Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
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Keywords: Environmental protection (1 hits),

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The Asia Pacific Research Network recommends the following inputs to be fully incorporated  into the Zero Draft of the Secretary General?s Compilation Document for Rio 2012. The inputs in this  contribution are derived mostly from the People?s Statement on Rio+20 and Sustainable Development,,  which is the outcome document of the ?Promoting a Transformative Agenda for Sustainable  Development: A Strategy Workshop on Rio+20? in Bangkok, Thailand, where men and women from fifty  two organizations in eighteen countries - Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China and Hongkong SAR, India,  Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Thailand,  Timor Leste, USA, and Vietnam - representing peasants, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, indigenous  peoples, workers, women, youth and students, refugees and stateless persons, academia, environmental  and support NGOs and networks attended. The statement was circulated in various networks and list  serves and gained more signatories, in addition to the original fifty two that have signed.       

Twenty years after the UN Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, popularly  known as the Earth Summit, the world is farther than ever from reaching the goals of genuine  people centered sustainable development. The multi faceted, yet interconnected crises encompassing  the economic, political and ecological spheres are causing unparalleled suffering all over the world. Worst  afflicted are people from poor countries, most especially women and indigenous peoples.   

This crisis of global capitalism further propels profit driven and unsustainable development that causes  irreversible damage to the world's environment. This crisis results in the global climate meltdown, the  appropriation of natural resources and the destruction of lives and livelihoods, especially of ecologically  sensitive indigenous and traditional livelihood systems.   

Rio+20 in 2012 thus comes at an opportune time, when the world?s governments and peoples are obliged  to think of alternatives to the current development model with its ever increasing failures. It presents  opportunities to push urgently and comprehensively the agenda for genuine people centered sustainable  development.   

Indeed, solutions exist. And they are in the hands of the people, who in our communities, workplaces,  farms and forests, make the building blocks of genuine people centered sustainable development. As we  strengthen and consolidate our movements to achieve genuine economic, political, social, gender,  ecological and climate justice, we call on the leaders of governments, multilateral institutions and other  stakeholders to heed the people?s calls for genuine sustainable development. We urge governments and  the UN system to deliver and not backtrack on the promises and commitments made in Rio twenty years  ago.    

On the Green Economy    

We are alarmed at the corporatized nature of the Green Economy agenda. We believe that technological  fixes and market based incentives are false solutions to the ecological and climate crises and will not  advance sustainable development.   

For sustainable economies to develop, it is crucial to democratize ownership, control and decision  making over productive resources and assets. We should move from a capital investment model towards  an appropriate mix of more democratic modes such as cooperative, community based and driven,  commons or public forms of ownership to ensure that economic activity provides sustainable livelihoods  and meets the developmental goals of the community and society. It is also necessary to rethink the  nexus between society and the environment - that is, fostering greater concern and sensitivity to the  ecological consequences of human activities rather than regarding nature as an inexhaustible source of  materials for human consumption and a bottomless sink of waste. Also crucial are cultural diversity and  interculturalism - for when there is greater biodiversity, there is greater resilience, adaptability to  changes and new challenges in the environment. Interculturalism, on the other hand, enriches the  various systems of knowledge of modern, traditional, advanced industrialized countries, indigenous  communities, and so on. To this end, we call for: 

? a reversal of privatization and keeping of public enterprises in public control; 

? the promotion of sufficiency based economies (i.e. catering primarily towards meeting local needs  and demands, developing local capacities, based on available resources, appropriate technologies  and resource sharing); 

? manufacturing that promotes closed loop production where products are designed with minimum  use of energy and materials, longer life spans and with maximum reuse and recycling of parts and  components; 

? the promotion of mass public transportation systems; 

? implementation of genuine agrarian, aquatic, pastureland and forestry reforms; and promotion of  biodiverse ecological agriculture that benefits small producers, especially women and indigenous  people. 

? stoppage of profit oriented exploitation and destruction of natural resources that destroy lives and  livelihoods. 

? a halt to industrial corporate agriculture and fisheries; 

? renewable energy that is not dependent on monoculture and biomass extraction; 

? respect for and promotion of community based and farmer driven efforts in organic agriculture, seed  banking and on farm improvement of crop varieties and animal breeds; and 

? people centered sustainable economies that promote the rights of indigenous peoples and local  communities in accordance with UNDRIP including rights to land and resources, and free, prior and  informed consent (FPIC). 

On the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development   

To deliver on the promises of the first Earth Summit, there is a need for an effective and democratic  institutional framework that can and will ensure economic progress, social equity and environmental  protection - the three dimensions of sustainable development    an  integratedin and holistic manner.  This governance architecture must operationalize and implement the Rio principles including the Right to  Development,  common  but  differentiated  responsibility,  the  polluter  pays  principle  and  the  precautionary principle.    

Building a strong apex body on sustainable development that works on a global level and can integrate  the disparate United Nations bodies working on one of the three pillars of sustainable development is  necessary and urgent. Options that should be explored include transforming the Commission on  Sustainable Development into a Council on Sustainable Development, or establishing a UN Organization  on Sustainable Development.   

A rights based approach to the IFSD means that duty bearers should have explicit mandates expressed in  clear, preferably legally binding, human rights standards. There must also be judicial or quasi judicial  mechanisms that are effective at delivering entitlements, responding to complaints, and ensuring  accountability. These mechanisms of redress must also be readily accessible, especially to vulnerable and  marginalized groups.  

A rights based approach to sustainable development underscores the democratic right of people to  determine the goals and means of achieving sustainable development. Along this line, the development  and adoption of a global or regional convention on Principle 10 of Rio based on the Aarhus Convention  should be supported. This will help ensure access to information and meaningful participation of people  in sustainable development, and access to effective judicial and administrative proceedings, including  redress and remedy.    

Rio+20 should work for the immediate establishment of a broad inclusive multi stakeholder consultative  body tasked with supporting the promotion and implementation of Agenda 21 and Rio+20 resolutions.  Such body should be fully inclusive, participatory, democratic, giving equal voice and opportunities for  participation to non state actors and have an integral multi stakeholder character that accords civil  society with equal rights and equal voice as governments.   

The UN Human Rights Council should also establish Special Procedures for the Right to Sustainable  Development, including the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Sustainable  Development. Such an expert or experts will be tasked with reviewing international, national and regional  case law and practice with a view to clarifying the linkages between social, economic and environmental  issues from a rights perspective; elaborating on applicable human rights standards and indicators.    

The OHCHR should also collaborate closely with UNEP, the proposed Council on Sustainable Development  or World Environment Organization, if and when they are established, in order to develop guidelines and  propose actions to be taken by governments, intergovernmental bodies and other actors consistent with  human rights obligations.    

Ultimately, the effectiveness of a global body on sustainable development rests on the effective  functioning of similar institutions at the local and national levels and its relevance to people?s lives.    

Commitments from the North in the form of adequate financing (according to common but differentiated  responsibility), appropriate technology cooperation, and needs based capacity building are of utmost  importance to support developing countries make a just transition to sustainable development  pathways.    

On New and Emerging Issues   

Addressing new and emerging challenges is crucial in securing renewed political commitment for  sustainable development. Therefore, we urge that the Rio+20 Conference go beyond and not be confined  to the two identified themes of green economy and institutional framework for sustainable development,  and address/include other new and emerging issues in its Conference agenda/objectives and outcome  document:   

?  The UNCSD 2012 must affirm and strengthen internationally agreed principles and objectives for  sustainable development at all levels of government. All actors should be held accountable to  well established international standards and conventions - e.g. Right to Development, Human Rights  conventions, Extractive Industry Accountability, Transparency Accountability Initiative, etc.   

?  Reorganize international trade, investment, finance and development cooperation relations around  rules that value, respect, protect and fulfill people?s rights; economic, social, gender ecological and  climate justice; economic sovereignty and self sufficiency.   

?  Enhance development cooperation in support of sustainable development.   

?  Commitments from the North in the form of adequate financing (according to common but  differentiated responsibility), appropriate technology cooperation, and needs based capacity building  are of utmost importance to support developing countries make a just transition to sustainable  development pathways. 

?  Developing countries and their development partners should evaluate the coherence of their policies  in trade and investments and rectify those that are incoherent with sustainable development.  Repudiate unequal trade and investment agreements.   

?  Restructure foreign direct investments in the context of South South Cooperation (not North South  or South South competition) to include regulatory controls and a transition period.   

?  Uphold food sovereignty to address the food crisis. Communities should have the right to determine  their patterns of food production and consumption, and famers should be able to prioritize food  production for domestic consumption. Government should give incentives to sustainable food  production practices.   

 ? Reject the intellectual property rights regime and other monopolistic enclosures that impede people?s  access to commons and productive resources.   

 ? There should be a global mechanism to assess the impacts of new technologies. Such mechanism  should provide resources towards building capacity of countries and communities to assess and  monitor the health, biodiversity and environmental impacts of new technologies. We support the  adoption of an International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT) and an  outright ban on technologies that put the planet at grave risks such as geo engineering.   

?  Governments should invest in research and development on people centered sustainable  development.   

?  Policies should respect cultural diversity, and modern science should be combined with indigenous  knowledge in bottom up approaches of research and development to develop technologies that are  appropriate and democratic.    

On the Sustainable Development Goals    

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals should not be confined to merely addressing the  symptoms of poverty, exclusion and ecological degradation like the millennium development goals.  Instead, SDGs must address the roots of these problems including the question of rectifying unequal  power relations within and between countries, and the dominant development model based on  neoliberal doctrine.     

The SDGs should also affirm the Rio principles, including the CBDRRC. They should not be donor driven  targets or technocratic exercises in formulating indicators and monitoring progress. They should be based  on Agenda 21, but also be consistent with human rights obligations, including the Right to Development.       

    Communities have shown extreme resilience and creativity in confronting the spiraling multiple crises,  utilizing various mechanisms not just to survive, but also to assert their economic, social, cultural and  political rights. In the midst of this protracted crisis of the global capitalist system, people dare to imagine  and build a new world where development means promoting the well being and dignity of all; where  prosperity is created through shared resources and efforts; where nature?s limits are respected; and  where nations, peoples and communities cooperate to ensure democracy, justice, equity, peace and  prosperity for all.    

Today, even more so than twenty years ago, people of the world are aware that the challenge of genuine  sustainable development requires no less than the profound transformation of societies and of  international relations. We must all rise up to the challenge. #   



August 17, 2011  

Bangkok, Thailand  

We, 52 women and men from 18 countries - Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China and Hongkong SAR, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Timor Leste, USA, and Vietnam (and some more additional signatories)- and representing peasants, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, workers, women, youth and students, refugees and stateless persons, academia, environmental and support NGOs and networks met for the Promoting a Transformative Agenda for Sustainable Development: A Strategy Workshop on Rio+20 on August 15-17, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.  

We have come to this meeting fully aware that twenty years after the UN Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, popularly known as the Earth Summit, the world is farther than ever from reaching the goals of genuine people-centered sustainable development. The multi-faceted, yet interconnected crises encompassing the economic, political and ecological spheres are causing unparalleled suffering all over the world. Worst afflicted are people from poor countries, most especially women and indigenous peoples.  

This crisis of global capitalism further propels profit-driven and unsustainable development that causes irreversible damage to the world's environment. This crisis results in the global climate meltdown, the appropriation of natural resources and the destruction of lives and livelihoods, especially of ecologically-sensitive indigenous and traditional livelihood systems.  

Rio+20 in 2012 thus comes at an opportune time, when the worlds governments and peoples are obliged to think of alternatives to the current development model with its ever-increasing failures. It presents opportunities to push urgently and comprehensively the agenda for genuine people-centered sustainable development.  

Indeed, solutions exist. And they are in our hands, the people, who in our communities, workplaces, farms and forests, make the building blocks of genuine people-centered sustainable development. As we strengthen and consolidate our movements to achieve genuine economic, political, social, gender, ecological and climate justice,  

we call on the leaders of governments, multilateral institutions and other stakeholders to heed the peoples calls for genuine sustainable development. We urge governments and the UN system to deliver and not backtrack on the promises and commitments made in Rio twenty years ago.  

In particular, we put forward these messages:  

On the Green Economy  

We are alarmed at the corporatization of the Green Economy agenda. We believe that technological fixes and market-based incentives are false solutions to the ecological and climate crises and will not advance sustainable development.  

For sustainable economies to develop, it is crucial to democratize ownership, control and decision-making over productive resources and assets. We should move from a capital investment model towards an appropriate mix of more democratic modes such as cooperative, community-based and driven, commons or public forms of ownership to ensure that economic activity provides sustainable livelihoods and meets the developmental goals of the community and society.  

· Public enterprises should remain in public control and privatization should be reversed.  

·Promote sufficiency-based economies (i.e. catering primarily towards meeting local needs and demands, developing local capacities, based on available resources, appropriate technologies and resource sharing).  

·Manufacturing should promote closed-loop production where products are designed with minimum use of energy and materials, longer life-spans and with maximum reuse and recycling of parts and components.  

·Promote mass public transportation systems.  

·Implement genuine agrarian, aquatic, pastureland and forestry reforms; and promote biodiverse ecological agriculture that benefit small producers, especially women and indigenous people.  

·Stop profit-oriented exploitation and destruction of natural resources that destroy lives and livelihoods.  

·Stop industrial corporate agriculture and fisheries.  

·No to renewable energy that depends on monoculture and biomass extraction.  

·Respect and promote community-based and farmer-driven efforts in organic agriculture, seedbanking and on-farm improvement of crop varieties and animal breeds.  

·People-centred sustainable economies should promote the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in accordance with UNDRIP including rights to land and resources, and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).  

On the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development  

To deliver on the promises of the first Earth Summit, there is a need for an effective and democratic institutional framework that can and will ensure economic progress, social equity and Environmental protection  the three pillars of sustainable development -- in an integrated and holistic manner. This governance architecture must operationalize and implement the Rio principles including the Right to Development, common but differentiated responsibility, the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle.  

· Building a strong apex body on sustainable development that works on a global level and can integrate the disparate United Nations bodies working on one of the three pillars of sustainable development is desirable. Options that should be explored include transforming the Commission on Sustainable Development into a Council on Sustainable Development, or establishing a UN Organization on Sustainable Development.  

·Rio+20 should work for the immediate establishment of a broad inclusive multi-stakeholder consultative body or network tasked with supporting the promotion and implementation of Agenda 21 and Rio+20 resolutions. Such body should be participatory, democratic, and have an integral multi-stakeholder character that accords civil society with equal rights and equal voice as governments.  

·Ultimately, the effectiveness of a global body on sustainable development rests on the effective functioning of similar institutions at the local and national levels and its relevance to peoples lives. On New and Emerging Issues  

· The UNCSD 2012 must affirm and strengthen internationally-agreed principles and objectives for sustainable development at all levels of government. All actors should be held accountable to well- established international standards and conventions  e.g. Right to Development, Human Rights conventions, Extractive Industry Accountability, Transparency Accountability Initiative, etc.  

· Reorganize international trade, investment, finance and development cooperation relations around rules that value, respect, protect and fulfill peoples rights; economic, social, gender ecological and climate justice; economic sovereignty and self-sufficiency.  

· Enhance development cooperation in support of sustainable development.  

·Commitments from the North in the form of adequate financing (according to common but differentiated responsibility), appropriate technology cooperation, and needs-based capacity building are of utmost importance to support developing countries make a just transition to sustainable development pathways.  

·Developing countries and their development partners should evaluate the coherence of their policies in trade and investments and rectify those that are incoherent with sustainable development. Repudiate unequal trade and investment agreements.  

·Restructure foreign direct investments in the context of South-South Cooperation (not North-South or South-South competition) to include regulatory controls and a transition period.  

·Uphold food sovereignty to address the food crisis. Communities should have the right to determine their patterns of food production and consumption, and famers should be able to prioritize food production for domestic consumption. Government should give incentives to sustainable food production practices.  

·Reject the intellectual property rights regime and other monopolistic enclosures that impede peoples access to commons and productive resources.  

·There should be a global mechanism to assess the impacts of new technologies. Such mechanism should provide resources towards building capacity of countries and communities to assess and monitor the health, biodiversity and environmental impacts of new technologies. We support the adoption of an International Convention for the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT) and an outright ban on technologies that put the planet at grave risks such as geo-engineering.  

·Governments should invest in research and development on people-centered sustainable development.  

· Policies should respect cultural diversity, and modern science should be combined with indigenous knowledge in bottom-up approaches of research and development to develop technologies that are appropriate and democratic.  

Communities have shown extreme resilience and creativity in confronting the spiraling multiple crises, utilizing various mechanisms not just to survive, but also to assert their economic, social, cultural and political rights. In the midst of this protracted crisis of the global capitalist system, people dare to imagine and build a new world where development means promoting the well-being and dignity of all; where prosperity is created through shared resources and efforts; where natures limits are respected; and where nations, peoples and communities cooperate to ensure democracy, justice, equity, peace and prosperity for all.  

Today, even more so than twenty years ago, people of the world are aware that the challenge of genuine sustainable development requires no less than the profound transformation of societies and of international relations. We must all rise up to the challenge. #  




Aidwatch Philippines  

AnakbayanCalifornia/KatarunganWashington DC, USA  

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Lebanon  

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)  

Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC), Hong Kong  

Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD)  

Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)  

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Philippines  

Burma Environmental Working Group (BEWG)  

Center for Community Economics and Development Consultants (CECOEDECON), India  

Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Sri Lanka  

Center for Peoples Democratic Governance (CPDG), Philippines  

Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), Vietnam  

Centre for Sustainable Rural Development, Vietnam  

China Association of NGOs (CANGO), China  

Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh  

Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC)  

Dignity International  

Earth Rights International  

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Institute (EILER), Philippines  

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), Bangladesh  

ETC Group  

Forum of Womens NGOs of Kyrgyzstan  

Foundation for Consumers, Thailand  

Green Movement of Sri Lanka (GMSL)  

IBON International  

International NGO Forum for Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia  

Institute for Motivating SelfEmployment (IMSE), India  

Instituto de Estudios Politicos para America Latina y Africa (IEPALA), Spain  

Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID), Cambodia  

Korean Civil Society Forum on International Cooperation (KOFID), South Korea  

Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), South Korea  

Korea NGO Council for Overseas Cooperation (KCOC), South Korea  

Local Development Institute, Thailand  

Navdanya International  

ODA Watch Korea  

Participatory Research and Development Initiative (PRDI), Bangladesh  

Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP)  

Peoples Movement on Climate Change (PMCC)  

Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, South Korea  

Public Interest Research Centre, India  

Reality of Aid Asia Pacific (ROAAP)  

Roots for Equity, Pakistan  

Shan Womens Action Network (SWAN), Burma  

Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE), Philippines  

Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), Vietnam  

Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation, Thailand  

Timor Leste NGO Forum/FONGTIL  

World Society for the Protection of Animals  Southeast Asia Office  

Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK), India  



Additional Signatories as of October 22, 2011  

Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), Philippines  

Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development - Rio and beyond  

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)  

Partnership for Governance Reforms (Kemitraan), Indonesia  

Franciscans International (Asia Pacific)  

Water and Quality of Life Foundation, Thailand  

Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria  

Pergerakan Indonesia  

Kampala, Uganda  

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, USA  

NNARA Youth-UPM, Philippines  

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Philippines  

Asian Peasant Coalition  

APVVU, India  


Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development, Philippines  

Isis International  



The Strategy Workshop on Rio+20 was co-organized by the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), Ibon International and the Reality of Aid-Asia Pacific (RoA-AP). Should you wish to sign on to this statement, please email to(
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