25 August 2007, more then 50 concern individuals and members of civil society groups participated in a forum to discuss the ASEAN Charter process and what it means to them. The Singapore Working Group for ASEAN kicked off the local initiative on promoting interest among Singapore residents on the ASEAN Charter process.
The Singapore Working Group for ASEAN kicks off the local initiative on promoting interest among Singapore residents on the ASEAN Charter process. The ASEAN Charter will set the framework and lay the legal foundation for ASEAN to restructure its existing mechanisms.
ASEAN Charter is being drafted by the High-Level Task Force with recommendation from the Eminent Persons Group Report. The Charter is expected to be completed in time for the 13th ASEAN Summit, November 2007, in Singapore. The ASEAN Charter is expected to be signed at the ASEAN Summit.
The grassroots and civil society and the "ordinary people" need to have an understanding of the people-centred ASEAN Charter. There is much ignorance on what is the ASEAN Charter and its impact on the population.
The coming saturday Forum's objective is to provide space for raising awareness and expressing views, encourage civil society to participate and better understand the ASEAN Charter.
The forum will also be the platform to launch and invite participants for the coming ASEAN Civil Society Conference III, November 1-3, Singapore.
Engaging Civil Society
Both the Eminent Persons Group and High-Level Task Force [HLTF] have been engaging civil society groups in the drafting of the Charter. It now remains for them to complete the draft by September-end. The HLTF is meeting in Singapore this week to do the drafting.
Singapore's HLTF member, Prof Tommy Koh, should find time to brief civil society groups, think tanks and others who are interested on the ASEAN Charter. It's also important to share on Singapore's preparation for the ASEAN Civil Society Conference that parallels the ASEAN Summit in November 2007.
As such, the SAPA Working Group on ASEAN and the Singapore Working Group for ASEAN met on August 24 to prepare for the ASEAN Civil Society Conference III [ACSC3]. The ACSC3 is scheduled for Novemeber 1-3 that's before the HTLF and The ASEAN Summit.
The SAPA Working Group on ASEAN and the Singapore Working for ASEAN engages ASEAN as we see civil society in partnership with ASEAN in improving the living and working enviroment of the people.
Draft ASEAN Charter must be distributed as 'white paper" to the people
The Singapore Working Group for ASEAN expresses that the people must have access to the Draft ASEAN Charter as a 'white paper" and the ASEAN Secretariat website should upload PDF for the ASEAN people to be informed. Providing space for civil society to better understand and appreciate the draft ASEAN Charter, feel the ownership, and engage ASEAN where there are differences.
Managing the civil society and peoples expectation is not an easy task but sharing the draft ASEAN Charter will surely gain the support and solidarity of the people. It will also remove any doubt among people. ASEAN will be seen as engaging more proactively and welcoming the peoples participation.
Singapore Working Group for ASEAN
Sources and Relevant Links:
SAPA SAPA Submission on the Economic Pillar for the EPG on the ASEAN Charter 28 June 2006
SAPA SAPA Submission on the Security Pillar for the EPG on the ASEAN Charter 17 April 2006