Please have a look at our past activities in:
4th Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sector in the ASEAN
27-29 August 2012 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
From 27-29 August 2012 representatives of ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat, trade unions and employers federations met in Siem Reap, Cambodia for the 4thRegional Tripartite Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sector in the ASEAN. The conference was jointly co-hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT) of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC), the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia. The focal topic in Siem Reap was on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), a concern shared by all social partners.
For two days the participants discussed OSH standards and audit mechanisms. Most importantly, so was agreed on, work safety is not a privilege, but a fundamental right of every worker. The example of the Japanese company AEON however proved that OSH is not only a worker’s right but also of financial benefit for the companies themselves. Concrete discussions during the conference circled around OSH training, case studies of both member states and sectors as well as questions of information sharing, harmonization of regulations and common benchmarks. In consequence ASETUC and ASEAN-OSHNET, the ASEAN body in charge of OSH-related issues, drafted a document on joint cooperation within the field of OSH. Another significant result of the Regional Social Dialogue in the Services Sector was the discussion on sexual harassment and psycho-social hazards and whether those can be defined under workplace violence in regulatory frameworks.
The promotion of ‘decent work for all’ and Occupational Health and Safety is also important in the context of the upcoming single market within ASEAN in 2015. The annual Regional Sectoral Social Dialogue thereby seeks to ensure the realization of a truly people-centered ASEAN community.
In the end of the conference the joint recommendations comprising increased cooperation between the three social partners both on the national and regional level as well as common standards and benchmarks was passed. All participants agreed on the importance of the topic and underlined the collective responsibility of employers, employees and governments to ensure safer and healthier working conditions.
"The Role of Civil Society in AEC Economic Policymaking"
ICIRD 2012 Conference "Towards an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) - Prospects, Challengeges and Paradoxes in Development, Governance and Human Security"
26 July 2012 - Chiang Mai, Thailand
In light of the upcoming establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, Thammasat University and FES Thailand jointly organised a plenary session at the 2012 ICIRD Conference titled "The Role of Civil Society in AEC Economic Policymaking".
So far, much of the emphasis for the AEC has been plced on the potential integrated economic growth within the region prompting concerns among scholars and civil society actors - both local and transnational - about issues of social development and regional governance. Panellists discussed the biggest gaps that still need to be filled by civil society in relation to ASEAN economic policymaking and development as well as the possible avenues/instruments/platforms for civil society to do so.
The panel saw the launch of the Thailand Chapter of the FES CSO Mapping which was written and introduced by Dr. Naruemon Thabchumpon. Please click here to read the summary of the discussions.
2nd FES Economy of Tomorrow Regional Forum: "Inequality and economic growth: Towards a socially just paradigm for growth and development"
21-22 June 2012 - Seoul, Korea
FES launched the Economy of Tomorrow project in Bangkok March 2012 to initiate dialogue on economic and social development between key Asian emerging economies, as well as between Asia and Europe. Building on national working groups, the regional Economy of Tomorrow Forum serves as a platform for the exchange on common challenges and national developments. The main objectives of the project are to construct an alternative growth and development model and to build the political will to implement policies that will put the economies onto an alternative development path. FES Economy of Tomorrow Regional Forum organized Seoul focused on the relationship between economic growth and social and economic inequality.
Presentations and discussions at the forum dealt specifically with the role of the state in fostering a more equitable and socially just distribution of wealth and income by developing appropriate taxation and wage policies and by designing a social security system in both a re-distributive and an enabling fashion. Furthermore the focus on gender social and economic inequality added a new dimension to the alternative growth and development model.
Publishing Series by fesmedia Asia
Internet based media often eludes from direct governmental exertion of influence and therefore provides new channels for the expression of opinion, information gathering and political activism. Celebrated by some scholars as the beginning of a new era of civic influence, others remain highly critical of the impact of social media on the political sphere highlighting governments’ efforts to constrain open web spaces. Providing an Asian perspective with respect to the changing dynamics of online participation, fesmedia Asia is publishing a series focusing on new media’s interaction with the political realm.
Netizens and bloggers are ascribed with a considerable scope with respect to forming of political opinions. Singapore’s technophilic population is often used to exemplify this expansion of the political sphere in the online world. Kai Portmann’s study "A buzz in cyberspace, but no net-revolution : the role of the internet in Singapore's 2011 elections" seeks to shed light on the real impact of online media for the election outcome by analyzing the role of the internet in the city state as well as the attendant circumstances prior to the elections.
New media also provides a forum for underrepresented topics and actors that usually are not allocated as much attention in the traditional media landscape. Raul Petierra analyzes how modern means of communication create new venues for public discussion, connect stakeholder and empower marginalized groups in his study on "New Media Society & Politics in the Philippines".
Much has been written about organizations and opposition parties using new media to draw attention to their respective causes. However, the internet also creates new opportunities for civil society groups who seek to influence politics, but do not compete for political power. In their study "Beyond click-activism? : New media and political processes in contemporary Indonesia", Yanuar Nugroho and Sofie Shinta Syarief set out to map how civic society participates in socio-political life and they affect policy making.
With new media allowing new actors to exert influence in the political process, traditional political forces are not always eager to share power. This statement particularly applies to young democracies and countries in transition. Marcus Michaelsen scrutinizes in his study "New media vs. old politics : the internet. social media, and democratisation in Pakistan" whether online venues and social media facilitate democratic consolidation and support progressive forces in Pakistan. This analysis occurs against an examination of recent attempts of intervention by religious, political and societal actors.
New media is often credited with the ability to backfill real world cleavages such as distance or social barriers therefore creating new scope for coalition building. The social movement to reform the election process in Malaysia managed to forge followers off- and online pressing for change. Meredith L. Weiss’s study "Politics in Cyberspace: New Media in Malaysia" investigates the impact of new media on political activism, government tactics as well as mass mobilisation in the Southeast Asian country.
Thank you Stefanie and Welcome Julia – FES Office for Regional Cooperation has a new director
The FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia based in Singapore has a new director. Ms. Julia Müller has taken over the position from Dr. Stefanie Elies in June 2012. Thank you, Stefanie, for four years of creativity and the opportunity to work with you.
Welcome Julia, we are looking forward to your new ideas and to shape with you the future of the FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia to promote social justice in Asia.
(In the picture from left to the right: Ms. Julia Müller, Dr. Stefanie Elies and Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Secretary-General)
Informal Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General and Representatives of Civil Society Organisations
14-15 June 2012 - Bangkok, Thailand
On the initiative of the ASEAN Secretary-General, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia and the Peoples Empowerment Foundation (PEF), in partnership with the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), conducted an Informal Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General and representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Over 100 participants attended the event which was organised using the fishbowl dialogue methodology, designed to expand and deepen dialogue between Dr. Surin Pitsuwan and representatives of CSOs. The dialogue occurred in an inner circle (fish bowl) of three chairs which were surrounded by a concentric circle of chairs for the participants. The ASEAN Secretary-General and a designated moderator kept in the inner circle while each participant had an opportunity to be in the fishbowl and enter into a dialogue with Dr. Surin and in return for Dr. Surin to dialogue with the participant. “I hope that this is the start of an informal dialogue between us that can be institutionalised in the future”, Dr. Surin said. Participants asked questions on operational processes within ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat as well as on thematic issues.
Following the 3-hour dialogue with Dr. Surin, participants split into smaller groups. Discussions focused on enhancing CSO-ASEAN engagement and collaboration, looking at the different community pillars in ASEAN. Participants shared their past experiences, identified stumbling blocks as well as cross-cutting issues with regards to other community pillars and sectors in ASEAN. Among the participants were also members of the ASEAN Secretariat who shared their experiences related to their own work.
FES Visioning Workshop: The Asian Century - What Future for Social Justice in Asia?
11-13 June 2012 - Singapore
With the recent rise of the Asian economies in becoming the „engine of growth“, leading the world out of the global economic recession, it has become fashionable to speak of the “Asian or Pacific Century”. Yet, can the hype of the Asian Century be transformed into a boon for social justice?
Against this background, the Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), invited experts and representatives from the political, academic, economic, civil societal and the trade union realm from various Asian countries to its visioning workshop to reflect on the prerequisites of societal change in light of Asia’s ongoing economic re-emergence. The two and a half day event provided an opportunity for a constructive exchange of experience with respect to the often neglected social and in particular labour perspective of economic growth.
On the first day, which saw the attendance of a wider public, ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan pointed out the hardships of accomplishing social justice in his key note speech, stating that the transformation towards a socially just community was mammoth task that could only be approached jointly: “Every major undertaking will have to begin with a dream. Whether or not we’re going to get there will depend very much of the entire membership of our society of our region. But if each is engaged in this visualizing activity looking into the future it certainly holds promise for all of us”.
The participants also came to enjoy a stimulating exchange of ideas about the necessary conditions for socially just growth in Asia during a Hard Talk session moderated by journalist Maria Ressa. Renowned and outspoken Asian thinkers Simon Tay, Chandran Nair and Christopher Ng engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about desirable qualities of sustainable progress, modifications of current growth models as well as civic participation.
In allowing for a more applicable approach, participants designed scenarios for a socially just Asian Century in the subsequent days. They looked at good practice examples from the region seeking to blaze new trails for socially responsible reforms at both national and regional levels. The event also marked the official handover of the FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia from Dr. Stefanie Elies to her successor Ms. Julia Mueller.
4th Asian-European Labour Forum "Income Inequality and Economic Crisis: Solution Strategies and Policy Issues”
7-9 May 2012 - Seoul, Korea
This time the 4th Asian-European Labour Forum took place in Seoul and was hosted by the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), the Korean Federation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the Korean office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. In the three days conference participated 40 delegates out of 14 countries to share their national experiences and scientific findings on income inequality in times of economic crises. How do different social models perform? How do social movements and labor unions develop and contribute to stabilize social imbalances?
Reflecting the strong neoliberal driven international policies of the past the participants formulated in their joint conclusion alternative policy recommendations for more inclusive and social balanced growth models. All participants agreed that national and international collaboration is to be strengthened in order to strengthen social democratic labor-policies.
New FES Paper: "Civil Society and Governance – Pluralizing the State"
By Dorothée de Nève
The relationship between the state and its citizens in Europe has undergone a tremendous transition in recent decades, as patterns of civil partaking have become increasingly entrenched in political systems. Still, debates with respect to Civil Society remain characterised by a semantic as well conceptual vagueness. Seeking to fill some of these gaps, the paper analyses the role of Civil Society in the political realm by coming up with a conceptual rapprochement and a historical overview of the evolving forms of civic participation. Using selected examples from the European and German experiences, the article systemises forms of interaction between Civil Society and other arenas of the political system and highlights crucial factors of success necessary for public participation to flourish.
The paper can be downloaded here.
ASETUC-FES Social Partners' Forum
6 March 2012 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Social Partners’ Forum welcomed around 40 participants from manifold backgrounds in Southeast Asia to elaborate on action programmes to advance industrial relations within ASEAN and to define the role of Cambodia as ASEAN chair in 2012.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Chap Sotharith, expanded on ASEAN’s achievements and challenges implementing its Roadmap 2009-2015. He emphasized Cambodia’s enhanced political prestige within the region and its increasingly thriving economy. Yet equally, he accentuated the challenges of economic competitiveness within ASEAN and the lack of educational facilities and decent infrastructure within Cambodia. IN assuming the role as ASEAN Chair in 2012, Cambodia acquires the opportunity to engage with regional powers and to attain a coordinating and mediating function within the Southeast Asian terrain. Despite economic improvements in recent years, a rough path lies ahead of Cambodia in terms of overcoming internal challenges and at the same time mastering its new role as the incumbent ASEAN Chair.
In the course of the Forum Representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training of Cambodia, the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations and the regional organizations Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), Public Services International (PSI) and Union Network International (UNI) reviewed potential obstacles and proposed essential measures for a betterment of future industrial relations in Cambodia and ASEAN. Lastly, the ASETUC Cambodia Working Group engaged in a lively debate eventually shaping ASETUC’s Action Plan for 2012. The event was co-organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia and the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC).
FES Regional Forum: Green Jobs in Asia - Potentials and Prospects for National Strategies
5-7 March 2012 - Singapore
The topic ‘green jobs’ has become more important as the world is facing a twin challenge, caused by two main factors: First, current economic models rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels that depend highly on the extraction of natural resources, contributing to climate change and environmental degradation. Second, emerging economies, especially those in Asia, are struggling to deliver economic growth and decent jobs to their increasing population.
With this Regional Forum, FES wanted to bring these two different angles together by offering a forum for experts from 10 different countries to identify challenges and opportunities for discussing an alternative development path that is able to combine environmental preservation and decent jobs. Furthermore, the conference had also a political dimension which is the development of common understanding, analytical background, and a common agenda. As a political project, the conference was trying to propose a political framework that can be accepted by a coalition of different actors in various countries. It is expected that imperceptibly, in the long run, participants in this regional forum are able to develop their own country specific strategies for green jobs, taking into consideration the political, economic, and cultural circumstances.
Among the conclusions of the conference was that, for a long‐term change with enhanced opportunities for all, a different relationship between the state and the economy is needed. This also refers to more comprehensive environmental laws and more effective coordination and implementation of policies. Furthermore, there are vibrant discussions at the international level about a different system of taxation including more ecological concerns. As a final point, green jobs strategies should use the international agenda as a benchmark. However, the emphasis is to remain at the national level. Global governance is needed and the green jobs issue can only be taken at global level, yet to be realistic, it will be very hard to change global and regional structures, but it is realistic to build a national strategy that is applicable against any challenges within each country.
FES Regional Forum Economy of Tomorrow: Creating a Good Society with full capacities for all
1-2 March 2012 - Bangkok, Thailand
Based on a network of economic thinkers and policy makers in each country, FES aims to facilitate the formation of an inter-regional network of European and Asian economists with a view to exchange views on the analytical framework and to develop concrete policy recommendations. The objective is to discuss how a development model should look like that can produce socially just, sustainable and dynamic growth.
Gender Coordinators’ Meeting of FES Offices in Asia:
Strategies and Tools of FES Gender Programmes: How Can We Increase the Impact of National and Regional Gender Policies in Asia?
20-24 February 2012 - Kathmandu, Nepal
FES Gender Coordinators from Asia got together over four days in Nepal to discuss and get familiar with the 2011 adopted FES gender strategies at the Department for Asia and the Pacific as well as the Division for International Cooperation of FES.
Participants from 12 FES offices in the Asia region as well as from headquarters in Berlin were further trained on the method of gender analysis as one key tool of the regional gender approach in Asia and exchanged information about activities conducted in 2011 on a national level. Coordinated efforts were made regarding the planning of gender programmes in 2012 and potential areas for cooperation and support were identified.
"Justice Reform in Southeast Asian Countries: What Role for Parliaments?".
The 9th workshop of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance (17-18 September 2011 in Phnom Penh) brought together parliamentarians, legal and justice professionals, academics and civil society representatives to examine the current state of justice reform in Southeast Asia. The participants identified challenges and shared good practices within justice reform in their countries concerning the aspects accessibility, accountability/impartiality, transparency and effectiveness.
They elaborated on how each stakeholder groups can contribute to promote good governance of the justice sector in their own countries. Together they developed various approaches to and strategies to address justice reform at the regional and national level.
The report can be found here.
New FES and Migrant Forum Asia Publication:
"Migrant Workers' Rights to Social Protection in ASEAN - Case Studies of Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand"
The world of work has become increasingly precarious for many workers, particular for migrant workers. Migrant workers are among the most adversely affected by a rollback of labour protection in the course of the global financial crisis. Looked to as a pool of cheap, flexible, and exploitable labour, rights for migrant workers are often secondary to the economic benefits they bring to both countries of origin and of destination. Migrant workers have the fewest priveleges and are the last considered when it comes to social protection.
This exploitarory study focuses on the access of low- and medium-skilled migrants to social protection in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The study concludes with key recommendations to address the lack of social protection for migrants within the ASEAN region.
The paper can be downloaded here.
It is our pleasure to announce that the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia has a new leaflet. It follows the restructuring of our regional programme, with us having now a new programme focus on promoting social justice in Asia. The history and background of FES as well as logistical information can be found in there as well.
We hope that we will have opportunity this year to hand over a hardcopy to you in person in one of our activities in 2012.
Please click here to have a look at our new leaflet.
New fesmedia Asia series Publication: A Buzz in Cyberspace, But No Net-Revolution – The Role of the Internet in Singapore’s 2011 Elections
The May 2011 general election in Singapore witnessed a relaxation of the rules on election campaigning in the Internet, cyberspace has been extensively used for political debate and comment. The ruling government’s result led to the election being labelled by observers as an “Internet election” influenced by media activism by the city state’s tech-savvy population. However, Kai Portmann’s analysis of Singapore’s web argues the case for an election rather shaped by bread-and-butter issues as well as a call for divergent voices in politics and more control of the government.
Although online political expression since the mid-1990s has affected political processes in Singapore and influenced Singapore’s political culture, its impact in electoral terms has so far been limited.
Please click here to view the publication.
At the 8th Asia-Europe Roundtable (23-25 May 2011), experts reviewed current and emerging global trends, relevant to conflict management, to identify those decisions and actions required to enhance regional conflict transformation mechanisms in Asia and Europe and develop different bi-regional strategic partnership possibilities.
Based on the discussions from the 8th Asia Europe Roundtable, ‘The Future of an Asia-Europe Strategic Partnership in Conflict Transformation’ examines those policy decisions that are required now, to ensure sustainable bi-regional co-operation on peace and security in the future. The report explores possible scenarios of future Asia-Europe co-operation with regard to conflict and security issues.
More specifically, this publication:
a) Maps some of the different trajectories of Asia-Europe co-operation that could develop in the coming years with regard to conflict and security issues;
b) Analyses those global issues (such as migration, new technologies, geopolitical shifts, energy co-operation) that will have an impact on regional co-ordination of conflict management activities;
c) Presents multi-sectoral recommendations by which Asia-Europe conflict transformation strategies can be strengthened and better co-ordinated.
This report has been published in partnership with the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs and supported by the Europe-Asia Policy Forum (EUforAsia) and the European Union.
Please click here to view the report.
Lecture and publication launch: The Role of Civil Society Organisations in Community-Building
10 November 2011 - Singapore
At the launch of the Singapore chapter of the publication ‘An ASEAN Community for All: Exploring the Scope for Civil Society Engagement’, the role of civil society organisations in Singapore and Europe was explored.
Prof Dr Dorothée de Nève (FernUniversitaet Hagen, Germany) offered a comprehensive and practical way of understanding the role of civil society in Europe, through its interactions with the other arenas of society.
Dr Stefanie Elies (Director, FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia) brought the focus to Southeast Asia with her introduction of the publication that was launched. With the ASEAN Community expected to come into effect in 2015, the FES aims to fill the knowledge gap of the civil society landscape in this region.
The Singapore chapter in the publication was written by Dr Gillian Koh and Debbie Soon (both of the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore), who presented their findings and analysis. Dr Koh charted the incremental widening of the space for civil society organisations in Singapore through the administrations of the three prime ministers. In characterising state-society relations in Singapore, Dr Koh noted the tension and constant negotiation between the two sectors since the 1980s, and that civil society organisations are still the ‘junior partner’ in this relationship (citing the sociologist Chua Beng Huat).
During the question and answer session the audience explored issues of the representativeness of civil society groups, as well as inter- and intra-regional comparisons of civil society in both Europe and Southeast Asia. The ‘marketisation’ of civil society in Europe was also noted in how more commercial companies are creating and/or funding civil society organisations – a phenomenon that is no doubt a boost for civil society development, but the need for constant growth and expansion of these organisations should not be left unquestioned.
The event was jointly organised by and hosted by the EU Centre.
Workshop: An ASEAN Community for All: Exploring the Scope for Civil Society Engagement
4 November 2011 - Jakarta, Indonesia
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia organised a closed door workshop with 35 representatives from national and regional Civil Society Organisations in ASEAN member states as well from the ASEAN Secretariat.
During this half-day event participants discussed how to utilize the findings of the launched publication “An ASEAN Community for All: Exploring the Scope for Civil Society Engagement” in identifying entry points to bridge existing gaps.
Participants further explored new paths for constructive engagement within the ASEAN community building by taking the findings of the publication into consideration and linking them to existing and developing ASEAN processes. Discussions were guided by a professional facilitator.
Official Launch: An ASEAN Community for All: Exploring the Scope for Civil Society Engagement
4 November 2011 - Jakarta, Indonesia
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, embarked on a mapping exercise of civil society in the ten ASEAN member states and a study on the role of regional civil society organizations (CSOs) which was officially launched in Jakarta, 4 November 2011, stressing the roles, strengths and challenges of CSOs in the region.
To mark the launch of the mapping, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, presented the latest findings of its study to a wider audience in Jakarta. The launch highlighted the key findings of the individual country chapters as well as the regional study to ASEAN experts, ASEAN government representatives and officials as well as representatives from NGOs, the academe and the media.
Mr. Irmawan Emir Wisnander, Director for ASEAN Functional Cooperation, Directorate-General of ASEAN Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia welcomed the participants and commended the publication as an important step for the ASEAN Community Building process.
New Publication: An ASEAN Community for All: Exploring the Scope for Civil Society Engagement
With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community coming into effect in 2015, the goal of strengthening its ASEAN Socio-cultural Community pillar by increasing the participation of stakeholders and the peoples of ASEAN in building the ASEAN Community is clear. One way to enable wider participation of stakeholders and peoples of ASEAN is the improvement of ASEAN-CSO engagement and interaction processes, aiding in the swift achievement of the ASEAN Community 2015.
In order for such developments to take place, it is important to understand that ASEAN member states are at different stages of civil society involvement, and that greater effort must be made towards information gathering. The FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, has therefore undertaken a mapping exercise of civil society in the 10 ASEAN member states and a study on the role of regional civil society organisations to support the process of greater civil society participation in ASEAN and also to fill a persisting knowledge gap by providing an overview of the civil society landscape in ASEAN.
The mapping exercise identifies the strengths, challenges, gaps and development needs of the CSO sector in ASEAN member countries. It addresses questions on the diversity of CSOs in each member country, their level of organisation and structure as well as the structural processes of consultation. It further provides a framework to present the different CSO sectors for comparison and contrast, looking primarily at two dimensions: Externally, at the legal, political and advocacy environment as well as the thematic areas in which CSOs operate; and internally, at the organisational capacity of CSOs to perform their roles.
Please click here to view the report.
Conference: Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sectors. Best Practices and the Roles of ASEAN Tripartite Social Partners
31 October-1 November 2011 – Jakarta, Indonesia
For the third time Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) together with the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration (MOMT) of the Republic of Indonesia, the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) and the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC), comprising of Southeast Asian affiliates from three Global Union Federations (BWI, PSI and UNI Apro) have invited social partners from ASEAN countries to participate in the „Regional Tripartite Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sectors: Best Practices and the Roles of ASEAN Tripartite Social Partners” with the support of the ASEAN Secretariat.
After the first meeting, held in Bangkok in October 2009, that focused on the ASEAN Economic Integration and its Impact on Trade Unions and Workers. And the second meeting, held in Hanoi in March 2010, that focused on Sharing Experiences on Regional Social Dialogue from ASEAN and the EU. This Regional Social Dialogue Conference set the focus:
• To follow up on key strategic priorities of ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Work Programme 2010-2015 and on issues on common interests for the enhancement of regional and national tripartite social dialogue in ASEAN countries,
• To articulate the roles and responsibilities of tripartite social partners and joint initiatives for building a regional sectoral tripartite social dialogue process,
• To enhance solidarity and cooperation among social partners towards building a caring and sharing ASEAN community.
Social Partners from seven ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) plus representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, representatives from the European Union (EU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) were discussing two days on roles and responsibilities of the social partners in enhancement of regional tripartite sectoral social dialogue. Furthermore, good practices on social dialogue at the regional level from Europe and good practices on social dialogue at the national level in ASEAN countries have been shared. The conference recommended the greater involvement of employers’ federations and trade union organizations in discussions in ASEAN concerning issues of common interests namely labour migration, skills certification and occupational safety and health plus environment (OSH+E).
Please find the Joint Recommendations of the Conference here.
Revised Edition: Trade Unions, Employers and Labour Ministers Initiated a Sectoral Social Dialogue at ASEAN Level - Brochure about the Work of the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council Including the Executive Summary of the Assessment Study 'ASEAN Economic Integration and its Impact on Workers and Trade Unions’.
Since 2009 the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) supports the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) in lobbying for an institutionalized Regional Social Dialogue in the Services Sector in ASEAN. The idea of the establishment of a social dialogue at the regional level found supporters from all three social partners in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. By the year 2015, a single market and production base will have been established among the member states of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Economic integration will definitely bring about the need to also bring about comparative industrial relations in order to make economic development and business needs compatible with human resource requirements, skills development and employment trends.
This revised edition of the brochure on “Trade Unions, Employers and Labour Ministers Initiated a Sectoral Social Dialogue at ASEAN Level” is looking into the new developments on tripartism. Additionally, the revised edition includes the executive summary of the Assessment study “ASEAN Economic Integration and its Impact on Workers and Trade Unions”. The study gives on overview of the impact in six services sectors (civil aviation, construction, electricity, finance, healthcare and telecommunication).
Click here to download the revised edition of the brochure.
Workshop: “Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiatives in ASEAN: Key Dimensions and Practical Experiences”
5 October 2011 - Bogor, Indonesia
“Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) should not be considered as an ‘add-on’ to government tasks, it should be integrated into the country budgetary system. At the same time GRB should contribute to the results that women achieve the at grass-root level” said Dra. Sri Danti, MA, Secretary at the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia in her closing remarks of the conference “Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiatives in ASEAN: Key Dimensions and Practical Experiences”.
The conference, which was an official side event at the 3rd ACW+3, Preliminary Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Women in Bogor, 4th October 2011, was organised by FES in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection in Indonesia.
The workshop aimed at:
• exchanging experiences encountered in the implementation of GRB in the Southeast Asian region,
• exploring lessons learned and achievements of existing initiatives,
• reflecting on (policy) challenges for government bodies and interested parties,
• promoting a professional network to discuss and exchange strategies and policies regarding GRB among government officials and agencies
The workshop was attended by the focal points of the ASEAN Committee on Women Plus Three (China, Japan and Korea) and saw presentations from experts on Gender budgeting from the University of South Australia, UN Women, UN ESCAP and the National Development Planning Agency in Indonesia . Further input was given from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines who shared their experiences and challenges in mainstreaming GRB.
The 9th Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance - “Justice Reform in Southeast Asian Countries– What Role for Parliament?”
17-18 September 2011 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The 9th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance (IPF-SSG) was held on 17-18 September in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. More then 40 participants from the parliaments, security sector, academia, and civil society from various Southeast Asian countries came together to examine the current state of justice reform in the region.
Mr Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly of Cambodia, and Mrs Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Minister of Justice of Germany, delivered the keynote speeches.
In an open and engaging manner, the participants identified existing challenges and gaps pertaining to the justice sector in their countries and shared good practices and entry points to deal with those deficiencies. Particularly, they explored how parliaments can better engage in overseeing the justice reform processes in their own countries. As an important result of the workshop, the participants outlined country-specific action plans on how all stakeholders can contribute in pushing forward national reform efforts.
The Forum was initiated in 2006 by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia FES-Singapore, and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. It is a loose network of members and staff of parliament, security sector officials, civil society representatives and academics from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand as well as representative of the ASEAN Secretariat and international experts. The Forum convenes every year on different topics related to security sector governance.
The workshop report will be uploaded shortly. For more information, please visit our website: www.ipf-ssg-sea.net
8th Asia-Europe Roundtable: The Future of an Asia-Europe Strategic Partnership in Conflict Transformation
22-25 May 2011 - Bali, Indonesia
Twenty-five experts met in Bali at the 8th Asia-Europe Roundtable to discuss ‘The Future of an Asia-Europe Strategic Partnership in Conflict Transformation’ (22-25 May 2011). They included decision-makers from the public service sector, regional organisations, academia, NGOs and the media. The group reviewed emerging global trends in different sectors vis-à-vis conflict, identifying methods of cooperation between Asia and Europe that can best address future conflict challenges.
Mr Jusuf Kalla, former Vice-President of Indonesia, delivered the keynote address.
This Roundtable reflected two important developments in recent decades. The first is a shift in thinking about ways of addressing conflict. Moving beyond “conflict management” to “conflict transformation”. This approach emphasises addressing the root causes of particular conflicts over a long time frame. It recognises the impact of embedded societal structures, relationships and interests that prolong conflict situations.
The second development is the continuing emergence of Asia-Europe cooperation to address common challenges to peace and security. The Asia-Europe Roundtable series recognises that both regions are major stakeholders in conflict situations around the globe. The event was organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), with the support of the Europe-Asia Policy Forum (EUforAsia).
ASEAN – ISIS Conference: “Strengthening the ASEAN Political-Security Community through Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Mechanism”
5-6 May 2011 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
This 2-day conference & workshop, held on 5-6 May 2011, aimed at examining the gap between establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015 and determining concrete steps towards the implementation of roadmaps and action plans adopted by the ASEAN leaders. As seen in the recent conflict over the Thai-Cambodian border there is an urgent need to put Preventive Diplomacy (PD) into practice, however, ASEAN has remained hesitant to effectively implement the principle since its adoption by the ASEAN Regional Forum in 2001.
The conference & workshop generated frank and open discussions among the representatives from the Network of ASEAN Institutes of Strategic and International Studies (ASEAN-ISIS), Members of Parliament as well as decision-makers from ministries of the Kingdom of Cambodia. One of the main findings was that a more effective, comprehensive, and coherent mechanism is needed to prevent and / or mediate conflicts to ensure stability, peace and common prosperity in the region.
Please download here the conference program.
44th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting – FES Support for Global Unions
3-6 May 2011 – Hanoi, Vietnam
Six Global Union Federations, the International Trade Union Confederation Asia-Pacific (ITUC AP) and national and industrial trade unions in the region with the support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia have been promoting for the implementation of a labour desk and the compliance with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Labour Standards in Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects during the 44th ADB Annual Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. Public Services International Asia and Pacific Regional Organisation (PSI APRO) started the dialogue with ADB in 2006 and brought more regional union organizations on board in the last years. In the NGO consultations with ADB President Mr Haruhiko Kuroda one miniature of a labour desk and a handbook on the establishment of a labour desk in ADB was handed over in the name of Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific (BWI AP), Education International Asia Pacific (EI AP), International Transport Workers Federation Asia Pacific (ITF AP), UNI Global Union Asia Pacific (UNI APRO), International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) and ITUC AP.
The Global Unions raised concerns on Social Protection and Climate Change in Asia in two workshops in the ADB Civil Society Program. In the Civil Society Panel “Social Protection in the Asia Pacific Region from the Perspectives of Workers, the Youth, and the Aged” the Co-Chair of PSI APRO Ms Annie Geron asked ADB in her presentation “...to undertake an open and multi-stakeholder review of the Bank’s 2001 Social Protection Strategy to ensure it supports decent work and inclusive growth...” for their new strategy on social protection . In the panel on “Climate Change: Greening Jobs, Services, Infrastructures and Industries” the representatives of the GUFs made the demand to ADB to build and strengthen with their projects Quality Public Services (QPS) and to include workers and unions in the consultation process on greening jobs and industries.
In the four days of the 44th ADB Annual Meeting the voice of workers and unions was definitely heard by ADB officials. Please find here the summarized call on the ADB by the Global Unions: DECENT WORK IN THE CENTRE OF LONG TERM, SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE GROWTH.
FES Capacity Building Program for the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia: 1st Training Workshop
29-30 March 2011 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, in cooperation with the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP), designed a Capacity Building Program for the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia to define “Cambodia’s Contribution towards building an ASEAN Community”. The program aims at strengthening representatives and staff of the National Assembly in its capacity to chair ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) 2011 confidentially. The vision of AIPA is to promote close relations among its core members and partners. Moreover, AIPA aims at facilitating the achievement of the goals of ASEAN, prominently the realization of the ASEAN Community through exchange and consultation with the ASEAN Secretariat. AIPA constitutes of the General Assembly, The Presidency, the Executive Committee, the Committees, the Secretary General and the National Secretariats.
The ASEAN Charter, came into force on December 14th 2008 and envisions the establishment of an ASEAN Community, consisting of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). Its aim is to reinforce ASEAN’s role as the driving force in charting the evolving regional architecture.
In 2009, leaders from both AIPA and ASEAN signed an agreement, which will enable AIPA to enhance its parliamentary inputs and recommendations in the drafting of ASEAN agreements on political and security matters through regular informal meetings. The enhanced relations with ASEAN will allow AIPA parliamentary members to assist in the implementation of the APSC Blueprint through the adoption of relevant resolutions and the promulgation of national legislation in conformity to the Blueprint. In this regard, AIPA aims at establishing mechanisms of cooperation and information exchange between ASEAN and AIPA and the national parliaments. AIPA will make legislative proposals, provide expertise, and establish strategic programs for the strengthening of the rule of law and the legal infrastructure among others.
The 1st Training Workshop focused on the “ASEAN Community Roadmap 2015 and Visions for Cambodia” in view of Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN 2012. Please click here for the training program.
ASETUC Workshop on ASEAN Economic Integration
24-25 March 2011 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia and the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) with the support from the three Global Union Federations UNI Global Union Asia-Pacific (UNI APRO), Building and Woodworkers International Asia-Pacific (BWI AP) and the Public Services International Asia-Pacific Regional Organisation (PSI APRO) organized the ASETUC Workshop on ASEAN Economic Integration, 24-25 March 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The workshop aimed to raise the awareness for workers and trade unions in Cambodia, especially those in the services sectors; to prepare them for anticipating the challenges and to enhance their capacity to respond to these challenges at the national and regional level, especially in 2012 when Cambodia takes on the ASEAN Chairmanship.
Besides the ASETUC affiliated unions from Cambodia the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUC) and Cambodia’s Independent Civil-Servants Association (CICA) the workshop gained attention also by three national union centers of Cambodia the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Union (CCTU) and the National Union Alliance Chamber of Cambodia (NACC). Representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training gave an overview of the Cambodian ASEAN policy regarding the regional economic integration process. The political leaders – Art Thorn of CLC, Vong Sovann of CCTU and Som Aun of NACC - gave a brief update on the current situation of social protection, rights at work and social dialogue in Cambodia. In the discussions later on the participants highlighted the challenges of the current Cambodian labour system and for the trade unions and formulated issues that they want to be discussed on the regional level. There was a high demand for a regional mechanism for labour migration by the trade unionists.
To learn more about trade unions in Cambodia FES has published in December 2010 the study “Building Unions in Cambodia” by Nuon Veasna and Melisa Serrano.
ASEAN Secretariat Workshop on Methods of Stakeholder Involvement in Building an ASEAN Community
24 March 2011 - Jakarta, Indonesia
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), organised a workshop on “Methods of Stakeholder Involvement in Building an ASEAN Community” on 24 March 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The workshop aimed at developing ideas on how staff members of the ASEC can be more actively involved in stakeholder engagement processes. On this occasion the ASEC and FES also launched the publication “Constructive Engagement – Building a People-Oriented Community” which summarises the proceedings of the ASEAN Secretariat Symposium on Methods of Stakeholder Engagement in Regional Organisations, which was held from 23-25 November 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Twenty ASEAN Secretariat staff members from different divisions attended this one-day meeting.
„I have known the work of the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for a long time, and I have been impressed by the way they discharge their activities. German political foundations are models for engagement for people in any democracy.”, said Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, who delivered his remarks during the Opening Session of the workshop. He stressed that the change taking place in the region can’t be complete and effective unless all stakeholders are involved in the process. This year, Indonesia as the ASEAN Chair in 2011 decided, that the people will play a larger role in official and non-official meetings. Stakeholder Engagement should be seen as working for the good of the government, even though it may be in opposition, but always for the good of democracy.
Dr. Pitsuwan concluded: “We have a partner in the FES. We appreciate the goodwill and serious intent that they have, to walk along the road with us as we learn how to manage the relationship between ASEAN, the stakeholders and civil society.”
The full speech can be found here: http://www.aseansec.org/26089.htm
New Publication: Constructive Engagement - Building a People-Oriented Community
The new report “Constructive Engagement – Building a People-Oriented Community” is an outcome of the region's stakeholders and government officials meeting in November 2009 organised in partnership by the ASEAN Secretariat in co-operation with FES Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia. The report captures key discussions, initiatives and action plans developed. Participants aimed to ensure an ASEAN Community by 2015 that engages and benefits the people of ASEAN.
The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, said in his foreword that while ASEAN Member States were committed to building an ASEAN Community, "the governments, are, by and large, still grappling with the details of how they will implement the vision." He further noted the limited involvement of the private sector and other non-governmental actors in ASEAN integration.
The Symposium was organised to learn from other regions' stakeholder engagement practices and methods, which could be constructive to ASEAN. "All that remains is for us to create these platforms to realise the idea of the ASEAN Community and to summon our political will for the good of the region," he concluded.
Please click here to view the report.
New Publication: Early Warning Systems in Minority Conflicts – A Framework for Developing Regional Responses
On 20-21 May 2010, experts from the field of early warning systems and minority conflict issues, met at the Asia-Europe Foundation for a workshop which was held under the auspices of the Asia-Europe Roundtable (AER) series. Following up upon recommendations from previous AER meetings to monitor warning signals for minority conflicts, this workshop was on the topic of ‘Early Warning Systems in Minority Conflicts’.
Based on the background paper and the discussions from the 7th Asia Europe Roundtable workshop, Early Warning Systems in Minority Conflict: A Framework for Developing Regional Responses’ studies the manner by which minority conflicts are prevented and contained through early warning systems; by analysing the gaps within the current mechanisms, it presents a framework by which regional early warning structures and responses can be better integrated and enhanced.
More specifically, this publication will:
a) Map the international legal framework for minority conflict prevention and make an inventory of various existing mechanisms for conflict prevention;
b) Illustrate how regional actors have acted to prevent minority conflict and what preventive efforts have been organised at regional level;
c) Present various approaches to minority conflict prevention in the context of early warning systems;
d) Identify potential and criteria for creating regional multi-level structures for minority conflict prevention, methods to build capacity, trust and coordination between the stakeholders.
The AER series is organised in partnership with the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. Please click here to view the Framework Document.
ASETUC Evaluation and Strategic Planning Meeting on ASEAN Economic Integration 2011-2015,
28-29 November 2010 - Jakarta, Indonesia
The ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Regional Trade Union Program Asia-Pacific hold a two-day meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia to evaluate the ASETUC activities in 2011 and to discuss the future planning and the next steps for 2011. The amount of participants resembled the rapid but sustainable growth of the membership in ASETUC in the last years. The fruitful discussions showed that the services unions in Asia believe in the same aims of decent work and that they are prepared for the ASEAN Economic Integration. The participants discussed the participation of trade unions and the representation of the workers’ voice in ASEAN with Dr Donald Tambunan, Head of Socio-Cultural Cooperation Directorate, and his team at the ASEAN Secretariat on the second day. He appreciates the initiative of ASETUC and is looking forward to the stronger cooperation of ASETUC in the region.
Additionally, at this event the chairmanship of ASETUC for 2011 was ceremonially handed over from Mr Hoang Huy Loat, President of the Vietnam National Union for Post and Telecom Workers (VNUPTW) to Mr Muhamad Hakim, President of Asosiasi Serikat Pekerja Indonesia (ASPEK). The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion about migrant workers in Asia, which is one of the important labour issues in all ASEAN countries, and the screening of the movie “Minggu Pagi di Victoria Park” (Sunday Morning in Victoria Park). This movie tells the story of Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong and the impact of the decision on the workers themselves and their families.
Third International Conference on Women’s Safety: Building Inclusive Cities
22-24 November 2010 - New Delhi, India
Women’s lack of safety is a serious obstacle to achieving gender equality as it curtails women's mobility and limits their right to participate fully and freely as citizens in their communities. It is an issue that affects millions of women and girls in cities all over the world. Both the causes and consequences of gender inequality and women’s lack of safety are interrelated and multi-faceted, encompassing such diverse issues as violence against women (VAW), access to basic services and employment, good governance, urban planning, and political participation.
The objective of this Conference was to consolidate discussions and work to date around safe and inclusive cities for women and girls, and to facilitate exchange and cooperation among various partners working in the field of women's safety, women’s rights and Violence Against Women. Around 500 participants from over 20 countries took part in this 3 days conference. Participants included women's groups, elected representatives and civil servants at the municipal level, associations of municipalities, researchers, crime prevention organizations, regional and national governments, community organizations, grassroots groups, and international agencies. Best practices from around the world were show cased and highest level decision makers participated in the conference. A Delhi Declaration was also issued delineating the tasks for all stakeholders to make Cities safe for Women.
Gender Responsive Budgeting: A Challenge to Achieve Gender Equality
18-19 November 2010 - Jakarta,Indonesia
Most Asian countries committed themselves to the enhancement of gender equality and recognize the diverse efforts in its achievement. Among the measures adopted, gender responsive budgeting is considered as one of the most effective strategies. It has many positive side-effects such as making the budget process more impact oriented and transparent and helps to illustrate a government’s commitment to gender equality and equity. Almost all ASEAN countries have started pilot projects on gender budgeting at national, regional or local level. It is time to document these efforts and make them well known.
This regional workshop engaged international high level policy-makers, administrative practitioners of gender budgeting and academic experts at analyzing and exchanging experiences in implementing gender responsive budgeting in Asia, to reflect on policy challenges for government bodies and interested parties, to explore lessons learned and achievements towards the initiatives, to promote networking among government officials and agencies, and to identify strategies which could facilitate the implementation of gender responsive budgeting at the national or local level within the support of gender mainstreaming. It was agreed that the interesting results of the meeting will be shared by the participants with their individual governments as well as with the ASEAN Secretariat.
An Introduction to Gender-Aware Economics
9-12 November 2010 - Shanghai, China
The current period of global economic crisis has forced various stakeholders to take another look at the paradigms of growth and development. Questions have been raised on the range of economic policy choices available and what their social consequences are. Although there have been many forums devoted to understanding the global economic crisis and its roots in economic structures, very few confront its gendered nature and consequences.
Amongst FES’s strategic goals is to shape the “economy of the future” and guide globalization into a direction that promotes peace, democracy and social justice. Therefore a training session was organized for the FES Gender Coordinators in Asia. This training session was aimed at introducing the concepts and frameworks used by feminist economics to analyze economic policies and their consequences. It was also geared towards identifying some of the advocacies around gender and economic justice in more recent history.
Participants were trained to familiarize themselves with concepts often used in gender analysis of economic policies. Participants were also trained to familiarize themselves with how these concepts are being expressed in various political arenas as demands for policy changes. Since policymakers are not homogeneous, it was useful to know who have been the institutional targets for policy change in national governments or multi-lateral organizations.
Biofuels in Southeast Asia: Challenge to Social Sustainability – Chances for Green Jobs?”
6-8 October 2010 - Jakarta, Indonesia
On 6-8 October, 25 stakeholders and decision makers from the ASEAN region representing trade unions, CSOs / NGOs, research institutes as well as regional and political organisations met in Jakarta to discuss the question of social sustainability in biofuel production with a focus on the Southeast Asian region. As a prevailing view, biofuels are often associated with positive outcomes such as energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing revenues and thus improving living standards of low-income farmers and helping promote rural development. However, drawing on biofuel production experiences of especially the last decade, a debate has emerged in recent years to the true merit and sustainability of biofuels, particularly in South East Asia (SEA) as the region gradually emerged as a major biofuel producer and exporter.
Dr. Haberinderjit Singh Dillon, Senior Governance Advisor of the Centre for Agricultural Policy Studies delivered the Keynote Speech and stressed that in order to achieve energy security; the increase in biofuel production needs to be guided properly.
The two-day conference focussed on structural problems and how they have affected social stability in the biofuel producing countries by looking closely at the working conditions of plantation workers as well as at the status of small landholders and their agribusinesses. The seminar provided insights on how worker’s rights can be protected and whether freedoms of association, decent wages, and access to social security for the workers are guaranteed. Within the context of current global discussions about different initiatives for “Green Jobs”, it was also discussed whether there is a realistic niche for the creation of green jobs in the biofuels sector and which policies might be needed in order to create more decent jobs on biofuel plantations.
ASETUC Philippines 2nd Advocacy Workshop: Training Workshop for Trainers
16-17 September 2010 – Quezon City, Philippines
The ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Confederation hold their second training workshop on the national level in the Philippines with the support of the FES Regional Trade Union Program to inform about the ASEAN economic integration process and its impact on workers in Quezon City on 16 and 17 September 2010. The need for Trade Unions to engage in the ASEAN integration process more actively and the development of strategies to influence the effects of regional integration in order to advance workers’ welfare led to the organization of this two-day workshop. The training which took place in Quezon City was organized by the Philippines working group of ASEAN Service Employees Trade Union Confederation in cooperation with Buildings & Woodworkers International (BWI), Union Network International (UNI) and Public Sector International (PSI) and addressed three core objectives:
• Raising awareness to ASEAN and its impact on services employees;
• Develop strategies to cooperate with national governments on regional economic integration related issues; and
• Enlarge the number of trainers able to realize ASETUC awareness and advocacy campaigns.
During the workshop, the 35 participants were introduced to the structure and influence of ASEAN and the importance of ASETUC as a regional voice of trade unions in the service sector, liaising with governments and other relevant organizations as well as to ASETUC’s social dialogue agenda. The state of regional economic integration and its impact on the Philippines and workers and trade unions was addressed by Dr. Rene Ofreneo of the University of the Philippines. His findings point to competitiveness as the key challenge for the Philippines while trade unions’ focus should be directed at identifying winners and losers of economic integration in order to react to unfavourable developments for workers.
Participants also developed different action plans as a reflexion exercise as much as for future implementation for the unions involved in the workshop.
Joint conference-workshop of Homenet Southeast Asia (Homenet SEA) and Homenet South Asia (HNSA): “Building Visibility and Voice through Responsive Homebased Workers’ Organizations in Asia: Focus On ILO Convention 177 on Home Work”
2-3 August 2010 - Manila, Philippines
Homebased workers can be found in every country, they are mostly women and usually invisible. HomeNet is an international solidarity network, for homebased workers and their organizations. Most homebased workers are part of the growing informal sector, who have no recognition as workers and no legal rights. Homebased workers in many instances have no access to a living wage, safe working conditions or basic living standards. They are not recognised as part of the workforce or as making an important contribution to the economy.
Homenet Southeast Asia (HNSEA) and Homenet South Asia (HNSA) are subregional networks of national Homenet organisations covering ten countries. Persistently they advocate the ratification of International Labour Conventions, such as ILC 177. This Convention aims to protect millions of homebased workers in terms of their rights. In this Networking and Empowerment Workshop Homenet and FES aimed at sharing experiences and bringing out best practices for the campaign for ILC 177 ratification on a national and regional level. The meeting was attended by all member Homenets of Homenet SEA and HNSA as well as representatives from countries planning to affiliate
Building Visibility and Voice through Responsive Homebased Workers’ Organizations in Asia:Focus on ILO Convention 177 on Home Work
2-3 August 2010 - Manesar, Haryana, India
The persistent advocacy of both Homenet Southeast Asia (HNSEA) and Homenet SouthAsia (HNSA) for the ratification of ILO Convention 177 is in response to the changing global employment system, characterized by lack of economic and social security, particularly among homeworkers, majority of whom are women. The Convention aims to protect millions of homeworkers in terms of their right to organize, non-discrimination in employment and occupation, maternity protection and attention to occupational safety and health, ability to accesss and receive capacity development training in various aspects, and obtaining other entitlements to be of equal status with workers in other occupations defined as “employees.”Both Homenet SEA and HNSA are also strengthening membership-based organizing (MBO) in its various country Homenets in order to facilitate the emergence and empowerment of grassroots women leaders. The objectives of this meeting were to share experiences and assess the campaign for ILC 177 ratification on a per country and subregional basis, in order to plot the ways forward;to share experiences and lessons in advocating for national policies and laws on homebased workers; and to review the results of the membership-based organizing initiatives. The meeting was attended by member homenets of Homenet SEA and HNSA, including representatives from countries planning to affiliate (e.g., Vietnam. Timor Leste and Malaysia for Homenet SEA. The meeting was also attended by trade union organisations and government respresentatives from Philippines.
Conference on Gender Mainstreaming and Justice for All
31 July - 1 August 2010 - Penang, Malaysia
The Conference aims to re-visit the strategy of gender mainstreaming which has been promoted at the global level since the 1990s to help governments implement more effective programmes rather than merely seeking to ‘integrate’ women in development. This strategy would entail a transformative process that will ensure that both women and men influence, participate in, and benefit from the development processes. Changes in organisational structures, procedures, and cultures have to be effected to create the environments conducive to promoting good governance, social equality and justice.
The 8th Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance - “Towards an ASEAN Political Security Community in ASEAN – What Role for Parliament?"
19-20 June 2010 - Jakarta, Indonesia
The 8th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance (IPF-SSG) was held on 19-20 June 2010 in Jakarta. It looked at the progress made towards the implementation of the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC), its state of play and challenges as well as the role of national parliaments in this endeavor. The APSC Blueprint, adopted in 2009, has drawn the most attention from inside and outside of ASEAN, given that it opened a debate about its implication for the security architecture of the Association in general and of its individual members in particular. Drafted by national ministers and officials, the APSC Blueprint is a principled document, which provides a roadmap and a timetable to establish the APSC by 2015. This year’s Forum meeting served as a platform for extensive exchange among various stakeholders. Fifty participants from different ASEAN countries outlined entry points to contribute to a more effective enforcement of the action plans set out in the APSC at both national and regional level. Concurrently, the workshop provided the parliamentary participants with suggestions for a better engagement in overseeing the process of the implementation of the political security integration process.
The Forum was initiated in 2006 by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia FES-Singapore, and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. It is a loose network of members and staff of parliament, security sector officials, civil society representatives and academics from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand as well as representative of the ASEAN Secretariat and international experts. The Forum convenes twice a year on different topics related to security sector governance.
For more information, please visit our website: www.ipf-ssg-sea.net
The 7th Asia-Europe Roundtable Workshop – Early Warning Systems in Minority Conflicts
20-21 May 2010 - Singapore
The Asia-Europe Roundtable (AER), a joint initiative by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, is a series of fora that aims to examine Asia-Europe experiences and cooperation in tackling common challenges such as region-building and conflict management with a view to identify and share good practices on solutions to common or contrasting challenges. Building on the findings from the previous AER, it was agreed upon that the existing frameworks and mechanisms lack the provisions to specifically prevent the outbreak of ethno-political conflicts. In order to prevent conflict from developing into widespread violence, a sound Early Warning System would be needed to flag the potential rising of ethnic minority conflicts. Based on this recommendation, the 7th AER workshop met in Singapore on 20-21 May 2010 with the objective to develop a framework for preventing ethnic conflict through a range of mechanisms at the regional level. Eight Asian and European experts in the field of conflict prevention, ethnic minority conflicts and peace building met over two days to work towards developing a regional early warning framework that would not only draw attention to the impending outbreak of minority conflict but also compel the relevant players to act towards preventing such a conflict. Please find here the workshop report of the 7th Asia-Europe Roundtable Workshop on Early Warning Systems in Minority Conflicts.
Regional Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations in the Services Sectors: Sharing Experiences from ASEAN and the EU
31 March-1 April 2010 – Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Recognizing that social dialogue and tripartism have been identified as key priorities in the area of labour and human resource development in ASEAN, the Regional Social Dialogue for Growth, Employment and Sound Industrial Relations was therefore jointly initiated and organized by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) Vietnam and the ASEAN Services Trade Unions Council (ASETUC) with the support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and in collaboration with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), Vietnam Chambers of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Pacific regional organizations of Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), Public Services International (PSI) and UNI Global Union. Over seventy five participants representing the social partners from the ten ASEAN member countries, including the ASEAN Secretariat, European Commission and social partners, Japan and the FES, BWI, PSI and UNI participated in the Dialogue in Hanoi, Vietnam from 31 March – 1 April 2010.
The participants discussed the involvement of the social partners in the EU and exchanged experience and good practices in social dialogue in various ASEAN countries as well as in Japan. They also shared and exchanged experiences on responses to the challenges posed by the trends in the employment of temporary workers and the migration of workers. The participants agreed that ASEAN should promote social dialogue particularly trade unions and employers representatives in the ASEAN decision-making process and in regional integration. Constructive and serious social dialogue will facilitate social cohesion and reinforce social partnership and people’s solidarity for the building of an ASEAN community. The full recommendations of the Regional Social Dialogue can be downloaded here.
The results of the conference were presented by MOLISA at the 21st ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM) in Hanoi, Vietnam 24 May 2010. The Minister's Joint Communiqué and the ASEAN Labour Ministers' Work Programme (2010-2015) encourage the social partners to conduct more tripartite dialogue in the region.
How does Regional Integration bring benefits to Gender Equality? A comparison between approaches of the European Union and ASEAN
22-26 February 2010 - Brussels, Belgium
The EU has been struggling for more than two decades to reach the level of participation by women it has today. This has only been possible by a firm and long-standing commitment to promote Gender Equality that has been a steep learning curve for all EU and member states. Several Gender Indices indicate that in Asia as a region women are widely excluded from full political, economic and societal participation. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a strong commitment to work for the active involvement of women in the social, economic and political spheres in accordance with the 1988 “Declaration on the Advancement of Women” in ASEAN. With the full ratification of the ASEAN Treaty and the subsequent formal entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, there is a new window of opportunity for the ASEAN community to develop its policy processes further. Therefore there was a large interest on behalf of highranking members of the ASEAN Secretariat and Policy Experts from Ministries of member states to exchange views with Experts from the European Union. FES Brussels and the Regional Cooperation for Gender Equality facilitated this exchange.
ASETUC/FES Workshop on Economic Integration and its Impact on Trade Unions and Workers
23-24 October 2009 - Bangkok, Thailand
During the 15th ASEAN Summit, more than 60 representatives of the ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council (ASETUC) met on October 24th, 2009, at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok with their social partners from the ASEAN Senior Labour Officials Meeting (ASEAN SLOM), the ASEAN Secretariat as well as the ASEAN Confederation of Employeers (ACE) for their first tripartite dialogue at the ASEAN level. During this meeting, cooperation between these three partners of social dialogue was mutually developed and further collaboration was agreed upon. Before this tripartite dialogue, unionists from ASETUC - which consists of member-organisations UNI APRO (services sector), BWI AP (construction and forestry sectors) and PSI AP (public services sector) - reviewed the results of the assessment-study "ASEAN Economic Integration and its Impact on Trade Unions and Workers" which was conducted by an expert research team over a period of two months.
Together, the participants agreed upon a joint communiqué "Bridge the Gap: The Workers´ Voice in ASEAN Integration" which was discussed on the second day of the conference with ASEAN SLOM officials from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and the ASEAN Confederation of Employers (ACE) represented by APINDO, Indonesia and ECOT, Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat led by Dr Donald Tambunan. The conference was jointly organised by FES Regional Trade Union Program Asia & Pacific and ASETUC.
Conference on "Energy Security in Southeast Asia and beyond – from Competition to Cooperation? Civil Society’s Stake in Asia’s and Europe’s Energy Policy"
20-22 October 2009 - Singapore
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia, in partnership with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technological University hosted a conference titled "Energy Security in Southeast Asia and Beyond – from Competition to Cooperation? Civil Society’s Stake in Asia’s and Europe’s Energy Policy" from 20 to 22 October 2009 in Singapore. This event was particularly timely, in view of the twin-pillared global energy challenges Asia and Europe are currently facing, namely increasing energy consumption needs and climate change. The conference served as a common platform for policymakers and civil society organisation (CSO) representatives from Asia and Europe, specialising in the field of energy security, to discuss pertinent issues and share regional insights related to the roles of CSOs in energy policymaking processes. A sustainable, low-carbon, development path can no longer operate without taking into account the increasingly important roles of CSOs in the energy policymaking process. Ultimately, CSOs strive to improve governance through the empowerment of the general public; enhancement of government transparency and accountability; and to complement states’ capacities in providing energy security to the people. CSOs’ involvement in the field of energy security, revolving around "3As" – awareness, action and advocacy – was a recurring theme throughout the conference. The conference also served to highlight the continued relevance and significance of increased CSO engagement in energy security.
In general, participants agreed that CSOs would play an increasing role in energy security in the foreseeable future, especially in Asia where governance deficits in some countries had more often than not obstructed effective energy policymaking. In the later part of the conference, participants engaged in lively brainstorming sessions on the trajectory of CSOs’ activities in the field of energy security and mapped out ideas which could better position CSOs in augmenting the governments’ roles in energy policymaking. Interesting initiatives, from seeking ways to forge an integrated framework for CSOs involved in energy policymaking to advocating local energy self-reliance at community levels, were thoughtfully conceived by the participants. Conference presentations, as well as the background papers and the briefing paper on the outcomes of the conference can be downloaded here:
Pilot Asian Media Barometer (ANMB)
4-6 September 2009 - Lahore, Pakistan
11-13 September 2009 - Goa, India
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung´s Regional Media Program developed in 2008/09 the "Asian Media Barometer" (ANMB) following the sucessful implementation of the "African Media Barometer" by FES´s Souther Africa Media Project in 2005. The ANMB is a self assessment exercise done by Asians themselves according to homegrown criterias. The project is the first in-depth and comprehensive description and measurement system for national media environment on the Asian continent. See here the short introduction in the concept.
Workshop on Change and Impact on homebased workers
7-8 September 2009 - Manesar, India
In past (2007 and 2008), FES and Homenet South Asia (HNSA) have jointly organised workshops to strengthen the need for social security for Homebased workers, advocating ratification of ILO Convention C177 and policy at national level for homebased workers. Specifically, these workshops are sought to build solidarity, mutual learning and experience sharing among the participants so that they can create a presence and a voice at Asia level.
This conference is a part of this series, looking at understanding the initiatives that have changed the lives of homebased workers and the impacts thereof. The conference was attended by homebased workers, NGOs, policy makers and academicians from South Asian and Southeast Asian region.
"Gender Equality + Equity in Asia: Are we getting any closer to these goals in 2020?"
16-19 August 2009 - Bangkok, Thailand
The Regional Cooperation for Gender Equality, FES strives to support Asia-wide political processes of regional integration, political campaigning, awareness raising and best practice exchange on different gender-related topics. The key questions addressed in this meeting were:
1. What could really bring stakeholders and decision makers, at the regional level, together, to act commonly so as to impact the situation of women and men in Asian societies?
2. Are there common topics or regional issues that could be discussed Asia-wide? Where are the challenges?
3. What are success stories when it comes to pursuing Equality in individual societies and how can others learn from these?
4. Who else is engaged in work which contributes to more Gender Equality and Equity all over Asia? Who needs to talk to each other?
The workshop aimed to collectively gather inputs for its future strategies through participatory methods.
"The 6th Asia-Europe Roundtable – Minority Conflicts: Towards an ASEM Framework for Conflict Management"
10-12 June 2009 - Derry, United Kingdom and Letterkenny, Ireland
The Asia-Europe Roundtable is a joint initiative by the Asia-Europe Foundation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, being a series of fora that aims to examine Asia-Europe experiences and cooperation in tackling common challenges such as region-building and conflict management. Building on the findings from the previous gatherings, the recently concluded 6th Asia-Europe Roundtable examined different types of minority conflicts with a particular focus on "frozen conflicts" in which cessation of open hostility offers a chance for the regional and international community to explore possible solutions and frameworks for transforming the conflict into sustainable peace.
More than 40 Asian and European experts in conflict and peace studies and research, academics, specialised journalists, human rights activists, practitioners, and diplomats came together in Derry and Letterkenny in both jurisdictions in Ireland from June 10-12, 2009 to work towards a framework for conflict management. Together they produced a set of policy recommendations on minority conflict management to political decision makers in Asia and Europe and identified issues and case studies that could be effectively addressed within the ASEM framework and through cooperation among key stakeholders in Asia and Europe.
Find here the documentation of the 6th Asia-Europe Roundtable. Additional the following papers were published for this event:
Brainstorming Workshop: International Framework Agreements "A suitable trade union instrument to engage multinational companies in Asia?"
3-5 June 2009 - Singapore
Global Union Federations (GUFs) worldwide have started to engage multinational companies (MNCs) in the last ten years through the instrument of "International Framework Agreements" (IFAs). More than 70 of these agreements have been concluded thus and a couple of GUFs have also started company-based union networks, mostly on a regional level. Such contracts usually contain regulations regarding the application of the ILO Core Labour Standards, and sometimes agreements on wage systems, working hours or overtime, as well as the establisment of monitoring systems between the trade union and the MNCs. In the scarce literature on IFAs in Asia, they are often considered to be an instrument strengthening workers and trade union´s rights in developing and threshold countries. On the other hand, almost all IFAs were initiated and negotiated by European trade unions – often without the proper involvement of trade unions from other regions.
In Asia, only one Asian MNC (Takashimaya/UNI) has signed an IFA thus far and experienced knowledge about the usage of IFAs and their benefits for workers´ and trade unions´ rights is very rare. With this brainstorming workshop in Singapore, FES Regional Trade Union Program started an open exchange of experiences between GUFs in Asia about their experiences and usage of IFAs in Asian countries as well as their involvement in negotiations. Furthermore, all participants discussed if IFAs are suitable ways in Asia to engage MNCs and evaluated the different strategies of GUFs concerning this instrument. They also took part in an assessment study of IFAs in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 6th Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Security Sector Governance: "Police Governance in ASEAN Member States – What Role for Parliaments?"
29-30 May 2009 - Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The Forum was initiated in 2006 by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Office for Regional Cooperation in Asia and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. It is an informal network of members and staff of parliaments, security sector officials, civil society representatives and academics from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand as well as representative of the ASEAN Secretariat and international experts. The Forum convenes twice a year on different topics related to security sector governance. The 6th Forum meeting on 29-30 May 2009 in Kota Kinabalu addressed the topic of police governance.
The police are instruments of the executive and play a significant role in society. Being a law enforcement body, they are endowed with particular powers, including the legitimacy to use force. Because of this capacity, the police are often associated with being a state’s tool for violence, repression and corruption. While the police forces are the most visible manifestation of government authority in terms of public security, their conduct vis-à-vis the public can also be seen as a key indicator of the quality of democracy in a country. What should the police stand for, what should they do and in what manner? How can members of parliament contribute to democratic policing? These key questions were discussed in-depth at the workshop. The workshop served as a platform for extensive exchange as well as for the identification of entry points for reform at both national and regional level. Concurrently, it provided the parliamentary participants with suggestions for a better engagement in overseeing policing in their home country.
Find here the final program.