The International Partner Conference “Socio-Ecological-Transformation – Perspectives from Latin America, Europe and Southeast Asia” was organized by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia (RLS SEA) in Hanoi on the 4th and 5th of April 2016. It was attended by more than 100 participants coming from different fields like decision-makers, diplomats, researchers and practitioners, beneficiaries and affiliates.
The Conference brought together officials from RLS-SEA Representative Office in Hanoi, Southeast Asian partners and friends, scholars from Latin America and the RLS office in Berlin. By presenting “case-studies” and sharing perspectives from different regions of the world, RLS SEA jointly explored with its partners and friends views and perspectives on the content of socio-ecological-transformation processes. In this context, questions like “what does socio-ecological-transformation mean in a specific context?” “In which ways does socio-ecological-transformation become more concrete and where?” were dealt with. The participants learnt about each regions own basic ideas and main challenges regarding social just developments in consideration of continually changing ecological interrelations.
The conference also gave space for a dialogue based on the ideas regarding socio-ecological-transformation. This dialogue based on the experiences and views from university scholars, state institutions, non-government-organizations (NGOs) and so on from Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Prof. Elmar Altvater, Professor of Political Sciences at the Free University of Berlin in Germany presented a detailed account of socio-ecological transformations in and beyond capitalist modernity with main focus on Europe. Giving an account of the origins of the concept of the “Great Transformation”, as propounded by Karl Polanyi and Karl Marx, he analyzed that the market is disembedding from society and nature and is returning as an external force, in form of a commodity- and money fetish. On the second day, an interesting joint presentation on ‘Civilizational Crisis, Development Paradigm and Alternatives: Perspectives from Latin America’ was held by Prof. Edgardo Lander and Prof. Miriam Lang, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador,addressing contradictions of progressive governments in South America. Governments came to power in the wave of people movements and struggles against military dictatorships, neoliberalism and free trade treaties. Also, the conference was attended by the Excellency Herminio López Díaz, Embassy of Cuba in Vietnam. Hetalked about Cubas’ relationship with the USA and the recent lifting of the US embargo and described the challenges Cuba has been faced with since the ‘Collapse of the USSR’.
In conclusion, there is no model from one region, which can be copied and transferred like a “blue-print” to other regions, countries or people. Based on very different historical experiences and cultural backgrounds as well as on different socio-economic and political backgrounds, it is assumed that there will be no “one” concept of socio-ecological-transformation in the future. The only thing what we can do is to listen and to learn from each other in order to develop good practices, which fit to one’s own environment and background.
(In the 1st photo, from left to right: Prof. Elmar Altvater – Professor of Political Sciences; Mrs.Liliane Danso-Dahmen – RLS SEA’s Director; Mrs. Pham Thu Trang, Mrs. Duong Huong Giang, Mr. Nguyen Van Tung – RLS SEA’s staffs; Mr. Philip Degenhardt – RLS Berlin, Asia Desk.
In the 2nd photo, from left to right:Mrs.Liliane Danso-Dahmen – RLS SEA’s Director; Excellency Herminio López Díaz, Embassy of Cuba in Vietnam; Mrs. Liurka Rodríguez Barrios – Deputy Head of Mission, First Secretary, Embassy of Cuba in Vietnam; Prof. Elmar Altvater – Professor of Political Sciences.)