Prosperity for whom? Asks Asia Pacific CSO Forum on Sustainable Development from governments
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The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is convening the 4th session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD 2017) from 29 to 31 March 2017, in Bangkok, Thailand. The APFSD is expected to define a regional road map to support member States' implementation of the 2030 Agenda over the next 15 years.
The conclusions and recommendations of the APFSD will also inform the global debate at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, next meeting of which will be convened in New York in July 2017. The APFSD 2017 is preceded by an Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development, currently taking place in Bangkok (26-28 March).
A snapshot: Voices from the frontlines
Speaking with CNS (Citizen News Service), some civil-society members shared their expectations from the governments of Asia Pacific nations engaging with APFSD 2017. While Ranja Sengupta from Third World Network (TWN) sought effective regional cooperations on SDGs, that would enable the developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in the region to be able to implement the SDG agenda, for Ajay Jha of Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECODECON) the most pressing concern was the incorporation of SDGs into the national programmes/ policies of the countries of the region. Wali Haider, Secretary of Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tehreek, a national alliance of small and landless farmers, wanted a ban on corporate capture of agricultural land, particularly in countries where a sizeable population depends on agriculture for their survival.
Road map is about regional cooperation: Ranja Sengupta
Ranja Sengupta added: "The regional road map is about regional cooperation. The most important point is to make countries work together regionally so that they are able to implement SDGs. Many free-trade agreements (FTAs) are being negotiated and signed by countries, including India, without giving any thought to the roadblocks some of them might create in meeting the SDGs. All countries need to do an SDG compatibility impact assessment of the policies which they are following in the field of trade investment, technology, taxation and other financial and macro economic issues. Countries must not forget that aggressive liberalisation severely limits the scope of implementation of SDGs. We also need an intergovernmental tax body, as many LDCs are losing a lot of finance due to tax evasion by corporations. Countries of the region and civil society must together explore ways to make available the Means of Implementation to LDCs to meet the SDGs. India should play a major role in fostering cooperation in the field of technology, taxes and finances, and governance in the region."
End corporate capture of agriculture sector: Wali Haider