News Archive
Jul 10, 2016 - Collaboration for Peacebuilding and Human Security at the Asia Europe People's Forum
The 11th Asia Europe People's Forum AEPF took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia between July 4-6, 2016. Marking the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the AEPF, this year's theme was Building New Solidarities: Working for Inclusive, Just and Equal Alternatives in Asia and Europe." A range of events on themes including resource justice, food sovereignty, trade and investment, climate justice and energy production, social justice, and participatory democracy were organized, and over 700 representatives of civil society from more than 40 countries participated. Peace Boat International Coordinator Meri Joyce attended this conference, in the role of Northeast Asia Regional Liaison Officer of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). As a member of the peace & security cluster of AEPF, Peace Boat spoke at various sessions and co-organized two open space events.

AEPF is an interregional network of progressive civil society organisations across Asia and Europe. The first AEPF interregional conference was organised in 1996 on the occasion of the first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Bangkok, the official meeting between heads of state of the European Union and 16 Asian countries. Since then People's Forums have been held biennially as an Alternative Summit to the ASEM, and AEPF has assumed the unique function of fostering people's solidarity across the two regions, becoming a vehicle for advancing the people's voice within Asia-Europe relations.

The first open space event co-organized by Peace Boat on July 5 was under the title gRe-Imagining Maritime Security: contending with militarism, environmental sustainability and food security issues in the Asia-Pacific seas.h This event was coordinated together with GPPAC Southeast Asia and its secretariat Initiatives for International Dialogue, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation. In a workshop format held at the National University of Mongolia, participants discussed current challenges and opportunities for civil society to contribute to resolution. Suggestions included information provision to grassroots constituencies, advocacy for marine conservation, media strategies, and dialogue and exchange of experiences between Europe and Asia to create an alternate discourse and creative solutions from a human security perspective.

The second event, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also on July 5, focused on gPeacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula: The Ulaanbaatar Process for Civil Society Dialogue.h This session was co-organized by fellow GPPAC Northeast Asia members Blue Banner (Mongolia) and People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (Korea). Moderated by Meri Joyce, speakers included GPPAC Executive Director Peter van Tuijl, Lee Mihyeon of PSPD on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and the role of South Korean civil society organizations in promoting trust, Myagmar Dovchin of Blue Banner on Mongolian civil society's role, and Ambassador Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan on the potential of the Ulaanbaatar Process itself. Bazarvaani Gungaa, Head of the Center for International Security Studies at the Institute for Strategic Studies, also presented highlights of the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue, initiated by President Elbegdorj of Mongolia.

Further information regarding the Asia Europe People's Forum in Ulaanbaatar can be seen on the official homepage here, including the final declaration, recommendations to the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), and related photo and video materials.

Panellists at the session on Peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula (left) and workshop on maritime security (right).
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