ASEAN Peoples' Forum-4th ASEAN Civil Society Conference (Bangkok)

Vea las fotos de la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, ask 21 y 22 Julio 2009). Organizada por Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute .

Get the flash player here:

Watch the photos from the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, hospital Paraguay). Organised by Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

Watch the photos from the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, here
Paraguay). Organised by Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), purchase Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

Vea las fotos de la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, cure 21 y 22 Julio 2009). Organizada por Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute .

Get the flash player here:

Vea las fotos de la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009). Organizada por Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute .

Get the flash player here:


ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) – Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC IV)

20 – 22 February 2009

Bangkok, Thailand

Please visit the APF website ( for videos, photos, Conference proceedings, presentations, workshop summaries and other materials on the APF-ACSC IV.


VIEW THE STATEMENT of ASEAN Peoples’ Forum-Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference to the 14th ASEAN Summit (20 – 22 February 2009)

Statement of ASEAN Peoples’ Forum-Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference to the 14th ASEAN Summit (20 – 22 February 2009)

Advancing a Peoples’ ASEAN
Statement of the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum-Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference

20 – 22 February 2009
Bangkok, pill Thailand

We represent a group of more than 1,000 participants from the ASEAN region, and in solidarity with our friends and colleagues from all over the world, have come together at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, from 20th to 22nd of February 2009, for the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) – Fourth ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC IV).

We represent various community-based organisations, civil society organisations, NGOs, social movements of women, children and youths, person with disability, migrant workers, formal and informal workers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, peasants, small-scale fisher folk, stateless and vulnerable groups, and want to highlight the key concerns of people and communities in the region, which must be the focus of ASEAN work for it to be truly significant, meaningful and effective. We call on ASEAN and its member states to:

While strengthening our connection and advancing a Peoples’ ASEAN, following outcomes of the past three ACSC held in Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore, our three-day deliberations underscored challenges to be urgently and strategically addressed in the region.

Here are the key concerns of people and communities in ASEAN region; ASEAN must focus on these issues, for the association to be truly significant, meaningful and effective.


Deteriorating human rights situation and the persistence of intra-state conflict continue to undermine the political, and peace and security conditions in the ASEAN region. The situation is particularly alarming in Burma, with continuing arrests and detention of political prisoners, systematic human rights violations against ethnic minorities, among others, assaults on basic freedoms and rights, especially made stark during the Saffron Revolution and the events surrounding the Nargis cyclone disaster. While human rights violations escalate and remain unresolved, human rights defenders (HRDs) have been targeted and stripped of their freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

In view of the above, we call on ASEAN and its member states to:

– Ensure a transparent and inclusive process in the establishment of the ASEAN human rights body (ARHB), by ensuring the widest representation of organisations in the drafting, adoption, and implementation of its terms of reference. The AHRB must be guided by human rights principles of non-discrimination, self-determination, substantive equality, interdependence, inter-relatedness, universality, and indivisibility of human rights standards.

– Call for the High Level Panel on the establishment of the AHRB to make public the draft of the Terms of Reference on AHRB to ensure that the process will be transparent and participatory. The terms of reference of the AHRB should be explicit in its mandate to actively protect, not just promote, human rights in ASEAN.

– Ratify and implement key ILO Core Labour Standards and key UN human rights conventions, which should be reflected in national laws.

– Establish the special mechanism of protection for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), including women HRDs, in the AHRB, and develop national level protection mechanisms integrated in the mandate of the national human rights institutions, in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, including an individual complaint mechanism.

– Ensure that human rights and human security is guaranteed in all situations especially in conflict situation. Provide dispute prevention and resolution and address intra-state conflicts by having early warning system with the involvement of civil society groups.

– Create a regional peacekeeping and peace monitoring team that can be used to monitor armed conflicts in the region.

– Secure the release of all Burma’s political prisoners as a condition for the country to proceed forward to national reconciliation and democratisation process.

– Not to recognize or accept the legitimacy of the upcoming 2010 election which will entrench military rule in Burma, but urge the Burmese military junta to instead review the 2008 Constitution with the involvement of key stakeholders such as leaders of pro-democracy forces and ethnic groups.

– Ensure that the root causes of the Rohingya refugee crisis– the lack of democracy and human rights in Burma – is addressed by calling for a special emergency meeting of ASEAN governments to find a long lasting solution taking a human rights approach in dealing with refugees staying in ASEAN countries.

– Push for the cessation of attacks and exploitative policies against ethnic nationalities, the use of systematic rape as weapon and the use of child soldiers in Burma.

– Ratify and/or harmonise national laws with international human rights conventions and principles, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the ILO Multilateral Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Ensure that relevant provisions are implemented at the national level.

– Ensure that the rights of all workers and their families including migrant workers, especially women migrant workers and domestic workers regardless of their legal status, marital status, race, ethnicity, age, or religion, are recognised, protected, realised and fulfilled. All workers should also be given decent work and wages, the rights to organise and to form trade unions, collective bargaining, access to safe and affordable health services including reproductive health, occupational safety, social security, and protection from violence.

– Establish effective mechanisms for social security and worker protection, especially in times of crisis.

· Eliminate child labour and hazardous work in the region.

– Promote, implement, and protect the rights of migrant children and children of migrant workers. Access to nationality shall be guaranteed with no regard of their legal status.

– Involve civil society organisations and ensure transparency in the preparation of the ASEAN Convention on Combating Human Trafficking; ensure that the definition of human trafficking is in line with the Palermo Protocol; and protect and respect the rights of indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, refugees, child of migrant workers, and sex workers. ASEAN must also ensure that the redress, reparation, and reintegration process of trafficked persons are implemented from a rights based approach and urge responsibilities of ASEAN+3 countries pertaining to the protection of trafficked persons.

– Support the initiative on the international convention on the rights of peasants.

– Exert regional suasion and create mechanisms to solve border conflicts peacefully and without using military force. The rest of the ASEAN members shall be engaged in solving such disputes as well.


Education, health, heritage, culture and disaster management continue to be neglected areas in the region, with serious consequences to quality of life. Free and quality basic education is still not accessible to all children and youth in ASEAN, and a large number of adults are illiterate. Most ASEAN member states do not seriously allocate budget for education that will reach out to poor and marginalised sectors such as communities in armed conflict areas and emergency areas. ASEAN countries have yet to meet the minimum budget allocation for health despite the high prevalence of malnutrition, maternal mortality, and diseases. Disaster Management is done in an ad hoc way, focusing only on restoring livelihood but not addressing attendant problems such as land disputes and human rights violations, often rendering response ineffective, such as in the case of major disasters such as the Cyclone Nargis.

We call on ASEAN and its member states to:

– Draw up a long-term plan for disaster management, by involving local communities in programmes and creating a volunteer network that could be mobilised when there is an emergency. The disaster management plan should lead to a long-term rehabilitation and sustainable development for the community. Humanitarian efforts should also be transparent and accountable.

– Ensure that all the six goals of Education For All (EFA) are met and that there are national and regional plans in ensuring education for all with affirmative action for marginalized groups. Education should consist of formal, non-formal, and alternative education.

– Secure EFA by allocating 6% of Gross National Product and 20% of national budgets for basic education. Three percent of national budget should go to adult education. ASEAN should work for multilateral and/or bilateral assistance for education.

– Implement education policies toward genuine multiculturalism in education and ensure the use of appropriate languages and dialects as part of quality learning and respect for diverse culture and identity in South East Asia.

– Allocate at least 5% of national budget of each country to ensure safe, affordable and accessible quality health care service for the people.

– Promote gender sensitivity and equality in all its policy and processes.

– Promote ASEAN youth exchange for cultural and historical understanding for solidarity.

– Provide sufficient budget for youth empowerment including promoting and supporting sustainable entrepreneurship for youths.

– Protect and preserve the ASEAN natural and ancient heritages be protected and preserved.

– Promote and support peoples’ media and establish ASEAN’s own media.


Large-scale development projects, such as mining, dams, ASEAN power grid, roads and industrial plantation, currently key drivers of the ASEAN economy, have led to environmental degradation and resulted in negative impacts on culture and livelihoods of peoples and communities in the region. Such a development thrust has further exacerbated inequality and food insecurity in the region, where many, especially the poor, are suffering from rising food prices, severe hunger, rising unemployment and falling incomes, and lack of access and control over land, water, productive resources, genetic resources, as well as social protection.

The climate crisis further highlights the vulnerability of the region, where the impacts of climate change have become unmistakable and pervasive, yet there is still no plan to reverse the development path especially for industrial and energy development, and environmental standards or common values at the national and regional levels are still lacking to address this urgent and serious situation.

We call on ASEAN and its member states to:

– Reverse the current unsustainable development trajectory by upholding the rights-based approach to development and providing communities the rights to access and manage natural resources based on participation and local knowledge, balancing pro-poor economic policies with ecological sustainability, ensuring that economic integration in the ASEAN region is built on respect for human rights and peoples’ welfare, and promoting community-based, people-centred and small-holder economic initiatives.

– Guarantee the protection of farmers and all workers– including formal, informal and migrant workers– to establish an egalitarian market system, secure livelihoods and decent works

– Produce a strategic policy to eradicate structural poverty in every level, and create mechanisms to protect and secure the welfare of all peoples, especially in times of crisis

– Compel large corporations including transnational corporations, to follow international human rights and environmental standards and conventions. Make them accountable for violations of applicable national laws and international conventions and agreements, including any their existing contractual arrangements with governments and/or communities.

– Formulate, as a matter of urgency and in consultation with civil society organizations, a national climate change action plan that would feed into an ASEAN climate change action plan, including both mitigation and adaptation measures, based on justice and development rights, with emphasis on adaptation plans and disaster risk reduction.

– Develop a common ASEAN position in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations to push for a fair climate regime and climate friendly development efforts that is appropriate to the level of development of the ASEAN member-states and protective of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities

– Work closely with civil society organisations to develop alternative energy as a strategy.

– Reject nuclear power and show leadership in actively promoting sustainable, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, energy conservation, and decentralised energy systems and appropriate technologies.

– Address and put a stop to land grabbing and conversions pushed by the business sector and large corporations.

– Develop a common agricultural policy and action plan that aims to improve access and control of small-scale farmers and fisher folk to land, water and other natural resources, increase their productivity and incomes through sustainable livelihoods and organic agriculture within the broader framework of food sovereignty. Establish a common agricultural development fund that will help carry out such agricultural policy and action plan.

– Promote food sovereignty through genuine agrarian reform and equitable access and distribution of land and resources as mandated by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nation International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development.

– Promote and implement people-oriented water resource management.

– Regulate transnational corporations in agriculture and protect the land of smallholder farmers from agribusiness expansion.

– Set-up mechanisms banning any form of speculation on food commodities and impose a moratorium on agro-fuels. Re-orient the ASEAN Food Reserves away from a trade focus and towards the regional stabilisation of supply and prices.

– Re-orient the current export oriented model of development.

– Make trade policy-making and negotiations transparent and accessible by providing space for participation by civil society and social movements like workers organisations.

– Enhance civil society contributions to development by providing an enabling environment; including regular consultations between various sectors across the region, to ensure their participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of aid modalities, development programs and strategies. Formulate an Official Development Assistance (ODA) system for aid coming into the ASEAN region. Ensure that aid will come in the form of grants not loans, and be based on justice and reparation.

– Require business sectors to balance all shares and benefits for the local peoples’ livelihood by ensuring payment for environment services, recognising that local people are the shareholders for those projects and not just recipients of compensation.

Towards a Peoples’ ASEAN

We call on ASEAN to

– Engage the peoples especially youth and children in all of its work, discussions, deliberations, agreements, and monitoring of all the pillars of cooperation.

– Facilitate and recognise all forms of civil society organisations and institutionalise mechanisms of peoples’ participation in ASEAN processes and policies through, for example, the establishment of Small-scale Farmers and Fishers Advisory Council.


We, the participants in this gathering, are committed to work together to build a genuine “people-centred ASEAN”, where all policies are decided by the people, so that an ASEAN community based on human rights, human dignity, participation and social dialogue, social and economic justice, cultural and ecological diversity, environmentally sustainable development, and gender equality can be established

We will continue to make ASEAN accountable to the voices and the needs of the peoples by continuing to effectively monitor the work of ASEAN.

We will continue to struggle side-by-side with our Burmese colleagues to ensure that genuine democracy is restored after more than 20-years of dictatorial rule by the military junta. We therefore demand ASEAN to pressure the Burmese military government to move toward positive changes by engaging in national dialogues with the National League for Democracy and all the Ethnic Nationalities in Burma as soon as possible.

We commit to meet again in October 2009 in Thailand prior to the 15th ASEAN Summit, to follow-up on our demands to ASEAN, with full energy toward a commitment for the creation of a just, people-centred, and genuine caring and sharing ASEAN Community for the peoples.


Workshop: Emerging crises: De-globalisation and Alternative Regionalism? (APF -Bangkok)

Workshop Emerging crises: De-globalisation and Alternative Regionalism?
Opportunities and challenges for regional alternatives

During ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM (Bangkok, web 21-22 February 2009)

21 February 2009 / 9-11 am / B2 106

The global financial system is unravelling at great speed. This is happening in the midst of a multiplicity of interlinked crises in relation to food, climate change and energy arising from the workings of the currently dominant global neo-liberal model. The failure of this economic model has been forcefully made evident. Finding solutions to the global crises has now become the major concern across the globe. This workshop will highlight the debate around the idea of ‘de-globalisation’ and the challenges and possibilities of moving forward in the concretisation of regional alternatives to the economic, financial, food, climate and energy crises and instead place the interest of people and the planet at its center. It will aim to encourage crossfertilisation from experiences on regional alternatives among social movements and civil society organisations from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.


The Global Crisis and the Need for Multiple-Level Responses
Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South

Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Response
* Lessons and Experiences from Latin America: Gonzalo Berron, Hemispheric Social Alliance
* Lessons and Experiences from East Asia: Aehwa Kim, Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements
* Lessons and Experiences from South Asia: Meena Mennon, Focus-India Programme
* Lessons and Experiences from Europe, and People’s Initiatives (PAAR): Cecilia Olivet, Transnational Institute

Open Discussion

Facilitation, Synthesis and Summing Up
Jenina Joy Chavez, Focus-Philippines Programme

This workshop is co-organized by the People’s Agenda for Alternative
Regionalisms, Focus on the Global South, Transnational Institute, and
Hemispheric Social Alliance.


Key points:

1. Export-oriented industrialization, which is the model of development for the past 40 years, has pushed the integration of national economies into the international economy. This model, guided by neoliberal policies, has a number o f dimensions— trade liberalization through free trade agreements (FTAs) and the World Trade Organization, integration of financial markets and the elimination of control, etc. Howver, this has contradicted efforts on regionalism, of countries banding regionally to strengthen their national economies through regional cooperation.

2. In ASEAN, the extent of regionalism that has taken place in terms of cooperation, complementarity, and integration over the last 40 years is very little. The region, however, moved together in a free trade area, i.e. open regionalism (e.g. Singapore and to some extent the Philippines) as part of the globalist project. At the same time, the economic elites in ASEAN did not buy in the idea of regional integration because they want to protect their own internal markets. ASEAN’s integration is a project of government elites, one which is confined at their level and does not translate at the grassroots. Far from being democratized, we cannot expect a real move from the government and economic elites toward real integration that is based on cooperation, equity, fair trade, solidarity, and complementarity.

3. The impetus would have to come from civil society and peoples’ movements. Reclaiming the region and developing regional alternatives are projects that go beyond politics and the economy. Reclaiming the region means recreating regional integration based on different principles—people-centered and people-oriented. The challenge, then, for civil society and peoples’ movements in the region is to come up with and assert an alternative vision of regional integration or new regionalism based on peoples’ needs and aspirations, taking into consideration the different levels of developments in the region; a regional integration that will challenge the neoliberal model—a peoples’ ASEAN. A peoples’ ASEAN will need to move towards a trade relation that is based on equity and fairness, address common regional issues on the environment and marine resources, climate change, migration, development assistance, food/agriculture, and human rights. This is also very important as the region and the world face a global economic downturn.

4. The tasks for the future, as a mid-term goal, include working on concrete and commons issues that can capture the imagination of the public and peoples at the grassroots. For example, setting up an Asian common action team on agricultural and energy issues and reach out to other social movements and grassroots groups through education and information campaigns about regional alternatives.

5. There should be more future discussions on visioning, practical solutions and how to move toward a real regional integration. One recommendation is that for the processes of civil society and peoples’ movements to not repeat what governments are doing (i.e. open regionalism, which is characterized by political and institutional democratic deficit).

6. The experiences of other regions such as Latin America, East Asia, South Asia, and Europe in regional integration show that the “the diplomacy of the people is more advanced than the diplomacy of the state.” Examples in Latin America such as the ALBA offer inspiration for regional alternatives, of how social movements can influence the agendas of governments. The EU’s model of integration, on the other hand, teaches us that it is not the right model to follow. The EU has been hijacked by the corporate agenda and by the neoliberal forces and serving their interests. On the other hand, there are also lessons to learn from the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) (e.g. their charter that is based on peaceful resolution, food bank for the region, etc.) and the moves of South Asian movements to build a Peoples’ SAARC and a peoples’ agenda. These examples highlight the importance of cross-fertilisation of experiences among the different regions. We should encourage these exchanges and popularize the current alternatives that civil society are developing within and around regional integration processes as well as civil society perspectives on the innovative and progressive governmental regional alternatives.

Read a summary report of the workshop here

Declaración de la Asamblea de los movimientos sociales, FSM 2009

Allan Wallis
In her book, sales Medieval People, Eileen Powers describes the everyday lives of individuals living in the Middle Ages. She begins her study by asking the deceptively simple question, how did people know they were medieval? Clearly, they could not open the morning paper or turn on the evening news and read: “Rome Falls: Middle Ages Begin!” Often, momentous transformations fail our perception, in part, because we try to frame them in our old ways of seeing.
Bruce Katz, of the Brooking Institution observes that today we live our lives regionally. We live in one community, work in another, shop in still others–where the price or selection is right, and cheer for a “home” team that is twenty-five miles away. Yet we continue to identify ourselves locally, focusing on how different we are from our near neighbors. We are trying to frame the new in term of the old, and our resulting actions are producing failure.
Bill Fulton, author of Reluctant Metropolis, about the Los Angeles area, analyzes that region’s failure to come to terms with its reality. If metro-LA were an independent nation it would have the sixth largest economy in the world, and if it were an independent nation people would have no difficulty identifying with it. Meanwhile, LA continues to tear itself apart from inside.
But not all regions suffer the same paralysis. Around the world–in developed as well as in developing countries, in metropolitan as well as in rural areas–there is an extraordinary amount of innovation directed toward the challenges of creating effective regions.
* In England, a little more than two years ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair expanded the boundaries of the historic City of London–an area of about one square mile–to encompass the entire region. His action simultaneously created the post of mayor, which has the potential of becoming the second most powerful position in the nation.
* In the Netherlands, at about the same time, Parliament past legislation establishing new regional governments with sweeping powers. As part of that action, a proposal to dissolve the City of Rotterdam–the world’s busiest port–and restructure the region into municipalities of equal size is seriously being considered.
* In the metro region of Denver, Colorado, county and municipal governments have joined together in a voluntary compact to establish an urban growth boundary.
* In the Silicon Valley area of California, a private industry group led development of a regional vision and plan, and has been tracking progress toward its implementation through annual benchmark reports.
All of these examples speak to the emergence of a powerful regional consciousness driving a wide variety of efforts to invent a new capacity for governing regions.
The New System of Regions
The motivating force behind the renewed interest in regionalism is emerging from several sources. First, globalization of the economy. Syndicated columnist Neal Pierce and his colleagues at the Citistates Group observe that the end of the Cold War had the effect of accelerating the globalization of a post-industrial economy. International trade agreements like NAFTA, and the development of a European Community all demonstrate reduced economic competitiveness on a country-by-country basis, and increased competitiveness on a region-by-region basis.
A second challenge consists of achieving sustainable development. Around the world, population pressures are pushing against environmental capacity. Increasingly, we are trying to balance economic growth, with environmental preservation and social equity. Part of the solution requires acting regionally. After all, water basins, air shed, and commuter shed are all regions.
Finally, the US and several other countries are undergoing a devolution revolution. More of the policy making and service delivery functions mandated by federal and state governments are being directed to the local level. Many of these–transportation, air and water quality planning, and an increasing amount of social services planning–are required to be carried out at on a regional basis. Others are becoming regional on a voluntary basis.
In short, we are seeing the rapid emergence of a global system of regions. As Pierce and his colleagues interpret it, a return to citi-states.
The Regional System: What’s new about the “new regionalism”?
These challenges are not transitory. They mark a major shift in the environment in which all sectors–public, private and nonprofit operate–and they call for invention of a new regional system.
Several scholars have begun to use the phrase “the new regionalism.” They mean to contrast current experiments with the old regionalism, which generally refers to a varied body of theory and practice spanning the period from the 1880’s to the 1980s. But what’s new about this new regionalism? Let me briefly describe a set of six contrasting characteristics that I believe help define and distinguish it from the old regionalism.
Governance vs. government. First, the old regionalism was basically about government, specifically about how to insert a new layer in the hierarchy of state-local relations. By contrast, the new regionalism is about governance; that is, establishing vision and goals, and setting policy to achieve them.
The work of governance involves private, nonprofit and public interests. Moreover, it’s not always the public sector that invites the other sectors in. Sometimes it’s the private sector, as in the case of the Silicon Valley in California, that takes the lead. In other cases it’s the nonprofit sector, as in Cleveland, Ohio, that initiates the regional policy dialog.
Emphasis on governance recognizes that ensuring the future quality of life and competitiveness of a region is a shared responsibility of all sectors. Moreover, it requires the shared powers and talents of these sectors working strategically to affect change.
Process vs. structure. The emphasis on governance suggests another characteristic of the new regionalism, it focuses significantly on process rather than on structure. The old regionalism spent a great deal of time looking at structural alternatives such as city/county consolidations, creation of urban counties, the formation of special purpose and multi-purpose authorities, etc. The new regionalism sometimes elects a structural alternative as a strategy for achieving an objective, but its main focus is on processes such as visioning, strategic planning, resolving conflict and building consensus.
In referring to the process-orientation of the new regionalism, it is important to distinguish this from the proceduralism of the old regionalism. The old regionalism used procedures as the pathway through structure. The new regionalism uses process as an alternative to structure and, at times, as a mechanism for creating structure.
Open vs. Closed. The old regionalism was concerned with defining boundaries and jurisdictions. It wanted to clearly demarcate the region in terms of boundaries for growth, service delivery, job markets, pollution sheds, and the like. The region was, in effect, closed. You were either in it, or outside of it.
The new regionalism accepts that boundaries are open, fuzzy or elastic. What defines the extent of the region varies with the issue we’re trying to address or the characteristic we are considering. The fuzziness of boundaries makes it easier to put together the type of cross-sectoral governing coalitions mentioned previously.
Collaboration vs. coordination. The old regionalism focused on coordination including land use, infrastructure development, services, and the like. Coordination typically implied hierarchy; for example, a regional authority with powers to determine the allocation of resources to units of government within its boundaries.
By contrast, the new regionalism focuses on collaboration and voluntary agreement among equals. Collaboration abhors a hierarchy, because that suggests that someone, or some position, is in control. Collaboration thrives when parties to it see each other as distinct yet equal.
Trust vs. Accountability. The old regionalism’s emphasis on coordination was often accompanied by demand for accountability. We are fearful of the accumulation of power, especially in the public sector, so we try to keep it in check through procedures of accountability. More often than not, accountability results in inflexibility.
Rather than accountability, we are now more inclined to talk about trust as a binding element in relations among regional interests. Part of the discussion about trust relates to the idea of employing regional social capital and civic infrastructure. These seem like very odd terms if we are thinking in the context of the old regionalism, but they are essential to ways of doing business under the new regionalism.
Empowerment vs. Power. The old regionalism was perceived as drawing its powers from units of government above and below it. If effect, power was viewed as a zero-sum game, so the power to govern had to be taken from somewhere. Local jurisdictions often felt threatened that their powers would be diminished.
The new regionalism gains power by empowering. In many places, part of this empowerment is directed toward neighborhoods and communities, with the objective of getting them constructively engaged in regional decision making. Empowerment also consists of engaging nonprofits and for-profits in governance decisions that were once treated as the domain of the public sector alone. Rather than assuming a zero-sum game, employing empowerment is based on the assumption that new interests bring new energy, authority, and credibility; in short, it grows power or capacity in order to move a regional agenda.
These combine characteristics describe two different types of systems. The old regionalism is a system that can be characterized as a hierarchy. It models itself after the vertically integrated corporation that attempts to dominate a market by incorporating all of the means of production and distribution associated with its product line. In the corporate world, the hierarchical model is General Motors that tries to own its parts manufacturing and sales enterprises.
The new regionalism is a network-based system. Its center shifts to accommodate different tasks. Likewise, its membership expands to achieve necessary capacity, but shrinks when that capacity is no longer needed. In the corporate world, the network model is Wal-Mart, with a just-in-time relationship with its suppliers.
It’s important to stress that the system that I’ve called the new regionalism does not require dismantling the old regionalism. The old regionalism continues to offer important solutions to significant problems. Rather, the new regionalism is most centrally a response to a new set of problems that the old regionalism was either not aware of, or was not designed to address.
Inventing Regionalism
I want to focus a little more on some of the kinds of efforts that characterize the new regionalism. As I do this, you will see application of many of the system characteristics that I’ve already described.
Visioning. An important activity that often forms part of the new regionalism, is an attempt to define a vision. Normally we think of an established organization trying to articulate a vision as a way to mobilize resources in new directions. Marshall McLuhan tells the story of IBM in the early 1960’s. It had been a company making typewriters, adding machines and the like. It was only when IBM realized that it was in the business of processing information that it could plot a clear course.
Most of the visioning being done in regions is not about setting a new course (e.g., revising a comprehensive plan), but about establishing an initial identity and direction. In 1990, a newly formed group, Silicon Valley Inc., brought the key stakeholders of the San Jose Region of California together to talk about how to make their community a more effective setting for attracting and maintaining computer-associated manufacturing. The process of forming the vision was integral to making the region real, that is, making it a collective entity capable of creating and implementing policy choices.
Benchmarks and indicators. Many regions have developed benchmarking projects. For example, the Citizens League of Greater Cleveland has a benchmarking project comparing the performance of its region with a group of peer regions. A key objective of the project is to stimulate greater regional action as the result of showing people how their region as a whole rates along side others. These benchmarks have simulated diverse interests in the region to begin to think about how they can make themselves more competitive by acting more collaboratively.
In a similar way, the rural and resort area that runs along the spine of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, has developed a benchmarking projected called the Sierra Wealth Index. Again, a principal objective was to foster regional identity and mobilization by showing characteristics of the region’s economy, environment and social structure.
These benchmarking projects precede and can operate independent of a vision. But many regions have used benchmarks as a way of demonstrating that they are making progress toward realizing their visions and its goals. The Silicon Valley vision, mentioned previously, was followed by an indicators project that has been repeated every year for almost a decade now. The indicator report reminds people that there is a vision and that work is being done to realize it.
Media/civic journalism. Another way that regional awareness is being developed and shaped is by the media. Regional reporting has become part of the new civic journalism, providing stories that convey news across the region, but also developing a shared sense of regional assets and challenges. For example, the Miami Herald published a story recently on racial and ethnic relations in that region. It was based on a survey and focus groups conducted by the paper.
For almost twenty years now, the syndicated journalist Neal Pierce has been publishing reports on regions that are sponsored by and appear in the newspaper of that region. The Pierce Reports are designed to raise awareness of regional issues as well as to suggest solutions.
In addition to this kind of reporting, some of the most powerful–though unintentional–ways that the media conveys a sense of regionalism is in the images it provides as part of the evening weather forecast or the morning traffic report. We may be glad that we don’t have to commute on a particular freeway, but we nevertheless know that traffic there is part of life in our region.
Leadership development. One of the resources often lacking in regions is a corps of leaders who are willing to be advocates and champions for regional issues. Collaborative Economics, a research and training organization in Palo Alto, California has used the term “civic entrepreneurs” to describe such people. Others have referred to them as boundary-crossers. However you describe them, they serve the same role; to build bridges across sectors and jurisdictions in order to help unify a region. Many regions have developed training programs to try to grow new leaders capable of addressing regional problems.
I’ve already mentioned the idea of vision, so it’s important to stress with regard to regional leadership that such individuals are typically not the creators of a vision. Rather, they work collaboratively to facilitate a shared vision among stakeholders of a region.
Network formation and growing social capital. The new regionalism is highly dependent on formal and informal networks of social interaction. Research by political scientists, such as Robert Putnam at Harvard, conclude that regions rich in such networks are in a better position to identify opportunities and mobilize resources to advance themselves. Putnam calls these networks “social capital.”
One of the things that many regions are trying to do, often in connection with leadership development, is to grow more social capital by expanding existing networks and creating new ones. Many US cities have leadership training programs that focus on a specific city, but there are still relatively few that have an explicit regional focus. Nevertheless, they are emerging and becoming a little more common.
One form that these new networks are taking is as regional civic organizations. These are nonprofits that draw membership from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Their goal is to foster regional awareness and action.
Collaboration and Conflict Resolution. A final area that I want to mention, one where a good deal of innovation is taking place, is around building skills of collaboration and conflict resolution. The Greenbelt Alliance in the Bay area has been working with individual communities to achieve the collective development of a greenbelt. In Denver, county and municipal governments have signed on to implementing a voluntary growth boundary.
In several regions collaboration has taken a form that some business analysts have described a “coop-etition”. That is a situation where the jurisdictions in a region collaborate on selected activities, but compete on others. An example of this, again from Denver, is the Denver Network. This initiative, supported by all of the region’s chambers of commerce, involves marketing to region as a whole to out-of-state prospects. Once strong interest is expressed by a firm in locating there, individual communities are free to compete to get it for themselves.
In addition to such collaborative efforts, many regions have developed a conflict resolution capacity in order to reduce inter-jurisdictional disputes. Such disputes can paralyze a region, making it impossible to provide affordable housing, site landfills, or widening roads. Developing skills of collaborative leadership and conflict resolution are important, if not essential, in overcoming this paralysis, as well as in implementing a shared vision. Although these are skills that one would ideally like to find in, or train regional leaders to have, they are needed by more than leaders. Ciizens of the region also have to adopt an ethic of collaboration.
These kinds of activities or initiatives are increasingly common in US regions. Most of the time they are initiated independently, often by separate organizations, but the regions which appear to benefits most from them try to sequence such activities so as to developed increasing regional awareness and mobilization.
Regional Capacities
Every region is going about the process of responding to challenges focused on a regional-scale in somewhat different and unique ways. One reason for the diversity of approaches is that the needs fostering regionalism differ from place-to-place. Some places are struggling to transform an old economy into a new one (e.g., Pittsburgh); other places are too new to ever have had an old economy (e.g., Las Vegas). In some places a threat to the natural environment (water pollution) or a threat from the natural environment (hurricanes) is the motivating factor.
It’s important to recognize that it is not needs per se that motivate regional action, but the perception of need. There are many regions that face significant environmental threats, but these threats are not mobilizing. Something like the threat of a declining economy can serve as a clarion call to action in one region, but only stimulates internal fragmentation in another region.
The approach taken by regions can also vary based on the degree to which residents of a region identify with it and perceive themselves to be citizens of a region. Distinguishing geographic features and natural boundaries can help foster regional identity. A common economy, a distinct cuisine, dialects, customs, a unique architectural style, a winning national sports franchise, and the like can all be elements fostering identity and citizenship.
We can think of the combination of perceived regional needs and identity as being strong or weak along a continuum. Residents who not only identify with the region, but who have developed a commitment of stewardship will characterize a region with strong identity. They will be concerned about preserving its physical environment and those aspects of its quality of life that are uniquely associated with the region
Beyond differences in motivating needs and strength of identity, regions vary in terms of capacity. For example, a region that already has a strong tradition of environmental stewardship will find it easier to form a regional response to an environmental threat than one where no such capacity has been developed.
An important part of regional capacity, that we have only recently come to appreciate, is the idea of social capital that I mentioned previously. This consists of the formal and informal networks of communication among individuals and interest groups comprising a region. Shared values and trust among participants further define such networks.
We can also think of capacity as forming a continuum from strong to weak. Strong capacity consists of the ability to identity threats, as well as opportunities, and to mobile resources to move a regional in a positive direction. Capacity includes such things as being able to perform technical analysis, institution in which people have trust and who are able to work with one another, and leadership which is regionally and not just locally focused.
Path Dependency
Economic historians observe that the way organizations, as well as nations, respond to a challenge depends on their past experiences. The picture just painted of regional capacities can be thought of more holistically in terms of establishing pathways of action embedded, in part, in institutional capacities.
Economic historian Douglass C. North concludes, “once a development path is set on a particular course, the network externalities, the learning process of organizations, and the historically derived subjective modeling of the issues reinforce the course. In the case of economic growth, an adaptively efficient pathÉallows for a maximum of choices under uncertainty for the pursuit of various trial methods of undertaking activities, and for an efficient feedback mechanism to identify methods that are relatively inefficient and to eliminate them” (1990, p.99)
Applying North’s observation to regions, one could conclude that those regions that have developed formal and informal institutional arrangements for identifying challenges, as well as opportunities, not only act on them, but in so doing reinforce their strength as regions. Such regions will have lower costs in engaging in regional transaction because they are able to employ established capacity.
By contrast, the greatest challenge is for regions with low capacity to develop the ability to act regionally. They will have to place considerable resources into the effort, and will quite likely have to circumvent the work of some established institutions that effectively fragment the region. This is a formable task, but failure to address it may mean that such regions will fall further and further behind in the new world order that is so rapidly forming around us.


Para hacer frente a la crisis son necesarias alternativas anticapitalistas, antiracistas, anti-imperialistas, feministas, ecológicas y socialistas.

Estamos en América Latina donde en las últimas décadas se ha dado el reencuentro entre los movimientos sociales y los movimientos indígenas que desde su cosmovisión cuestionan radicalmente el sistema capitalista; y en los últimos años ha conocido luchas sociales muy radicales que condujeron al derrocamiento de gobiernos neoliberales y el surgimiento de gobiernos que han llevado a cabo reformas positivas como la nacionalización de sectores vitales de la economia y reformas constitucionales democráticas.
En este contexto, los movimientos sociales de America latina han actuado de forma acertada: apoyar las medidas positivas que adoptan estos gobiernos, manteniendo su independencia y su capacidad de crítica en relación a ellos. Esas experiencias nos ayudarán a reforzar la firme resistencia de los pueblos contra la política de los gobiernos, de las grandes empresas y los banqueros que están descargando los efectos de esta crisis sobre las espaldas de las y los oprimidos.
En la actualidad los movimientos sociales a escala planetaria afrontamos un desafió de alcance histórico. La crisis capitalista internacional que impacta a la humanidad se expresa en varios planos : es una crisis alimentaría, financiera, económica, climática, energética, migratoria…, de civilización, que viene a la par de la crisis del orden y las estructuras políticas internacionales.
Estamos ante una crisis global provocada por el capitalismo que no tiene salida dentro de este sistema. Todas las medidas adoptadas para salir de la crisis sólo buscan socializar las pérdidas para asegurar la supervivencia de un sistema basado en la privatización de sectores estratégicos de la economía, de los servicios públicos, de los recursos naturales y energéticos, la mercantilización de la vida y la explotación del trabajo y de la naturaleza, así como la transferencia de recursos de la periferia al centro y de los trabajadores y trabajadoras a la clase capitalista.
Este sistema se rige por la explotación, la competencia exarcebada, la promoción del interés privado individual en detrimento del colectivo y la acumulación frenética de riqueza por un puñado de acaudalados. Genera guerras sangrientas, alimenta la xenofobia, el racismo y los extremismos religiosos; agudiza la opresión de las mujeres e incrementa la criminalización de los movimientos sociales. En el cuadro de estas crisis, los derechos de los pueblos son sistemáticamente negados.
La salvaje agresión del gobierno israelí contra el pueblo palestino, violando el derecho internacional, constituye un crimen de guerra, un crimen contra la humanidad y un símbolo de esta negación que también sufren otros pueblos del mundo.
Esta vergonzosa impunidad debe terminar. Los movimientos sociales reafirman aquí su activo sostén a la lucha del pueblo palestino así como todas las acciones de los pueblos del mundo contra la opresión.
Para hacer frente a esta crisis es necesario ir a la raíz de los problemas y avanzar los más rápidamente posible hacia la construcción de una alternativa radical que erradique el sistema capitalista y la dominación patriarcal.
Es necesario construir una sociedad basada en la satisfacción de las necesidades sociales y el respeto de los derechos de la naturaleza, asi como en la participación popular en un contexto de plenas libertades políticas. Es necesario garantizar la vigencia de todos los tratados internacionales sobre los derechos civiles, políticos, sociales y culturales (individuales y colectivos), que son indivisibles.
En este camino tenemos que luchar, impulsando la más amplia movilización popular, por una serie de medidas urgentes como:
– La nacionalización de la banca sin indemnización y bajo control social
– Reducción del tiempo de trabajo sin reducción del salario
– Medidas para garantizar la soberanía alimentaria y enérgetica
– Poner fin a las guerras, retirar las tropas de ocupación y desmantelar las bases militares extranjeras
– Reconocer la soberanía y autonomía de los pueblos, garantizando el derecho a la autodeterminación
– Garantizar el derecho a la tierra, territorio, trabajo, educación y salud para todas y todos
– Democratizar los medios de comunicación y de conocimiento
– ….
El proceso de emancipación social que persigue el proyecto ecologista, socialista y feminista del siglo 21 aspira a liberar a la sociedad de la dominación que ejercen los capitalistas sobre los grandes medios de producción, comunicación y servicios, apoyando formas de propiedad de interés social: pequeña propiedad territorial familiar, propiedad pública, propiedad cooperativa, propiedad comunal y colectiva…
Esta alternativa debe ser feminista porque resulta imposible construir una sociedad basada en la justicia social y la igualdad de derechos si la mitad de la humanidad es oprimida y explotada.
Por último, nos comprometemos a enriquecer el proceso de la construcción de la sociedad basada en el “buen vivir” reconociendo el protagonismo y la aportación de los pueblos indígenas.
Los movimientos sociales estamos ante una ocasión histórica para desarrollar iniciativas de emancipación a escala internacional. Sólo la lucha social de masas puede sacar al pueblo de la crisis. Para impulsarla es necesario desarrollar un trabajo de base de concienciación y movilización.
El desafió para los movimientos sociales es lograr la convergencia de las movilizaciones globales a escala planetaria y reforzar nuestra capacidad de acción favoreciendo la convergencia de todos los movimientos que buscan resistir todas las formas de opresión y explotación.

Para ello nos comprometemos a:
* Desarrollar una semana de acción global contra el capitalismo y la guerra del 28 de marzo al 4 de abril 2009:
– Movilización contra el G-20 el 28 de marzo;
– Movilización contra la guerra y la crisis el 30 de marzo;
– Día de solidaridad con el pueblo palestino impulsando el boicot, las desinversiones y sanciones contra Israel, el 30 de marzo;
– Movilización contra la OTAN en su 60 aniversario 4 de abril;
– etc.
* Fortalecer las movilizaciones que desarrollamos anualmente:
– 8 de marzo: Día internacional de la Mujer
– 17 de abril: Día Internacional por la Soberanía Alimentaria
– 1 de Mayo: Día Internacional de los trabajadores y trabajadoras
– 12 de octubre: Movilización Global de lucha por la Madre Tierra contra la colonización y la mercantilización de la Vida
* Impulsar las agendas de resistencia contra la cumbre del G-8 en Cerdeña, la cumbre climática en Copenhaguer, la cumbre de las Américas en Trinidad y Tobago…
Respondamos a la crisis con soluciones radicales e iniciativas imancipatorias.

Declaration of 9 Annual Meeting of the Africa Trade Network

Ministro de Estado para la Integración y Comercio Exterior
>Download PDF


We, pharmacy discount African civil society organisations gathered at the 9th Annual Review and Strategy Meeting of the Africa Trade Network in Accra, salve from the 11-14 of December, 2006, having reviewed the on-going negotiations on the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements as well as developments in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, declare as follows.

We affirm as primary the right of our countries to pursue autonomously determined policies which promote the development of our economies, and fulfil the social and human rights and livelihood needs of our people. We also assert the integration of African countries both regionally and continentally, on the basis of our own imperatives, as a key condition for the development of our countries and for the benefit of our people.

Over the past two decades, this right of African countries to pursue their own individual and collective developmental agenda have been attacked and subverted by the countries of the north that dominate the world economic system, as part of their never-ending attempts to further open up the economies of African and other developing countries for the benefit of their transnational corporations.  

Economic Partnership Agreements
The so-called Economic Partnership Agreements being negotiated by African countries (and the Caribbean and Pacific) with the European Union, are, like other bi-lateral and multilateral free trade agreements, simply the latest instruments deployed in the attack on our countries. These agreements are set to be even more restrictive of the policy choices and opportunities available to our governments, and even more severe in their impacts than the World Bank/IMF structural adjustment policies as well as the WTO agreements.  

It has been three years since members of the Africa Trade Network launched their opposition to the Economic Partnership Agreements. Since then, several hundred civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe have been pursuing a campaign to STOP the EPAs as currently being negotiated between the European Union and ACP groupings of countries.

While there is wide-spread recognition among governments, inter-governmental institutions, parliamentarians, civil society actors and a diverse range of social constituencies across the ACP, Europe and the rest of the world of the dangers posed by the EPAs to the economies and peoples of the ACP countries, this has not yet led to fundamental changes in the design of the EPAs and the process of negotiations.  

Expressions of concern among some European Union member-states and institutions about the EU proposals for the agreements have not yet translated into changes in directives for the European Commission. Instead, the EC has simply adopted new rhetoric to continue to impose its parameters, agenda and momentum on African (and other ACP) groups. Furthermore, while the EC negotiators have sought to strike a public profile of reasonableness, they have continued with characteristic arrogance in the negotiations.

On their part, Africa’s EPA negotiating regions still seem unable to give expression to the fundamental logic of their stated developmental concerns in the overall architecture of the EPA and its different themes. Rather, they have tended to get bogged down in disputes with the EC over narrow (even if legitimate) questions of support for adjustment costs, transition costs and supply-side constraints.

Furthermore, many countries in the African regions have still not fully carried out their own independent assessments and studies of the overall as well as sectoral implications of the EPAs. They continue to rely on support from the EC, while the latter continues to reject those studies whose outcomes it does not like. In some instances, the secretariats of the regional groupings whose role it is to represent the interests of the regions in the negotiations have been overwhelmed by the EC.  

Above all, in spite of the fact that they are patently not in a position to do so, many of the African negotiating regions are rushing to engage in the more advanced and complex stages of the negotiations.  

The region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared itself ready to move into text-based negotiations, in spite of continued deadlock (indeed as a way of breaking out of the deadlock) over fundamental issues of principle such as the development content of the EPAs. Furthermore, in spite of their own stated opposition to the Singapore Issues in the EPA, ECOWAS has agreed under pressure from the EC to adopt its own regional policy frameworks of investment and competition in a manner that is set to prejudice its ability to continue to resist the inclusion of these issues in the EPA.  

On its part, the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region has tabled its own draft EPA agreement ahead of any meaningful progress on such fundamental principles as development in the EPAs, and in the absence of clarity on how to deal with some subjects such as services in the EPAs, or even on such practical matters as approaches to dealing with sensitive products that should not be subject to tariff liberalisation. The draft agreeement’s provisions on tariff liberalisation give up the right of ESA countries to use tariff to develop the capital and raw material goods sector, thereby undermining their long-term industrialisation. 

Similar contradictions and tendencies have been displayed in other EPA negotiating regions in Africa and beyond.

The above narrow and superficial approach has been adopted in relation to the mid-term review into the EPA negotiations as mandated in the Cotonou Agreement. The declared principle that the review be comprehensive, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders, has so far not been observed. In addition, none of the regions seems to have taken seriously the stated objective of the review to explore alternatives, and indeed some have stated that there is no alternative to the current approach.

As they are proceeding therefore, the EPA negotiations reinforce our declared concern that they aim to establish nothing other than free trade agreements between Europe and the regions of Africa (and the Caribbean and the Pacific), where reciprocal trade liberalisation is coupled with deregulation of investment in favour of European investors.

We therefore re-iterate our rejection of the Economic Partnership Agreements, and re-affirm our campaign objective to Stop the EPAs.  

We re-state our position that as free-trade agreements between two unequal parties, the EPAs are fundamentally anti-developmental. This is especially so in the particular context of Africa’s weak, fragmented economies, which have been ravaged and distorted by years of European and (other) external domination. This anti-developmental essence can not be reversed by means of the on-going attempts to inject some so-called development dimensions into these FTAs. We also assert that any alternative to the EPAs can only be defined as the right of, and support for, African and other countries of the ACP to determine their own polices and agenda for development.  

We therefore re-affirm the demand of the stop EPA Campaign for an overhaul and review of the EU’s neo-liberal external trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries, and demand that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on an approach that:
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity, as instituted in the Generalised System of Preferences and special and differential treatment in the WTO;
•    protects ACP producers, domestic and regional markets; 
•    excludes the pressure for trade and investment liberalisation; and 
•    is founded on the respect for and supports the space of ACP countries to formulate and pursue their own development strategies. 

In furtherance of the above, we demand that:
•    the Singapore Issues of Investment, Competition Policy and Government Procurement should be unconditionally excluded from trade agreements with the European Union;  
•    rules and disciplines on services liberalisation and intellectual property must not form part of such agreements, since the related disciplines in the WTO are sufficient for any interaction with the European Union; the imbalances of those disciplines in the WTO will not be removed but rather worsened in the EPAs.
•    there should be no reciprocal removal of tariff, in whatever form, whether asymmetrical or otherwise, with the European Union; any market access relationship should be based on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

We reiterate our views that the negotiations under the Doha Work programme have continued to marginalise the developmental concerns of African and other developing countries, in favour of the developed countries. This is affirmed by the very circumstances of the suspension of the negotiations in July 2006, which was occasioned by deadlock among an exclusive group of countries, consultations among whom had taken centre stage of the negotiations, at the expense of the democratic participation of other member countries.

We reject any resumption of the Doha talks that is based on the exclusion of the concerns and interests of African countries.  

We reject the continued drive by the developed countries to further open our markets to their agricultural and industrial products, and to their services suppliers. Instead, we insist on the right of our countries for a continued use of tariff instruments to protect our agricultural producers and industry, to support our industrialisation; and maintain our flexibility to determine whether and how to further open our economies to foreign entities.

Responsibility of African governments
We call on all African governments to rise up to their primary responsibility to the African peoples and states in the context of all the trade negotiations.  

In relation to the EPA negotiations, we urge our governments to resist attempts to rail-road them to stick to tight and unrealistic negotiating time-lines. They must use the space that is gained for a more meaningful engagement with their stakeholders around our own autonomous regional integration agenda as basis for a beneficial relationship with the European Union. We further call on our governments to rise beyond narrow regional fragments in dealing with the European Union that has been imposed by the region-based negotiations of the EPAs, to assert the collective vision for Africa which the people yearn for and which the imperatives of our economies demand. They must also work more closely with the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Civil society
As civil society organisations, we commit ourselves to strengthen our continent-wide solidarity and action, and to further strengthen our interactions with our allies from the African, Pacific, the Caribbean and Europe and all over the world to take forward the struggle to Stop the EPAs.