AEPF is an interregional network of progressive civil society organisations across Asia and Europe. For the past fourteen years, AEPF has remained the only continuing network linking Asian and European NGOs and social movements. It has assumed the unique function of fostering people's solidarity across the two regions and has become a vehicle for advancing the people's voice within Asia-Europe relations.

 

Since its beginning, AEPF has provided a space for social actors in each region to: How did the AEPF begin?
  • Strengthen network building at the national and regional levels in order to undertake cross- regional initiatives and campaigns;
  • Analyse issues of common interest such as security, development and neo-liberal globalisation and their impact on peoples in each region in order to come up with visions and strategies for alternative futures;
  • Provide people's organisations and networks with a channel for critical engagement with the institutions and policies of ASEM-member countries.

In 1998, hundreds of people's organisations and networks across Asia and Europe endorsed the "People's Vision Towards a More Just, Equal and Sustainable World," which was later revised and reaffirmed at the ASEM 2000 People's Forum in Seoul. In December 2005, the AEPF Charter of Principles was adopted.

AEPF emerged in the mid-1990s from a common desire and need among people's organisations and networks across Asia and Europe to open up new venues for dialogue, cooperation and solidarity.

The first AEPF interregional conference was organised in 1996 during the first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Bangkok. ASEM is the official meeting between heads of state of the European Union and 16 Asian countries. Since then, AEPF has been holding a biennial alternative ASEM summit called People's Forum.

Succeeding people's forums were held in London (1998), Korea (2000), Denmark (2002), Vietnam (2004), Finland (2006), China (2008), Belgium (2010), Laos (2012), and Italy (2014).

The next ASEM will be held in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,, where the 11th AEPF People's Forum will also take place. The AEPF network has expanded over the years and has mobilised new organisations from AEPF host countries and, recently, from South Asia and Eastern Europe.

 

 

Who are we and what are our objectives?

The purpose of the AEPF is to contribute to the realisation of a world based on the principles of peace, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice, human rights, and people's rights to self-determination. The AEPF is a space to link visions of, and struggles for alternative futures.

The formation of AEPF opened a new chapter in people to people relations among civil society organisations in Asia and Europe. Social actors from both regions recognise the growing significance of inter-governmental relations between Asia and Europe and the necessity to develop new political and organizational responses.

The AEPF has positioned itself as a space for political mobilisation at the interregional level. It seeks to develop alternatives to neo-liberal policies in both regions—in particular, the market-driven policies that are inimical to the aspirations for peace, development and well-being of the peoples of Asia and Europe. Moreover, the collective and coordinated actions of the AEPF enable the peoples of both regions to influence policies on Asia-Europe relations at the national, regional and inter-regional levels.

What are the Forum's key initiatives?

The People's Forum, which is an alternative summit to ASEM, is held every other year. The biennial forums in the past years have given priority to issues under the main themes:

  • Participatory Democracy and Human Rights
  • Peace and Security
  • Social and Economic Rights
  • Environmental Justice

The People's Forum is neither the beginning nor the end of AEPF activities and agenda. This alternative forum highlights "the people" in Asia-Europe relations, provide opportunities for the exploration of shared interests for common action as well as the consolidation of the AEPF's endeavours. In between the biennial People's Forums, AEPF also carries out campaigns directed at national governments and constituencies of AEPF member organisations. These campaigns are also directed towards key regional, interregional and global bodies, such as the ASEAN, EU and ASEM.

Major Campaigns

AEPF is embarking on two major campaigns as part of its commitment to deepen the process of constructing alternative proposals based on solidarity and an equitable and complementary regional integration embedded in people's interests.

FTAs of the EU with Asia

In Europe, AEPF aims to contribute to a critical reflection and communication of the future of the European project. The European Constitution triggered a crisis and the EU's new strategy for a "Competitive Europe" not only represents an attack on the model of a "Social Europe," but also includes an aggressive pro-business agenda that promotes free trade agreements (FTAs) with regions in the South, which have far-reaching implications for development in, among others, Southeast Asia, Korea and India. In this light, AEPF has embarked on a campaign that develops joint strategies to halt the current negotiations seeking to implement FTAs of the EU with ASEAN, Korea and India.

"Reclaim People's Dignity"

The current financial and economic crisis – occurring alongside crises in food security, energy, and climate change – is causing 230 million to lose their jobs by the end of 2009 (ILO estimates)and pushing millions into deeper poverty and deprivation. What is unfolding now is a human rights crisis of global proportion. In this context, the AEPF has embarked into another major campaign, "Reclaim People's Dignity," which advances transformative social protection as a democratic and human rights response to the crisis. It asserts the people's right to live with dignity – in particular, it pursues the rights to employment, food, and access to essential services (health, housing, education, water, and electricity). Beyond these vital and practical demands, the campaign also addresses the concerns on equity, empowerment, and solidarity especially of the poor and marginalised sectors of society.

Structure of AEPF

The International Organising Committee (IOC) coordinates the activities of the AEPF. It initially consisted of civil society organisations and social movements that formed the first AEPF in Bangkok in 1996. Since then, members have been added, mainly coming from countries where the succeeding forums were held.

The IOC works with a National Organising Committee (NOC), which is also composed of people's organisations from the host country. The IOC and NOC, in cooperation with interested organisations in Asia and Europe, decide on the direction and content of the biennial forum.

AEPF has Coordinating Organisations in each region. In Asia, the Coordinating Organisations are the Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) based in the Philippines and the Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation based in Malaysia. The Coordinating Organization in Europe is Stiftung Asienhaus based in Germany.

In between the biennial people's forums, AEPF is active through thematic circles. At this time, the Philippines and Indonesia have active geographical circles. Thematic circles are organised around issues relating to Free Trade Agreements between the EU and Asia; Transformative Social Protection; Climate Justice; Water Justice; Participatory Democracy and Local Governance; and Alternative Regionalisms.

Contacts and Information
Coordinators for Asia Coordinator for Europe

Riza Damanik
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charles Santiago
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Uwe Hoering

uwe.hoering (a) asienhaus.de

AEPF Website: http://www.aepf.info

AEPF Archive: Alternative Regionalism Project of the Transnational Institute at http://www.tni.org.

AEPF developed e-lists on its major campaigns. If you wish to receive news on any of AEPF's campaigns, please contact:

  • Joseph PuruggananThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign
  • Maris dela CruzThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., "Reclaim People's Dignity" (Transformative Social Protection Campaign)
 

 

AEPF IOC MEMBERS
Asia Europe

Tina G. Ebro
Maris dela Cruz
(Operation Manager Asia)
Institute for Popular Democracy (Philippines)

Niabdulghafar 'Hamdee' Tohming
Focus on the Global South

Dong Huy Cuong
Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation (Vietnam)

Charles Santiago
Monitoring Sustainability of Globalization (Malaysia)

Willy D'acosta
Indian AEPF Committee

Evelyn Balais
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM Asia)

Uwe Hoering (AEPF coordinator Europe)
Stiftung Asienhaus (Germany)

Sally Russet
French AEPF Committee (France)

Andy Rutherford
FreshEyes (UK)

Kalle Sysikas
Timmis Sundmann

Finnish AEPF Committee (Finland)

Pietje Vervest
Transnational Institute (The Netherlands)

Tom Kucharz
Ecologistas en Accion (Spain)

 
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