Historic UN Meeting discusses ‘Development Justice’
APWLD’s Regional Coordinator, Kate Lappin, was invited to outline the concept of ‘Development Justice’ to Asia Pacific governments at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) today during the Commission’s 70th annual session.
Ms. Lappin was invited to speak on the Ministerial Panel on Asia-Pacific Perspectives on Sustainable Development and Development Financing to present APWLD and civil societies’ perspectives on sustainable development and the Open Working Group outcome document. The chair of the Commission meeting, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan recognised that Civil Society in the region has been advocating for the concept of ‘development justice’ and invited Lappin to elaborate on the concept and the ways it could be applied to sustainable development in the region.
The concept of Development Justice was developed by 100 civil society organisations in 2013 and detailed in the ‘Bangkok Declaration’. Development Justice provides a new vision for equitable, sustainable and just development and aims to “reduce inequalities of wealth, resources, power and opportunities between countries, between rich and poor and between men and women” Lappin explained. The model requires five transformative shifts to achieve this aim: Redistributive Justice, Economic Justice, Gender and Social Justice, Environmental Justice and Accountability to the Peoples. The inclusion of Development Justice in the programme of the ministerial meeting is an historic moment for civil society promoting the concept.
Lappin called on governments of the region to strengthen collaboration with civil society and adopt the Development Justice model. She asked them to find political will and embolden their vision for an ‘Asian Century’ that delivers justice, equity, sustainability and peace instead of a modelthat channels wealth from developing countries to wealthy countries and relies on the cheap labour of women, land-grabbing and destruction of eco-systems.
The chair also asked Lappin to provide a civil society perspective on the 17 goals and 169 targets proposed by the Open Working Group to replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. ‘We welcome the expansive nature and ambition of the goals. We congratulate the G77 for insisting on the universality of the goals with the recognition that development is a common but differentiated responsibility of states. But the Goals in their current form lack the capacity to deliver the transformation promised. The Open Working Group has failed to reform asymmetrical finance, trade and governance architecture that channels wealth and power from the Global South to the North’ she said ‘We don’t need more rhetorical aspirations, we need real accountability and real transformation. We currently have a global system that protects private sector investments and secures markets for them but don’t have a system to protect the right to development and a sustainable future’ she added.
Senior leaders from more than 40 member States in the region attended this week’s session.
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8 AUGUST 2014