June 21, 2018

All of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia’s projects with partners are within the framework of three contemporary issues. In order to ensure the conviction of working towards a common goal, our partners were embraced in the development of our program components. Please find a short introduction of each issue and a description for an exemplary project for each component. An overview of our projects can be found here.

Social Justice

The commitment for social justice is an integral component in the program of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have all experienced economic growth in their own right in recent years. Yet, this development comes with an increasing income gap and rising social inequality. Especially marginalized groups, in particular ethnic minorities, women, workers in the informal sector and migrant workers, can be affected negatively in their socio-economic situation and participation in decision-making processes. Stemming from its progressive and emancipatory conviction, RLS SEA is determined to support partners in improving the situation of disadvantaged social groups (in particular ethnic minorities, women and migrant workers).

To that end, RLS SEA is working in cooperation with its partners to strengthen marginalized groups’ capacity to involve in decision-making processes. RLS SEA creates opportunities of exchange and dialogue between academics, civil society, political decision makers and the target groups in order to foster the political impact of the latter.

Socio-Economic and Ecological Transformation

Climate change and with it extreme weather and natural disaster are threatening livelihoods in Southeast Asia as it does in many other regions of the world. Vietnam even is one of the countries most affected by climate change worldwide. Therefore not only a change of habits and in dealing with nature, but also our economic behavior is imperative. Nonetheless, Our partner countries face challenges such as intensifying typhoons, floods, droughts, which are the result of overusing the globe’s resources mainly by the global North. However, in addition, people in Southeast Asian countries face issues like deteriorating air and water quality, for example, deforestation, land grabbing and poor labor conditions and many more. Some of these issues are the result of a policy, which focuses mega investments projects and attracting Foreign Direct Investments. In such processes, the people and communities affected by mega investment projects often have no access to decision-making and to raise their voice.

RLS SEA and its partners open spaces for concerned communities to raise their voice. We invite to think about and to discuss alternatives to the current development model and to promote ideas towards socio-economic and ecological transformation. RLS SEA is determined to build capacity of political actors, for them to research and develop progressive ideas and concepts for socio-economic and ecological policies. Furthermore, we are convinced that by supporting interaction in local, national and regional networks, we can foster this process. RLS SEA understands exchange on progressive politics and strategies – open to a dialogue based on  critique in solidarity – as a chance to learn from each other and to jointly shape a prosperous future.

International Dialogue

Our partners and other members of the civil society play a crucial role in addressing important topics, lending a voice to marginalized groups and monitoring politics in their respective countries. Contrary to civil society organizations in other Southeast Asian countries, the NGOs in our project countries hardly have enough access to regional and international fora. Participation in regional and international dialogue processes is essential to the development and capacity building of  strong political actors. Without the ability to compare with and learn from case studies from other countries, our partners are not well equipped to take a stand for their target group and make an impact in the best way possible.

In order to change that, RLS SEA intends to enable its partners to participate in fora outside of their country of origin. For starters, this will include the ASEAN network and its institutions for informal inclusion of civil society, such as ASEAN Peoples Forum, ASEAN Civil Society Conference or the Asia-Europe People’s Forum. Although there are no existing regulations on engagement of CSO or even public hearings in ASEAN, these conferences and their networks have proven to be a successful mechanism to strengthen capacity and international competence of NGOs and to be relevant for the quality and effectiveness of regional and international integration.