Communique | Asia Pacific People’s conference on development justice

By APRN | September 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not an agenda that will deliver justice and genuine change.
We call for justice, for Development Justice – a just and transformative framework for development that promotes people’s rights, dignity, wellbeing, solidarity and equality (within and between countries, between rich and poor, between men and women), peace and security and respect for culture while keeping within the earth’s carrying capacity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting movement building by and influencing public discourse

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

Linking National Level Advocacies to the Global and vice versa

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

Research Needs

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

Capacity Development Needs

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

Advocacy Tools

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

Key Moments of Engagements

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


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