I’ve just come back from an inspiring week in Fiji where GCAP held the Asia-Pacific launch for the new Faces of Inequality campaign!
This was done in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangkok Regional Hub and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) during the 2017 International Civil Society Week. We were joined by some friends including former UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Kumi Naidoo who graciously facilitated the very substantive discussions, as well as GCAP colleagues from Asia and the Pacific who discussed how policies, institutional and legal frameworks and many other constraints are impeding truly transformational change at the grassroots, sub-national and national levels. Millions across the globe live in poverty due unsustainable development that is driving the rising and untenable inequalities, man-made climate change and further exclusion of socially and economically marginalized communities. This discrimination and marginalization can be found everywhere. We must act to remedy the gaps now.
A diverse group of CSO activists shared their experiences and best practices on a range of topics that define the policy environment in the region:
- Climate Justice in the Pacific:
There must be active participation from the Pacific especially indigenous communities in climate negotiations such as COP 23. It is not question of policy choice, but a matter of survival in the face of impeding total disappearance.
- Income Inequality in China:
There needs to be a shift to increase quality of life standards plus a more inclusive, sustainable and environmental-friendly redistribution of wealth and the imbalances between urban & rural.
- Exclusion of Marginalized Groups in South Asia:
Based on numerous examples from India, the voices from socially-excluded groups must be heard in order to address structural barriers to achieve both economic and social transformation. The Agenda 2030 and many goals such as climate and peace will not be achieved without addressing inequality.
- Shrinking Political Space and Inequality in South East Asia:
The threats to civil society. especially in the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand, seem to be happening in an orchestrated manner. Civil society plays a key role defending rights in a world dominated by profit-over-people corporations.
- Environmental Justice and Inequality in Asia:
Communities continue to struggle against food insecurity, land grabbing, and injustice against indigenous peoples, but they lack capacity, strong voices, and effective support, networks and opportunities to fight against environmental injustice.
Crises create opportunity to find new solutions. In 2017 we remembered the second year of the adoption of Agenda 2030, and we still struggle to make visible the various forms of inequalities that peoples are subjected to. We call on the governments to make good their commitment to address these gaps, as we cannot sacrifice the basic survival needs of impoverished peoples and communities for more business as usual.
In 2018 we will continue to campaign globally for policies that will redistribute wealth and open up opportunities for radical transformation and actions. Our national coalitions and constituencies of socially-excluded and feminist groups will work hard to make our governments accountable in delivering services and sound policies that will remedy the inequality gap. Our communities will also demonstrate actions of people power where sustainable and equitable patterns of consumption and production are promoted, where the dividends for taking care of the environment are given premium.
I look forward to working together with all of you to take the challenge of being the change we want in order to create the just, equitable and sustainable world we want.
All the best for the new year,
GCAP Global Co-Chair