Forum on ASEAN Civil Society Conference

There will be a forum to discuss preparations for the ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) to be held in Singapore on 2-4 Nov 07 (not 1-3 Nov as previously announced).

The ACSC is a series of conferences to provide a venue for civil society in the region to come together and to engage the ASEAN heads of state during their yearly ASEAN Summit. The 1st ACSC was initiated by the Malaysian government together with the Center for ASEAN Studies of the Universiti I Technologi Mara (UiTM) in Dec 05 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference saw had the first ever feature of a 15-minute interface between civil society leaders and ASEAN heads of state.

The ACSC II, organized solely by civil society, was held in Cebu City, Philippines in December 2006. It was the culmination of ACSC national consultation processes held from September to Nov 06 in seven ASEAN member countries—Burma (at the Burma-Thai border), Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. These processes considered various proposals and views on issues confronting the ASEAN, especially the idea of ASEAN integration and the ASEAN Charter.

The ACSC III, again organized by South East Asian civil society organizations, will be held in Singapore from 2-4 Nov 07. This conference will be mainly an ASEAN civil society/social movement event with interfaces with resource persons from ASEAN Governments, the ASEAN Secretariat, and CSOs and social movements from outside the ASEAN region.

ACSC III will have plenaries, concurrent workshops, cultural and multi-media events, a Quiz, a solidarity night and spaces for independent interactions and caucuses.

There will be a two-panel plenary on Singapore, to increase civil society understanding of Singapore as a state and Singapore as a society where communities and groups interact on issues similarly faced by communities and groups elsewhere in ASEAN. The plenary seeks to increase dialogue and interaction between civil society groups and social movements in Singapore and the rest of ASEAN.

Among the objectives of the ACSC III are:

1. To enrich and deepen civil society understanding of ASEAN and regional processes

2. To take stock of civil society advocacy and engagement in ASEAN and regional processes

3. To provide a platform to discuss issues of common interest and ways to respond to those issues

4. To provide a space for common strategizing on broadly engaging common issues

5. To get a mandate for the ACSC to be a live process and not just a conference or parallel event to the ASEAN Summit

6. To adopt a common declaration and agenda of action for the ACSC that includes research, advocacy and action

7. To get a mandate for the ACSC IV Thailand Host Committee for 2008

So if you are interested in getting involved in ACSC III, make sure you attend the preparatory meeting:

29 Sep 07, Sat
Catholic Welfare Service Building, 2nd Floor
55 Waterloo Street