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ASEAN People’s Forum planned for September

The Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum is scheduled for September 23rd-26th in Hanoi, according to the Vietnam Organizing Committee (VOC).
The VOC on June 11th made public the Forum Concept Paper adopted by the First Preparatory Consultative Meeting held in Hanoi on May 29th-30th.

The Paper reads in full as follows:

 
ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM 2010
CONCEPT PAPER

I.    Introduction

ASEAN has started implementing its Charter and a roadmap toward becoming a community by 2015. This process has direct impacts on all people in ASEAN, and requires the participation of the people of ASEAN countries as active subjects. Regional integration should begin with and be based on the people’s integration.

One such initiative for people’s integration into the life of ASEAN has been the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum, a regional forum organised in connection with the annual ASEAN Summit. The ACSC/APF was initiated by Malaysia in 2005, and organised in the Philippines in 2006, Singapore in 2007, and Thailand in 2009. This year, in 2010, the ASEAN People’s Forum is organised in Vietnam.

The ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) is organised in this context to help strengthen solidarity and cooperation among the ASEAN people for promoting a really people-oriented ASEAN community, for the common benefit of ASEAN people.

For the APF to be a forum where the genuine voice of the ASEAN people is heard, it should in the first place ensure participation by representatives from wide walks of life and people’s organisations, including mass organizations, social movements, NGOs, etc., in ASEAN, and guarantee the ownership of people’s organisations from ASEAN member countries in all management and decision-making processes.

To ensure the Forum’s efficiency and achievement of its proposed objectives, it should be organised and conducted democratically on the basis of clearly defined and transparent regulations, and have effective coordinative relations with official ASEAN channels.

In that spirit, the following Concept Paper on the ASEAN People’s Forum 2010 in Vietnam was elaborated by the Vietnam Organising Committee and adopted by the 1st Preparatory Consultative Meeting for the APF 2010 held in Hanoi, May 29-30, 2010:

II.    Objectives

The objectives of the Forum are:

a.    To exchange information and share experience with a view to enhancing mutual understanding, solidarity, linkage and unity among social movements and people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.
b.    To exchange ideas on proactive, active and constructive measures targeting coordinated actions by ASEAN people’s organisations to cope with common challenges in the process of building the ASEAN community.
c.    To enhance people’s participation in decision-making processes of ASEAN through advocacy and monitoring activities, making recommendations to ASEAN leaders for building a people-oriented ASEAN.

III.    Title, Theme and Contents

a.    The Forum’s title should be simple, clear and understandable to ordinary people of all ASEAN countries, while ensuring continuity for the process of shaping and development of the event. The Forum shall, therefore, be titled as follows:

                              “The 06th ASEAN People’s Forum”

b.    To achieve the Forum’s objectives, contributing thereby to enhancing solidarity and coordinating actions among ASEAN people’s organisations, the Forum shall be themed as follows:
                
“Solidarity and Action for a people-oriented ASEAN”

c.    The Forum’s contents shall be defined as follows:

-    Formal Forum activities (except the session on understanding the host country) shall encompass issues common to the region and of interest to people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.
-    Attention shall be given to discussions and recommendations related to major issues on the agenda of the ASEAN Summit and CS engagement with ASEAN.
-    Concrete topics shall be detailed in the process of preparation for the Forum on the basis of proposals from people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

IV.    Participants

•    Delegates shall be representatives of people’s organisations of ASEAN countries and of regional organisations and networks whose memberships include and are based on people’s organisations of ASEAN countries. People’s organisations from one and the same ASEAN country shall work in broad coordination and unity in the process of preparation for and participation in the Forum; and nominate representatives of social groups, especially organisations of workers, farmers, women, youth, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, etc…, to participate in the Forum.
•    Observers shall be representatives of regional and international NGOs having interest in and partnership with people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.
•    Guests: The Forum wishes to have the participation of representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), of the Governments of ASEAN countries, and of non-ASEAN partner organisations having cooperative relations with people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.
•    Mass media workers from Vietnam, other ASEAN countries, and elsewhere.

The number of participants is estimated at 500-600 (about 200 Vietnamese and 300-400 foreigners).

V.    Working Mechanism

The Forum’s working apparatus shall include the following:

1.    The Steering Committee (SC) shall make decisions on general issues and programs of the Forum, exercise overall administration of the Forum, organise all plenaries and other important activities at the Forum; represent the Forum in its cooperation with non-Forum partners; and handle relations with the mass media.
The Steering Committee shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.
The Steering Committee shall also include up to 3 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.
2.    The Program Committee (PC) shall design, and submit for approval by the Steering Committee, programs of Forum activities; organise their implementation after approval; and assist participating organisations in deploying approved activities.
The Program Committee shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.
The Program Committee shall also include up to 4 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.
3.    The Drafting Committee (DC) shall be responsible for drafting the final document of the Forum; and shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.
The Drafting Committee shall also include up to 3 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.
4.    The Logistics Committee (LC) shall be in charge of logistical issues related to the Forum, and mainly the responsibility of the Organising Committee (OC) of the host country.
The Logistics Committee shall establish a Fund-raising Group consisting of representatives of the host country’s Organising Committee and certain other organisations in ASEAN having good relations with potential sponsors.

Basic working mechanism:

o    All committees shall work on the principle of consensus among the nominated representatives of people’s organisations of the 10 ASEAN countries participating in the committees.
o    All committees should ensure women’s participation in their composition.
o    Due to the special role and responsibility of the host country, representatives of the host country’s Organising Committee shall be heads of committees.
o    Each committee shall have its specific regulations on method of work and rules of procedure.
o    Nominated representatives of regional/international organisations shall be entitled to participate in the committees’ work but without decision-making right, while representatives of people’s organisations of ASEAN countries shall have full rights, including decision-making right.
o    In case people’s organisations from one and the same country cannot agree on the nomination of their representative to a committee, either of the following options shall be taken into consideration:
    The country concerned shall not be represented on the committee in question;
    From the country concerned, there could be more than one representatives, with speaking but no decision-making rights.
o    The final document shall be drafted by the Drafting Committee, and presented to a plenary session for adoption by Forum participants on the principle of consensus. The Forum may mandate the Drafting Committee to finalise the draft and make decisions on the principle of consensus within the Committee. Consensus shall be required for an amendment to be incorporated in the final document.

VI.    Program Structure

•    Opening session (organised by the hosts and the Steering Committee).
•    Plenary session: Understanding the host country (organised by the hosts).
•    Other plenary sessions: Presentation and discussion of the main issues. These sessions shall consist of experts’ presentations and  discussions, and shall be organised and chaired by the Steering Committee with assistance from the Program Committee.
•    Thematical workshops/Strategy meetings shall be organised by the Program Committee in cooperation with registering organisations, and shall give priority in time to exchanges of ideas, sharings of experience, networking for joint actions, and discussions among participants.
•    Solidarity Evening (organised by the hosts with assistance from the Program Committee).
•    Plenary Session for adoption of the final document (chaired by the Steering Committee with assistance from the Drafting Committee).
•    Closing Ceremony (organised by the hosts and the Steering Committee).

VII.     Relationships with Official ASEAN Channels

The building of an ASEAN community requires efficient cooperation between the Governments and people’s organisations of ASEAN countries. The ASEAN People’s Forum should, therefore, make efforts to establish and develop constructive relationships with official ASEAN channels by the following main measures:

- To work for close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat, and seek its participation in the preparation for and holding of the Forum.
- To approach and cooperate with official ASEAN channels in a spirit of constructiveness and mutual respect.
- To strive for an appropriate form of interface with leaders of ASEAN countries to present them with Forum recommendations. In case of interface, Forum representatives shall respect protocol regulations. Agreement and consensus shall be required from both sides for the selection of participants in and the program of the interface.
- To encourage people’s networks and organisations of ASEAN countries  to take measures for cooperation with ASEAN-related agencies and officials in their respective countries in the process of preparation for and holding of the Forum with a view to making it a success.

VIII.    Budget

•    The Vietnam Organising Committee shall solicit from the Government of Vietnam a grant to cover part of the Forum budget.
•    Foreign participants shall pay for their own travel, accommodation, food, and participation fees.
•    Organisations shall cover related expenses for organizing their registered thematical workshops.
•    Grants from international partners shall be solicited to support a number of difficulty-stricken participants and guests, and help cover Forum organisation expenses.

IX. Preparatory process and activities

1.    Establishment of Vietnam Organising Committee: May 15, 2010
2.    First Preparatory Consultative Meeting (on Concept Paper): May 29-30, 2010.
3.    Launching of Forum Website: before June 30, 2010.
4.    Contact with ASEAN Secretariat for discussions on cooperation: June – July.
5.    People’s organisations of ASEAN countries to have consultations, discussions and cooperation in their respective countries for recommendations on Forum contents, raising funds, selecting Forum participants, and mandating representatives to Forum committees: before July 20, 2010.
6.    Second Preparatory Consultative Meeting (on Program and organisation of the Forum): July 23-25, 2010.
7.    Concrete preparations for Forum activities: August – September, 2010.
8.    Forum: September 23-26,  2010./.

 

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