The AEPF Governance and Structures provide the framework how we strengthen the AEPF and enable greater clarity and transparency in decision making.
The Charter of the Asia Europe People’s Forum provides our reference point and the fundamental basis for how we work and what we aim to do.
The International Organising Committee (IOC) coordinates the activities of the AEPF. It initially consisted of civil society organisations and social movements that organised the first AEPF in Bangkok in 1996. Since then, members have been added, mainly coming from countries where succeeding forums were held.
The IOC works with a National Organising Committee (NOC), which is also composed of people’s organisations, in 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. The AEPF has coordinating organizations in each region — in Asia, this is Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ) in Jakarta, and Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (Malaysia); in Europe, it is Stiftung Asienhaus (Germany). In-between the biennial People’s Forums, AEPF is active through geographical and thematic circles. At this time, the Philippines and Indonesia have active geographical circles.
Thematic circles are organised around issues relating to:
The AEPF structure is aimed at enabling places and spaces for all who wish to be part of the AEPF. The AEPF should be a space for open and democratic debate and exchange providing the possibility for networking of people’s movements in Asia and Europe for joint actions which include lobbying the ASEM and related institutions and the European Union’s agenda in Asia.
The AEPF is not only ASEM-related but focuses on broader Asia-Europe relations. Therefore we are not the ASEM Peoples Forum but the Asia Europe People’s Forum.
We believe that the AEPF is inclusive and transparent, democratic and open. We are working towards a series of linked circles of two types:
FACILITATING STRUCTURES OF THE AEPF
We aim to strengthen solidarity between peoples of Asia and Europe.
We note that:
The Circles are the foundation of our structures.
Types of circles
There are two types of Circles envisaged
- Geographical and
- Thematic Circles.
Geographical Circles are envisaged at a minimum of three levels
Different areas of work can generate different Thematic Circles. These can also exist at the three geographical levels if appropriate. They are likely to be established first at the international and regional levels. As activity and interest is developed then connected national circles might be developed.
A member of a Thematic circle would be elected to be the link person for that area of work or activity from their circle to national/regional circles and/or the IOC.
Members of Thematic circles have the obligation and responsibility to share their work with other members of their national or regional circle.
Linking of Circles
One of the most important parts of the structure is the way in which circles link together. Each circle will elect a member to be the link person to other appropriate circles. This could be between two different thematic circles or between a thematic and geographical circle. The linking has many roles and responsibilities. It is key to enabling the AEPF to be more comprehensive and to making sure that the geographic and thematic circles share their ideas and activities. The links can also enable us to join and co-operate with other movements and networks.
Many individuals and organisations involved in the AEPF across the world are already involved in specific advocacy work. The AEPF aims not only to generate credible people centred alternatives but also to recognise, collate and endorse such alternatives that emerged before and after the Asia Europe People’s Forums and that will emerge in the future. Some are linked to the AEPF and others are independent. The structure ensures that they have a place for this to continue, to be able to share this better with other activists and to link with other people and organisations engaged in complementary activity.
The Geographical Circles are based on joining regional and eventually national circles.
The initial regions are
Through discussion, consultation and evolution we will be able to evolve a regionalization which reflects what each region feels is a viable and a positive contribution to the AEPF.
The IOC should encourage where feasible the development of national circles and for them to link with regional circles. National circles can be established by organisations and movements working on Asia-Europe issues coming together. A national circle will need to apply to the Regional circle for recognition. The Regional circle will then forward this application to the IOC which needs to agree the recognition of a national circle. They can develop their own specific ways of working. These should recognise the principles stated earlier. A national circle should also
There are two Focal Points for the AEPF International Organising Committee, one in Europe and one in Asia. They play an important role in catalysing and facilitating the different circles and their inter-relationships. The Focal Points can rotate after an agreed period if this was felt to be desirable and feasible. The role and functions of the Focal Points are outlined below.
AEPF International Organising Committee
The AEPF International Organising Committee (AEPF IOC) is the reference body for the AEPF.
The IOC has up to sixteen members – six from Asia based organizations and six from Europe based organizations and up to two regional networks per region.
The size and composition of the IOC is reviewed every two years.
In principle there is an aim to have a balance of members from Asia and Europe.
Membership is for organizations and networks supporting the Charter. It is not for individuals. There is no more than one national organization per country on the IOC. Regional organizations like Forum Asia and Focus on the Global South can be IOC members as regional networks.
In each region there should be no more than two regional networks who are members of the IOC. This means that the maximum number of members of the IOC is at present 16.
The IOC was initially constituted by organisations and networks that were committed to develop and strengthen the People’s Forum process since it began in 1996. They formalised this commitment and have subsequently enlarged the IOC.
Current members are
The membership and composition of the IOC is decided by the IOC
The Composition of the IOC, including the organisational memberships and names of representatives on the IOC should be reviewed at an IOC meeting which should be held immediately after the bi-annual People’s Forum. This IOC meeting should also consider new applications for membership.
Criteria for application for IOC membership
Each prospective IOC member must
Membership of countries hosting People’s Forums
Every two years there shall be a People’s Forum held just before the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in the town or city which is hosting the ASEM summit. The IOC has co-organized this with a National Organizing Committee (NOC) formed in the hosting country. The individual People’s Forums are organized jointly by the IOC and the NOC with decision making between the IOC and NOC taking place on the basis of consensus and where necessary negotiated consensus. There will be an IOC meeting that inaugurates the preparations for the People’s Forum. From then up to and including the Forum the NOC will nominate one representative to be a member of the IOC. They will be member of the IOC until the IOC that is held after the People’s Forum. This representative will be the formal link between the IOC and the NOC. After the People’s Forum an organisation or network from the hosting country can, if they wish, apply to be a member of the IOC. Like all applicants any applicant from the People’s Forum hosting country must fulfil the pre-requisites for becoming a member of the IOC. The IOC will assess and decide on this application in the context of the IOC’s criteria.
Responsibilities of the IOC
The main responsibilities of the IOC are:
Frequency of Meetings
IOC meetings are convened by the focal points.
IOC meetings should take place at least once a year. At least one meeting a year should be a ‘face-to face’ meeting. Additional meetings can, where feasible, be by phone conference.
Regional Circle meetings should take place at least twice a year. One meeting a year should be a ‘face-to face’ meeting. Additional meetings can, where feasible, be by phone conference
One IOC meeting should be held immediately after a People’s Forum.
Quorum for an IOC meeting is 50% of both Asia and Europe members
This will be rounded up if there is an uneven number of regional members. Currently three members from each region will be considered as quorum.
There are no nominated/proxy votes.
The fundamental aim is decision making by consensus. This is a working principle of the AEPF IOC.
If consensus cannot be reached then an open vote will be taken on a proposed recommendation. This would be accepted if there is at least a two thirds majority voting for it. To be accepted the vote in favour must be at least two thirds of both Asia and Europe members present. If requested objections to a decision can be minuted.
Meetings, including skype meetings, will be minuted.
Minutes will be circulated within two weeks of day of or closing day of the IOC meeting. They will be agreed by participants within a subsequent four weeks with any written amendments being submitted within this time frame. If no comments are received within the four weeks from when the minutes have been circulated, they will be considered accepted. Final minutes will then be circulated to all IOC members. If requested reservations or objections to a decision can be included in the minutes.
An IOC Meeting should be called with at least six weeks notice to members for a physical meeting.
Meetings are in principle open for observers to attend on a case by case basis to be agreed by the IOC.
Urgent actions can require a telephone conference which requires one weeks notice.
The AEPF and the AEPF IOC do not have a legal identity in itself.
Delegation of Responsibilities
IOC can agree the delegation of responsibilities
There are two main types of Thematic circles
a) Working Circles- to enable the development and strengthening of the AEPF
- Drawing up the thematic statement about the aims and focus of the forum, including a working name;
- Agreeing timing, location, venue(s), accommodation;
- Agreeing processes for developing a programme including its structure (Plenaries/workshops/public events etc.), number of days and main content;
The IOC and NOC will agree lines of communication and decision making, including levels of decision making, between the NOC and IOC;
The People’s Forum
Every two years we organise a People’s Forum as an Alternative Summit to the ASEM. Based on shared struggles, work and experiences, priority issues have been:
- Participatory democracy and human rights
- Peace and security
- Social and economic rights
- Environmental justice and sustainability
Although organising People’s Forums held in parallel to official Summits is neither the beginning nor the end of the network’s activities and agenda, the holding of these alternative summits does provide key opportunities for strengthening and consolidating the work of the network and for making it visible.
The People’s Forum is
An event that precedes the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM)
It will be held in the ASEM town/city of the host country as close in time to the ASEM as possible
It focuses on Asia-Europe relations but does not limit itself to either the ASEM agenda or ASEM member countries
It is open to social movements, organisations, networks and individuals who support the AEPF Charter and who are committed in taking it forward
It welcomes participants from ASEM member countries and non-ASEM member countries in Asia and Europe
It can invite speakers to contribute to discussions and reflections on the themes of the Forum from anywhere.
Governance and Structures of the Asia Europe People’s Forum
Agreed by IOC
AEPF11 is financially supported by the ASEM Dialogue Facility of the European Commission and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Update of this Website for AEPF11 has been made possible by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Germany.
The views at the AEPF11 and in its related documents are those of the participating organisations.