ICAPP Proposes Global Debt Reduction to Finance Climate Change Programs
The poorest countries are often the ones that suffer the most from natural calamities that may wipe out, in the twinkling of an eye, tens of years of material gains that people may have won from patient husbandry, hard work and thrift.
In saying this, Jose de Venecia Jr., Founding Chairman of ICAPP and Founding President of CAPDI, stressed the urgent need to reverse this downward spiral towards ecological collapse, by saying that humankind must learn to live in harmony with nature and the people could no longer exist as the arrogant and heedless “masters of the universe.”
Venecia also proposed a radical measure to aid the campaign and fight against climate change by calling for a global debt relief for environment.
“We propose a substantial ‘debt-for-environment’ formula to complement the debt-for-equity plan to fight poverty for the 100 highly indebted middle income countries under the United Nation’s millennium development goals (MDG).”
“Our proposal is voluntary and does not ask international creditors to forgive or suspend a single dollar of debt, nor will it require new money from the legislatures of any of the rich countries,” said Venecia, stressing that the proposal simply calls for creditor states and lending institutions the option of converting up to 50% or portions thereof of the debt service payments they received into investor’s equity in environmental programs in their debtor countries which could include reforestation, water conservation, alternative energy, mass housing, health education, eco-tourism and other social infrastructures.
The Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, said “Nepal is host of seven of the world’s highest peaks and being a mountainous nation, we are faced with the dire consequences of climate change, which has direct negative impacts on our country.”
“We are faced with melting snow, global warming, environmental degradation and being a poor country, we are unable to cope with this, other than appealing to the international community to give more attention to the mountainous nations whose very existence depended on the environment in which they existed.”
A dramatic video presentation on the effects of climate change was also shown – uncontrollable floods, blinding pollution, sweeping mud slides, pounding waters and other calamities which were key points to shock the audience in realizing the perils of climate change and disregard for the environment.
Earlier, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An, who is also the Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers and chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 6thICAPP General Assembly, said in his opening remarks that today’s world faced real challenges and dangers from the effects of climate change and global warming.
“What we are facing today is not of our doing but we are nevertheless faced with its impact. The developing nations and the poor nations are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change and global warming and we, as political party leaders and governments must take coherent, cohesive and consistent measures to tackle these perils, “Dr. Sok An said.
He said that Cambodia was equally vulnerable to the threats to its eco-system and that it was giving close attention to the twin concerns of the battle against climate change and the battle against poverty as they were closely linked and thrived on one another.
Meanwhile Nepalese Prime MinisterMadhav Kumar Nepal told reporters on the sideline of ICAPP’s conference that the 2 main priorities of Nepal at this moment are the development of the Agro Industry and Tourism Development. The Government of Nepal is looking to collaborate with Cambodian Government in these 2 areas as they hold the most promise.
He said he had detailed and meaningful meetings with Cambodia’s Premier Hun Sen on bilateral issues and exchange of views on mutual interest. He said Nepal and Cambodia enjoyed closed mutual relations, understanding, goodwill and friendship and that he hoped the visit will deepen the relations between both the countries and open the doors for new opportunities, especially in Agriculture and Tourism Sector.
He said that Cambodia has pledged its support for Nepal’s bid to be the President of the 2011 United Nations General assembly while Nepal had in turn pledged to support Cambodia’s bid to have her candidate as a non permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council in the 2012/2013 period.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ASIAN POLITICAL PARTIES
Adopted at the 6thGeneral Assembly of the ICAPP
held in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, on December 2-3, 2010
We—the leaders and representatives of(89)political parties fromAfghanistan, Armenia, Australia,Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Tonga, and Vietnam—gathered here in Phnom Penh,thecapital cityof theKingdom of Cambodia, for theSixthGeneral Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP). The Assembly was graciously hosted bythe Cambodian People’s Party,in collaboration withthe FUNCINPECParty, fromDecember1 to 4,2010,under the main theme of “Asia’s Quest for a Better Tomorrow.”
Noting that our Assembly coincides not only with the tenth anniversary of ICAPP’s founding but also with the 32ndanniversary of the establishment of a ‘Salvation Front for the Liberation of the CambodianNationfrom theGenocidal Regime,’ we declare as follows:
ICAPP AS AN OPEN FORUM FOR ASIA’SPOLITICALPARTIES
We reaffirm that ICAPP is an open and unique forum for Asia’s political parties, and that it has become the pivot of inter-party dialogue and cooperation,working to achieve our common goal of sustained peace and shared prosperity in Asia. ICAPP is leading the way forward in what is generally accepted as the 21stAsian Century.
We note with great satisfaction and pride that, during its first decade, ICAPP haspromotedexchanges and cooperation between political parties subscribing to competing ideologies; enhancedmutual understanding and trust among our peoples and countries;andpromotedregional cooperation.
We reaffirm ourcommitment to the principles—and the spirit—of the ICAPPCharter andof ICAPP’s subsequentDeclarationsat its biennial assemblies: inManila in 2000, Bangkok in 2002, Beijing in 2004, Seoul in 2006 and Astana in 2009.
We reiterate our commitment to the intent and spirit of the United Nations Charter, International Law, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and the Bandung Principles that emphasize democracy, good governance, human security,humanrights, dignity, freedom, well-being, the rule of law and coexistence between ethnicities, cultures and faiths. Promotion of inter-faith harmony is basic tenet of ICAPP’s principles. ICAPP embodies the Asian spirit of resilience evident in the dynamism and vibrance of our societies: successfully combating crises and overcoming the economic difficulties with innovation.
THE PRINCIPLES TO WHICH WE ADHERE
We pledgeto ensure peace, security, stability and prosperity for our home continent, in the context of growing political and economic multi-polarity, by adhering to thefollowingprinciples:
Sovereignty and territorial integrity of every state;
Right to determine its own political, economic and social systemof every state;
Non-aggression and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;
Peaceful settlement of territorial disputes and adherence tointernationaltreaties and laws;
Armscontrol, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and
Rejection ofevery kind of extremism, prejudice or bigotry.
We support in particular the international agreement that “all States need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,” as stated in the final Document unanimously adopted in 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, as well as the United Nations Secretary General’s five point proposal which includes negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.
We support our Standing Committee’s initiative—in company with the Permanent Conference of the Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean(COPPPAL)—to reach out toour counterparts inAfrica and in other continents to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation through dialogue and exchange, with the object of eventually convening a global convention of political parties. This was reaffirm at the meeting between Standing Committee of the ICAPP and Coordinating Body of the COPPPAL.
FACING UP TO OUR GRAVEST THREATS
We realize that environmental degradation and poverty passed down from generation to generation are the gravest threats confronting humankind in our time. We support all efforts—international and national—to moderate the effects of climate change and to alleviate hunger, ignorance and ill-health. We endorseU.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to accelerate the attainment of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals;and tofacilitate international agreements to reducegreenhouse gases.Weendorse ICAPP’s initiative to gain observer status to the General Assembly, so as to coordinate its activities with relevant U.N. programs.
We realize the Asian economies’ need toimprove their management of financial liquidityandtheir ability to pool resources, if they are to control the processes of national and regional development.Our countries must seek inclusive growth byexpandingeconomic parity and by increasing their share of the benefits from global economic growth.Theycanachieve this bybridging the development gapandby speeding up their economic integrationthroughthe connectivity being generated by globalization.
OUR CALL FOR OPEN REGIONALISM
We realize our need to boost intra-regionaltrade through open regionalism—by eliminatingboth tariffand non-tariffbarriers,deepeningcooperation, and integrating the economies of the Asian regions. We must link up the ASEAN and SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) frameworks; strengthen the Mekong-Indo-China economic corridors; connect theGreater Mekong Subregion (GMS)with the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) as well as with theAsia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); and bring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and all other regional cooperation frameworks into a larger pan-Asian architecture.
In this regard, we remind ourselves of our vision and our ultimate goal to build an Asian community that will bring about shared prosperity to all peoples in the region and emphasize the importance of collectively striving to further strengthen coordination and cooperation among all countries and regional groupings, in particular through expanded roles of political parties.
We reaffirm our resolve to establish an Asian Anti-Poverty Fund and an Asian Micro-Financing Fund—as called for by theKunming Declarationof the ICAPP Conference on Poverty Alleviation held in the capital city of Yunnan Province, China, in July 2010. We reaffirm our will to enlarge the objective area of the proposed Fund into a Global Anti-Poverty Fund following consultations with our intra-regional political partners in Latin America and the Caribbean under COPPPAL and with the political parties in Africa.
We realize that, as Asia’seconomies expand, the continent’s huge population will exert an upward pressure on food demandworldwide. To anticipate this, we must now build up our centers of sustainable agricultural growth. The Mekong River basin canbecome one such resource,both for Southeast Asia and beyond. We urgethe Mekong Basin statesto protecttheir water resourcesand develop their agriculture—particularly its organic components—not only toreduce povertyamong their peoples,but also toimprove regional food security and to restrain the inflation of global food prices.
DEALING WITH THE PERILS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
We recognize our critical need to turn our economies away from business as usual—so that we can face up to our collective responsibility to deal with the hazards and perils of climate change. Already our countries must cope increasingly with environmental disasters such as super-typhoons, great floods and engulfing landslides. We must reexamine our accustomed energy culture andmove forward in the innovative use of renewable and clean energy sources.
We must strengthen the bonds between humankind and the living earth by making industry a friend and not an enemy of the environment. Public policy must encourage the rise of ‘green enterprises’ and the adoption of technologies attuned to the new environmental imperatives. We must always keep in mind the earth is not for us to deal with as we please. We’re merely its trustees for the next generation.
TOWARD RENEWABLE ENERGY
We recognizethatmoving toward the use of renewable energy is not just an effort to reduce CO2emissions. It is also an opportunity to create sustainable domains of economic activity, raise popular incomes and generate jobs. The judicious development of Asia’s renewable energy resources—in all their variety and widespread availability—should become the end-goals of our continent’s energy strategy.
Since it will take some time for renewable energy resources and green technologies to become fully developed, we must—at least for the foreseeable future—continue to rely on conventional energy sources to fuel Asia’s development. Hence we must also advocate—in an era of volatile oil prices—the tapping of the oil and gas reserves known to lie both inland and offshore in many regions of our Continent.
THE ROLE OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
We recognizethat biological diversityhas played a crucial role in the rise of civilizations.Humankind must preserve zealously this immense biodiversity reserve.Wecall for the founding of an ‘Asian Environment Research Center’ to support our Continent’s sustainable development and toencouragepioneering and innovation insustainable development, particularly in farming,forestry and fishery.
COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS
We also call for the closest cooperation among the Asian states to deal with recurring natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunami and flooding. We must link all efforts to prevent these disasters and to provide relief and rehabilitation at all levels—local, national and international. We urge the convening of an ICAPP Medical Emergency Forum (IMEF) to respond to the challenges and threats from natural disasters, as agreed at the 1st Meeting of the IMEF Steering Committee in Langkawi, Malaysia in May 2010. We welcome the decision to convene the ICAPP Conference on Natural Disasters and Environmental Protection in Malaysia in May 2011. And we support the objectives of the International Eco-Safety Cooperative Organization and propose that we show our collective resolve and consider including in our respective national Constitutions and political party platforms provisions and solutions to combat climate change and environmental degradation.
YOUTHS’ AND WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS
We recognize that youth and women’s access to and control over resources, access to opportunity and participation in al sphere of life are vital to sustainable development and prosperity. We recognise that the social-cultural processes of modernisation cannot be completed without their active engagement.
MOBILIZE POLITICAL PARTIES FOR NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENTS
We seekreconciliationin all Asia’sconflict zones. Indeed one of our end-goals is to mobilize all the world’s political groupings on behalf of the global peace process; the political and economic integration of the regions; the stability of the economic order; debt relief, and common action against poverty, corruption and climate change.By getting together and agreeing on common action, we, the Asian and world’s political parties, could contribute our share to bridging the East-West, North-South divide; prevent the threatening “clash of civilizations,” and save our planet from environmental degradation.
PRESERVING THE ASIAN HERITAGE
We must also emphasize the importance of preserving Asia’s splendid heritage, its cultures and values to the extend that they do not violate the rights of any individual and group that even under globalization, continue to inspire and to guide our Continent’s processes of modernization. We call for the creation of an institution to award grand prize for union and innovating contributions to sustainable development, particularly in the field of agriculture, environment, energy, peace and culture.
Felicitate the Royal Government of Cambodia and the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) for their achievement with respect to the Angkor World Heritage Site, a cooperation between 18 countries and 25 institutions in 60 different projects, a model of excellence in its execution of protection, preservation and sustainable development and harmonization between cultural heritage, nature and human activities.
PRAISE FOR THE CAMBODIANLEADERS
Under the auspices of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni and His Majesty King Father Samdech Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk, we compliment the Cambodian People’s Party for achieving the following goals:
Liberating the country from the genocidal regime, preventing its return, and rebuilding the country from scratch with poverty rate of 100 percent;
Negotiating and achieving a political settlement which paved the way for the development and prosperity;
Safeguarding the Constitution and, thanks to win-win policy of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, guaranteeing peace, political stability and full national unity that has enabled the economy to growth by double digits in recent years;
Brining the last Khmer Rouge leaders to justice through an Extraordinary Chamber within the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) that has been recognized by the United Nations as a new model for the international justices; and
Dispatching Cambodian troops on UN peace-keeping mission to a number of countries such as Sudan, Chad, Central Africa and Lebanon.
Within a short spam of less than two decades, Cambodia has demonstrated through its policy a model of peace and reconciliation. A large-hearted approach based on inclusion, generosity and taking all on board has ensured a process where there no loser and all are victors. Such a model has relevant for others conflicts in Asia. In this context, ICAPP supports and joins the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI) Peace Commission in its efforts to promote peace in Asia through dialogue among political parties in conflict areas such as Nepal, Korea, Pakistan-India, and Afghanistan.
The ICAPP will be sending a delegation to Kathmandu on the invitation of the three major political parties of Nepal to seek a way out of the impasse through dialogue among the parties concerned.
The ICAPP also welcomes the establishment of the High Peace Commission by the Government of Afghanistan, which is mandated to start negotiation with the insurgents with a view to seeking a political settlement of the conflict.
Pursuant to the letters written by the ICAPP Chairman, Jose de Venecia and Secretary General Chun Eui-yong, to the President of Pakistan and the leader of the ruling Indian National Congress, Madame Sonia Gandhi, representatives of the Indian and Pakistani ruling, and opposition parties met in Phnom Penh on December 3, 2010, and agreed to institutionalized the dialogue amongst the two countries main political forces.
With respect to the recent provocation and military action in the Korean Peninsula, the ICAPP General Assembly calls on all parties concerned to immediately defuse the situation through dialogue and negotiations. The ICAPP strongly urges the international community to ensure that there is no recurrence of the use of force, in line with the statement of the UN Secretary General on this issue.
The ICAPP General Assembly noted that the “Cambodian Model” of peace, reconciliation and integration of armed groups presents a way forward to resolve conflicts in other parts of Asia.
Lastly, we must express our gratitude to the Cambodian People’s Partyand the FUNCINPEC Partyfor hosting our Sixth General Assembly. Further, wethank the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia for their warm hospitality.And we note with gratitude the encouragement and support of the Hanns Seidel Stiftung and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, both of the Federal Republic of Germany; and of the Korea Foundation, Republic of Korea.
We also express our gratitude to the representatives of political parties and institutes from Argentina, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, Seychelles, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States who have participated in the assembly as observers. The ICAPP General Assembly paid tribute to the creative leadership and dynamism of His Excellency Jose de Venecia as the architect and moving spirit of the ICAPP.
Adoptedunanimouslyonthis third day ofDecember 2010, inPhnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia.