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1996-2006: Former AEPF

1. HISTORY

1. History of AEPF I-VI

Parallel to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) has been held for six times. The following is a brief introduction of the history of the past AEPFs.

I AEPF 1996

The first Asia-Europe People’s Forum was held in Bangkok on February 27-29, 1996, and was called the first Joint Asia-Europe NGO Conference then. The current name Asia-Europe People’s Forum was adopted in 1997. The theme is “Beyond Geo-politics and Geo-Economics: Towards a New Relationship between Asia and Europe”. Over 350 representatives from 100 people’s organizations and NGOs participated in this conference and submitted a final document entitled Recommendations to the ASEM from the Asia Europe NGO Conference on the Future of Asian European Nations to ASEM 1.

II AEPF 1998

The second Asia-Europe People’s Forum, with the theme “ASEM and Crisis: People’s Realities and People’s Responses”, took place in London on March 31-April 1, 1998 . Over 300 representatives from more than 150 civil society groups in the world attended this forum.

III AEPF 2000

The third Asia-Europe People’s Forum was held in Seoul on October 17-21, 2000. The theme is “People’s Action and Solidarity Challenging Globalization”. More than 800 participants from 33 countries attended this forum and approved A People’s Vision-Towards a More Just, Equal and Sustainable World, which later serves as the guideline of AEPF, and submitted it to ASEM 3.

IV AEPF 2002

The fourth Asia-Europe People’s Forum took place on September 19-22, 2002 in Copenhagen. The title of the forum is “Asem4people”. Over 600 representatives from more than 30 countries participated in this forum. The forum approved a statement entitled Human Rights, People’s Security, and Sustainable Development Under Attack-No to Militarisation and Unfair Trade and submitted it to ASEM 4.

V ARPF 2004

The fifth Asia-Europe People’s Forum took place in Hanoi on September 6-9, 2004. The theme is “People’s actions for human security in Asia and Europe”. Over 500 representatives from more than 40 countries attended the forum, approved a final statement and submitted it to ASEM 5.

VI AEPF 2006

The sixth Asia-Europe People’s Forum took place in Helsinki on September 3-6, 2006. The theme is “People’s Vision-Building Solidarity across Asia and Europe”. Over 450 representatives from more than 40 countries attended the forum, adopted a final declaration and submitted it to ASEM 6.

VII AEPF 2008

2. CHARTER

2. Charter of AEPF

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 of dialogue, cooperation and solidarity. A first convergence of these networks came together in the Asia-Europe Conference which was organised in Bangkok in February 1996 on the occasion of the Asia Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM) 1. The Bangkok Conference concluded by launching an Asia-Europe civil society initiative which was named the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) in 1997. As it developed, the AEPF has sustained information, education and constituency building initiatives and it has also organized People’s Conferences in London (1998), Seoul (2002), Copenhagen (2002) and Hanoi (2004) preceding the ASEM intergovernmental meeting.

Preamble

From its beginnings, the AEPF has provided a space for social actors in each region to:

  • strengthen network building on a national and regional level and undertake cross-regional initiatives and campaigns
  • analyse issues of common interest such as security, militarisation and neo-liberal globalisation and its consequences for the peoples in each region and how these issues relate to global economic and political trends
  • provide people’s organizations and networks with a channel for critical engagement with official ASEM

In 1998, a ‘People’s Vision towards a more just, equal and sustainable world’ was elaborated and widely endorsed by hundreds of people’s organisations and networks. It was later revised and endorsed at the ASEM 2000 Peoples Forum in Seoul. People’s Charter

Our People’s Charter of principles underpins the ways of working and practice of the Asia Europe People’s Forum.

Therefore we, the participants in and supporters of the Asia Europe People’s Forum, declare that:

We support the:
  • promotion of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights as agreed in international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
  • promotion of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable patterns of development; greater economic and social equity and justice including equality between men and women, and active participation of people’s organisations and networks in the ASEM process.

We demand that the ASEM process recognize and respond to people’s needs and rights and become more transparent and accountable to national parliaments.

We state that:
  • the AEPF’s purpose is to engage and advocate for change in Asia and Europe, including in the overall ASEM process and to reflect social issues and people’s concerns,
  • the alternatives proposed by the AEPF stand in opposition to the current paradigm of globalisation dominated by financial capital and transnational corporations in their search for profit and power without consideration for equity and the environment, and by governments and international institutions which are increasingly serving corporate interests,
  • the alternatives being pursued by AEPF in co-operation with people’s organisations and networks designed to ensure that a globalised solidarity between people and people’s organisations will be at the centre of a new stage in world history.
We respect:
  • universal human rights,
  • the rights of all women, men and children.

We will work for the protection of the environment and will found our actions on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality, peace and the sovereignty of peoples in Europe and Asia.

We affirm that:
  • the AEPF is an open space for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals and networking for effective actions by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by corporate power and any form of imperialism,
  • the AEPF is an inter-regional process between Europe and Asia - all the meetings that are held as part of this process have an inter-regional dimension,
  • the AEPF is a plural, diverse, non-sectarian and non-governmental space that, in a decentralised fashion, interrelates organisations and movements engaged in concrete actions and initiatives,
  • the AEPF wants to build relationships, dialogue, shared analysis and action between progressive organisations in Asia and Europe. The AEPF brings together and interlinks active citizens organisations and movements from all countries in Europe and Asia,
  • the AEPF welcomes and participates in the World Social Forum and the Regional and National Social Forum processes associated with it. Neither government nor military organisations shall participate in the AEPF.

The Proposed organisational framework and policy for the AEPF network and AEPF biennial Forum are set out in the AEPF network structure.

3. ORGANIZATION

3. AEPF International Organising Committee

The AEPF International Organising Committee (AEPF IOC) is the reference body for the AEPF.

Current members are

Asia

  • Institute for Popular Democracy (The Philippines)
  • Focus on the Global South (Asia Regional)
  • Forum Asia (Asia Regional)
  • Monitoring Sustainability of globalisatioN MSN (Malaysia)
  • Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation (Vietnam)
  • IPGI (Indonesia)

Europe

  • Transnational Institute (The Netherlands)
  • Asia House (Germany)
  • One World Action (United Kingdom)
  • Development and Civilization Lebret-Irfed (France)
  • Finnish AEPF Committee nominated organization from Finland
  • 11 11 11 (Flanders/Belgium)

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