Category Archives: Issue: Financial Crisis

AFA participates in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) participated in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum (APF6), held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last September 24-26, 2010.

The APF6 was aimed at helping strengthen solidarity and cooperation among ASEAN people for a people-oriented ASEAN community that will really be for their benefit.

Carrying the theme “Solidarity and Action for a People-Oriented ASEAN”, the forum was attended by around 700 delegates representing people’s organizations of different sectors from ASEAN countries.

AFA and its members, Viet Nam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) and Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API), co-organized the “Forum Workshop on Peasantry Food Sovereignty and Rural Development”.

Amalia Pulungan and Fadil Kaiom of API spoke about land reform in Indonesia and Vu Le y Voan of VNFU spoke about farmers’ access to market, while AFA played its video entitled “Farmers’ Rights, Farmers’ Lives” during the workshop.

AFA also helped in preparing the workshop report together with Action Aid International and VNFU, while Manh Hung of VNFU moderated the session.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “ASEAN FTAS: Boon or Bane to Development and Regional Integration? “

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia presented AFA’s proposals for a regional agriculture trade agenda in ASEAN during the workshop.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “Assessing ASEAN Social Protection Responses to Financial Crisis toward Developing Comprehensive and Sustainable Solution.”

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

Manh Hung of VNFU spoke on the problems and recommendations on international development finance , while Esther Penunia of AFA spoke about the impact of the financial crisis on small scale men and women farmers in SEA countries during the workshop.

Click here for the program of the APF6

Click here for the final statement of the APF6

Click here for other documents and press releases

For more news and information about Asian farmers, go to: http://www.asianfarmers.org

Asian farmer-leaders participate in regional conference on financial crisis

Chairperson Sudaporn Sittisathapornkul, together with other AFA leaders, joined other representatives from civil society organizations of women and men migrant workers from the formal, informal and labor sectors, small-scale farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, consumers, academe and non-government organizations from the ASEAN region in the “Regional Conference on the Impact of Financial and Economic Crisis on Vulnerable Sectors of the Region: Civil Society Voices and ASEAN” held in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 28-29, 2009.

AFA Vice Chairperson Muzakkir made a presentation entitled “Impact of Financial Crisis on Small-scale Men and Women Farmers in SEA Countries,” while AFA Chairperson Sudaporn Sittisathapornkul gave the closing remarks.

AFA Treasurer Vicente Fabe delivered the report on the workshop on agriculture, while AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia facilitated the first workshop and helped in drafting the conference statement.

At the end of the event, the CSO Conference Recommendations and Jakarta Action Plans were crafted.

The Jakarta Action Plans had four parts: for the agriculture sector; for the labor and migration sector; for strengthening regional economic coordination; and for democratizing CSO participation in the improvement and implementation of the roadmap for an ASEAN community 2009-2015.

The CSO Conference Recommendations to effectively address the impact of the global financial crisis on the vulnerable sectors in the Asian region were presented to ASEAN and other intergovernmental bodies.

AFA co-organized the conference with AsiaDHRRA, UNIAPRO/ASETUC, ASEAN, Oxfam HK and GTZ.

Conference statement, action plans, presentation materials, final participants list, photos and other related readings are available at: http://financialcrisisasia.blogspot.com

CSO RECOMMENDATIONS TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE VULNERABLE SECTORS IN THE ASEAN REGION

(Final Draft, August 6, 2009)

We, representatives from civil society organizations of women and men migrant workers from the formal, informal and labor sectors, small-scale farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, consumers, academe and non-government organizations from the ASEAN region, gathered at the “Regional Conference on the Impact of Financial and Economic Crisis on Vulnerable Sectors of the Region: Civil Society Voices and ASEAN” held in Jakarta,Indonesia on July 28-29, 2009 wish to register the following recommendations to ASEAN and other intergovernmental bodies:

1. We acknowledge that the global economic and financial crisis is a recurrent event that creates havoc on the livelihoods and welfare of many communities, especially the most vulnerable sectors. The crisis has been addressed through partial reforms, stimulus packages and bail outs. To prevent or mitigate future crises, we need a thorough re-examination of the global financial system and the formulation of the corresponding systemic, institutional reforms. We need to put in place a new global financial architecture that is fair and transparent, that has a development agenda and that is responsive to shocks. Reforms will include sound regulation of capital and financial markets including the need to control excessive flows and high risk leverage and regulate various financial products( e.g. sub-prime loans and credit cards). There, too, should be proper and timely disclosure of information on the advantages/disadvantages of financial products. A charter for the responsible sale of financial products should be developed.

Continue reading CSO RECOMMENDATIONS TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE VULNERABLE SECTORS IN THE ASEAN REGION

Jakarta Conference Action Plans

Regional Conference on the Impact of Financial Crisis on Vulnerable Sectors:
Civil Society Voices and ASEAN
July 28-29 2009, Jakarta
(Final Draft)

Action Plans which participants agreed to work on together:

I. Agricultural Sector
1. Priority Policy Agenda
1. Create and strengthen mechanisms for dialogue and consultation between CSOs and government, at the national and regional levels, towards the ASEAN Summit.
2. Address food security issues through the development of mechanisms for fair trade system.
3. Farmers, fishers and CSOs are able to present their positions /views / recommendations to the new cabinet of Indonesia.

Continue reading Jakarta Conference Action Plans

Will China Save the World from Depression?

Will China be the “growth pole” that will snatch the world from the jaws of depression?

This question has become a favorite topic as the heroic American middle class consumer, weighed down by massive debt, ceases to be the key stimulus for global production.

Although China’s GDP growth rate fell to 6.1% in the first quarter — the lowest in almost a decade — optimists see “shoots of recovery” in a 30% surge in urban fixed-asset investment and a jump in industrial output in March. These indicators are proof, some say, that China’s stimulus program of $586 billion — which, in relation to GDP, is much larger proportionally than the Obama administration’s $787 billion package–is working.
Countryside as Launching Pad for Recovery?

With China’s export-oriented urban coastal areas suffering from the collapse of global demand, many inside and outside China are pinning their hopes for global recovery on the Chinese countryside. A significant portion of Beijing’s stimulus package is destined for infrastructure and social spending in the rural areas. The government is allocating 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) in subsidies to help rural residents buy televisions, refrigerators, and other electrical appliances.

But with export demand down, will this strategy of propping up rural demand work as an engine for the country’s massive industrial machine?

Read the full article at Foreign Policy in Focus

In the News: Asian Nations Unveil $120 Billion Liquidity Fund

BALI, Indonesia — Ministers from across Asia agreed to set up an emergency $120 billion liquidity fund that 13 Asian nations can tap to help counter the global financial crisis.

At the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting here, finance officials also said Asian governments must spend more on social safety nets and reduce their reliance on export-driven growth, as they grapple with the economic meltdown.

Japan, South Korea and China on Sunday agreed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, on most aspects of the liquidity fund, called the Chiang Mai Initiative, including country contributions, borrowing accessibility and surveillance mechanisms.

Read the full story at the The Wall Street Journal

In the News: Asia urged to rethink growth policies amid crisis

BALI (AP) – Asia’s governments must spend more on social safety nets and reduce their reliance on export-driven growth even as they grapple with an economic meltdown that will keep tens of millions trapped in poverty, finance officials said today.

Faced with the worst global slump since World War II, many of Asia’s economies are in free fall as demand for their exports – long the engine of the region’s growth – evaporates in big Western markets.

The Asian Development Bank, holding its annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, has warned that 61 million people will remain trapped in extreme poverty this year because of the global slump. That figure will increase to nearly 160 million if slow growth continues next year, it says.

Read the full article at Philippine Star

In the News: Developing nations harder hit by global crisis-G24

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) – The global economic and financial crisis is disproportionately hurting developing countries, which will have to deal with the fallout long after advanced economies, Group of 24 nations said on Friday.

The G24, made up of emerging and developing countries from Asia, Latin America and Africa, said sharp declines in growth and falling currency reserves were leading to rising unemployment and poverty levels.

“The risks of a further and more protracted deterioration in the world economy remain considerable,” a G24 communique said after a meeting on the sidelines of the spring gathering of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank here.

Read the full article at Reuters UK

In the News: Eight Southeast Asian Nations Hotspots For Food Insecurity

BANGKOK, April 24 (Bernama) — Eight Southeast Asian countries are among 26 nations identified as hotspots for food insecurity in the region, according to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asia and the Pacific report released by the United Nations (UN) Friday.

Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and the newest nation Timor Leste were cited in the report along with Afghanistan, Nepal, Armenia, New Caledonia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, North Korea, Solomon Islands, Georgia, Sri Lanka, India, Tajikistan, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Vanuatu.

The total population of these countries is more than 2.2 billion, which is 53.8 per cent of the region’s population.

Read the full article at Bernama