From 4-8 April 2002, Aid/Watch Coordinator, Nat Lowrey participated in the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) Biennial Conference: Redefining Development: People Leading the Way Towards System Change in the COVID-19 Era.
APRN members from 11 countries gathered in Phuket, Thailand to share research proposals, campaigns, analyses, and solidarity across the region. Whilst discussions centered on the many serious issues and the converging crises we face in our region and globally the gathering was a place to celebrate the ongoing resistance and people’s struggles in the Asia Pacific region. A testament to the underlying vision we all have for justice and international solidarity!
The main objectives of the conference were to:
- Provide an overview of the development framework and policy directives prevalent in the region;
- Present researches and studies by CSOs and POs and their initiatives in materializing the development they want in relation to the following themes: Towards Genuine Recovery and Economic Justice, The Path towards a Just and Lasting Peace, and Solidarity and Action Towards a Better Global Order and how these efforts provide an alternative in addressing the development crisis
- Put together policy recommendations and alternatives on the means of implementation for institutions carrying out policy directives and development frameworks in the
- Produce possible research initiatives that will translate to campaign and advocacy plans for participants to be enacted in their respective organisations, communities, and countries in collaboration with APRN
Aid/Watch was invited to present our research proposal on Beyond the Military and Energy Security Narrative: Towards Peace in the Asia Pacific Region Based on Justice and People’s Rights which focused on the APRN thematic area The Path towards a Just and Lasting Peace.
It was mentioned by many in the conference that this day was the highlight of the conference and that the research panel which included Natalie Lowrey (Aid/Watch), Azra Talat Sayeed (Roots for Equity, Executive Director), and Jiten Yumnam (Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur (CRAM), Secretary) was the most cohesive.
In the afternoon, Aid/Watch was invited to make a 30 min presentation on Contextualising Militarisation in the Asia Pacific Region in the COVID19 Era with a focus on AUKUS, QUAD, and other military alliances, their impacts including the Ukraine-Russia war, and actions towards justice and peace in the region and globally. I stressed the urgent need for the APRN network to facilitate the strengthening of networks and alliances in which we could further share research and analysis with the aim to strengthen networks/alliances/movements regionally and globally against increased militarisation, to understand and connect intersecting issues and building towards just and lasting peace.
Both the Aid/Watch research proposal and presentations will be developed into a Primer and Report to be released later in the year.
Each of the three days was held under the thematic areas:
- Towards Genuine Recovery and Economic Justice
- The Path towards a Just and Lasting Peace
- Solidarity and Action Towards a Better Global Order
Research proposals with a panel were held in the first half of each day with the second half run as a workshop where we could share our experiences, research, and campaigns. On the final day, we also held workstream sessions on:
- Natural resource
Aid/Watch has joined both the Natural Resource and Militarisation streams. Aid/Watch will be the co-focal point for the Natural Resource workstream with Jiten Yumnam (CRAM). Aid/Watch will also play an active role in the Militarisation workstream.
APRN GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING
The last day of the conference was the General Council Meeting attended by all or the majority of the network’s members. The Meeting is held every two (2) years to discuss the network’s plan and direction in terms of research, knowledge sharing, and advocacy. The Meeting is a venue for the APRN Board of Convenors and Secretariat to report on the status of the network for the past 2-3 years. The Meeting is mandated to:
- Finalize its next strategic plan;
- Elect members to the APRN Board of Convenors (BOC); and
- Approve membership application
Thanks to the nomination from Jiten at CRAM, Aid/Watch is now one of 7 APRN members voted to the APRN Board of Convenors (BOC). Aid/Watch Coordinator, Natalie Lowrey is excited to join the BOC along with:
- Azra Talat Sayeed, (BOC Chairperson), Director, Roots for Equity Pakistan
- Jennifer Del Rosario Malonzo (BOC Vice Chairperson), Executive Director, Ibon International, Philippines
- Ajay Jha, Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society, India
- Aaron Ceradoy, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, Hong Kong
- Mandkhaitsetsen Urantulkhuur, Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
- Olga Djanaeva, Rural Women’s Association “Alga”, Kyrgyzstan