes the historical responsibility of countries and elites within countries whose production, consumption and extraction patterns have led to sufferings, human rights violations, global warming and environmental disasters and compels them to alleviate and compensate those with the least culpability but who suffer the most: farmers, fishers, women and children, workers, migrants, landless peoples, indigenous peoples and marginalized groups of the Global South. We call for a binding agreement that will ensure governments’, especially those from the Global North, to meaningful reduction of GHG emissions, climate finance, and technology transfer among other based on human rights and the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

We call for action to hold power-holders, particularly governments, corporations, and international financial institutions (IFIs) accountable to people to realize and uphold peoples’ demands for democratic and just governments. We call for corporations and IFIs to be monitored and be held accountable for their abuses. Transparency and governance at all levels that uphold the people’s right to self-determination to enable people to make informed decisions over their own lives, communities and futures are prerequisites to realize a just development agenda.

We commit ourselves and we enjoin others to intensify the struggle for the profound transformation of society to realize development justice especially for the marginalized and oppressed peoples of the world. Anything less from governments, corporations and global society is unacceptable.

Components of the Advocacy Road Map to Amplify our Calls to Development Justice

In order to move forward and strengthen our calls for development justice, we need a campaign and advocacy roadmap that will guide our critical engagement from September 2014 to September 2015 and beyond. This advocacy roadmap will contain the following components:

Supporting movement building by and influencing public discourse

  • Creating spaces for CSOs and grassroots sharing of information and experiences
  • Supporting grassroots mobilizations and actions
  • Popularizing critical analysis of the emerging post-2015 development agenda as crafted by corporates and governments
  • Opening up spaces andpushing an enabling environment for peoples voices to be heard

Linking National Level Advocacies to the Global and vice versa

  • Engage appropriate and strategic local, national, regional, global mechanisms for participation
  • Maximize existing and come up with creative spaces to hold governments and TNCs accountable (ex. People’s Tribunals, UNHRC resolution on TNC)
  • Monitor the commitments made by governments and aid agencies to the 17 goals and critique

Research Needs

  • Research on corporate power
  1. Analysis of the implications of the emerging post-2015 corporate development agenda for peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, women, youth, dalits, migrants, and other sectors as well as the environment
  2. Deeper analysis of the development of corporate power or what enables their power including the role of the state and international institutions
  3. Research on green washing initiatives by private sector in collusion with governments to make greed economy more palatable
  • Research on impacts
  1. Documentations of forms of resistance to the violations of people’s rights
  2. Connections between current trade negotiations and peoples’ livelihoods
  3. Country researches on the relationship of migration and development
  • Research on best practices in countries
  1. People’s initiatives to hold governments and corporations accountable, linked to the failure of the development goals to help social movements
  2. Community best practices on sustainable production and consumption, including health impacts
  3. Existing alternatives
  4. Legal reforms and their implementation at the regional/international level
  • Research on the paradigm of remittance, ODA, FDIs

Capacity Development Needs

  • Build skills and capacity on doing communications and advocacy.
  • Framing messages for different audiences
  • Build CSOs and grassroots’ capacity in doing research
  • Direct participation in engagements

Advocacy Tools

  • Create popular materials for education
  1. Popularize critique of the emerging post-2015 corporate development agenda and provide easily digestible materials that grassroots organizations can identify with
  • Use the different media channels; e.g. maximize (free) social media.

Key Moments of Engagements

  • UNGA in New York – September 2014
  • Peoples’ General Assembly September 24, 2014
  • People’s Climate March – September 2014
  • Rural Women’s Day -October 15, 2014
  • World Foodless Day-October 16, 2014
  • Beijing+20 Conference – November 15-19, 2014
  • Pre-COP in Venezuela – November 2014
  • G20 Meeting – November 15 and 16 2014
  • World Social Forum on Migration-December 2014
  • COP 19 in Lima, Peru – December 2014
  • Commission on the Status of Women-March 2015
  • COP 20 in Paris – 2015
  • ASEAN Peoples Forum in Malaysia, May 2015