The 10th Asia-Europe People’s Forum Call to Action

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1060, November 28, 2014.

The 10th Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF), representing citizens, people and social movements from Asia and Europe (which met on 10th to 12th of October 2014 in Milan, Italy), urges the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and its member Governments to recognize the following issues and priorities and to take forward our recommendations:

1). Socially and Environmentally Just Trade and Investment – (including Calls and/or Key Recommendations):  

Recent years have seen an aggressive push for a new generation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs – a list of) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) from governments of both the European Union (EU) and Asia as exemplified by cross regional FTAs including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and bilateral EU FTAs with Asian countries. In addition to the economic agendas there is also a strong geopolitical and security dimension driving these talks. These negotiations are taking place in a non-transparent and undemocratic environment … //

… We, movements and networks gathered in the Asia-Europe Peoples Forum reaffirm our commitment to work and struggle against this unprecedented corporate power. We denounce the architecture of impunity provided by trade and investment agreements. We denounce moves to undermine democratic processes for the sake of political expediency with regards to negotiations on FTAs such as the push for an interim TTIP agreement. We invite all social movements and civil society organizations to join our struggle against TTIP, TPP and the EU FTAs with Asian countries … //

2). Universal and Transformative Social Protection – guaranteed jobs and livelihoods, access to essential services and social security for all – (including Calls and/or Key Recommendations): … //
3). Food Sovereignty and Access and Control of Land, Natural and Fisheries Resources and Ocean Grabbing – (including Calls and/or Key Recommendations): … //
4). Climate Justice, Sustainable Energy Production and Zero Waste: – (including Calls and/or Key Recommendations) … //

5). Peace and security – (including Calls and/or Key Recommendations):

We share a common understanding that the current developments related to peace and security in Asia and Europe, have huge impacts on people’s lives. They include growing tension resulting from sovereignty and jurisdictional disputes over sea and land between nations in the Asia-Pacific, including the South China Sea, East China Sea, the Korean Peninsula; the U.S. pivot to the region; the development of military bases and infrastructure in both continents; serious tension in the Northeast Asia region; volatile and complex conflicts in Ukraine, Middle East including Palestine, West Asia linked in part to terrorism and criminality; increasing military spending in several regions of Asia; violent conflicts in Thailand and Myanmar.

Many of these theatres of hostility are connected to the nuclear arms race and global struggles for geo-political/geo-economic domination. The revival of ‘Cold War-type’ rhetoric and behaviour, including the militarization of space through Missile Defence programmes and Prompt Global Strike facilities, has added tensions and related risks.

Corporate involvement is of enormous concern. This strongly influences rationales given for military build-up, the private profit generated by military related industries and the approaches and means to supply the armed forces’ demand for equipment and services.

We concluded that the reasons and impacts of conflicts included:

Key reasons for conflicts:

  • Fighting for democracy and for independence;
  • Differences between religions and races/groups of people; terrorism; political and economic rights;
  • Struggle for resources – including fisheries, oil and natural gas – related to the issue of maritime entitlement, strategic influence and control over the waters and the shipping lanes that are perceived as vital for international commerce;
  • Territorial sovereignty disputes;

Impact of conflicts:

  • Conflicts cause serious impacts on the lives, livelihoods, homes and communities of people, especially on women and children.
  • Conflicts have drastic negative impacts on socio-economic development and the environment.
  • They slow the development of affected countries, causing disunity among nations and societies.
  • Disempower women and further marginalize and exclude minorities.
  • They also lead to the death, disability and long term sickness of millions of women, men and children and are the cause of enormous cost to people, property and societies.
  • Sea and islands disputes seriously threaten peace, security, and stability in regions; and maritime freedom including freedom of navigation in and overflight above the sea, concerns many ASEM member countries not only bordering the sea but also many others.
  • People facing poverty, human trafficking, lack of education, jobless, migration.
  • Conflicts increase poverty, and seriously damage and destroy education and health services.

Military spending and development of Nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction:

  • World total military spending increased by 50 per cent in 10 years (reaching $1.75-trillion (U.S.) in 2013) with the European Union responsible for 16% of military spending and the U.S. for 37%.
  • Nuclear weapons still exist on the earth, posing threats on the survival of humanity. Nuclear weapons and chemical weapons not only kill people but also affect second, third, and even fourth generations.
  • Drones are being used in a growing number of places across the world, killing not only combatants but also a growing number of civilians, including women and children. Drones and their use are a clear breach of international law.
  • Conflicts and tensions across the world are providing an impetus for arms races. Drones and killer robots are a new threat to civilian communities and are contributing to increasing tensions between communities and nations.


  • There should be common mechanisms at international and regional levels to address conflicts.
  • All conflicts, disputes and tension in different areas such as the Middle East including Palestine, The Korean Peninsula, South China Sea and East China Sea, should be settled by peaceful means in compliance with international laws and regulations including The UN Charter, The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Declarations of acceptance of Charter obligations and in the spirit of constructiveness.
  • Involve civil society in peace-keeping and peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes, including asking governments to support nonviolent civilian peace groups.
  • Conflict-related parties are requested to constrain themselves and not increase tension.
  • Differences between groups, races, religions, genders in states should be addressed by clear and balanced definition of rights amongst those groups in the constitution of the country.
  • The AEPF is requested to join with other stakeholders to call on governments to ban the research, development, use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and build new nuclear-free zones.
  • Significantly decrease military spending and allocate the ‘released funds’ to social services as a way to build peace upon justice. We call on ASEM Member States to develop as a matter of urgency a special Common Plan with member states to cut military spending by at least 10 per cent in the next five years.
  • Support nuclear victims, victims of Agent Orange and victims of all other kinds of wars in their daily lives and their struggles for justice.
  • Independent and non-partisan monitors should be invited to areas where nationalistic sentiments are provoked between countries and communities in order to prevent conflicts.
  • Promote Education for Peace, Human Rights education, Conflict Resolution education.
  • The AEPF supports the initiative in Nepal to declare itself a single nuclear-free zone in its constitution.
  • Independent and non-partisan missions should be sent to Northeast Asia to monitor the increase in nationalistic sentiments that promote conflicts.
  • The AEPF supports positive progress in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and calls on the resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
  • The AEPF calls upon the UN to ensure, by a range of means, that the Islamic State (IS) fighters are not allowed to enter Kobane. A safe corridor should be created so that the largely Kurdish civilian population can have safe passage.

(full long text).


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