Our Strategic Plan
FORUM-ASIA’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan is built upon a set of foundational pillars that form the basis of FORUM-ASIA’s work that human rights are not Western or Asian but universal, including the organisation’s Vision, Mission, Core Values, and Working Principles. In this new strategy, FORUM-ASIA adopts an organisational Mantra – Realising Human Rights for all, Reclaiming Civic Space and Strengthening Democracies in Asia – providing a simple summary of the organisation’s raison d’etre. This will allow FORUM-ASIA to explain itself more easily to a wider audience not well versed in human rights language, as well as function as a touchstone for the Secretariat and members to retain focus on the organisation’s core purpose.
Strategic Goal 1: Empowered civil society and marginalised communities promoting and protecting human rights, civic space and democracy in Asia
An open civic space in a democratic society forms the basis for the realisation, promotion, and protection of all human rights. As many countries in Asia are witnessing democratic backsliding with curbs and restrictions on civic space and fundamental freedoms (freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of religion and belief, among others) and human rights abuses in online and offline spaces, FORUM-ASIA will keep building the capacity of Asian civil society and marginalised communities in a more structured and coordinated manner and enhanced opportunities and spaces for dialogues and meaningful engagement on laws, policies and regulations related to civic space and democracy. The organisation will also enhance media and public attention, increase the inclusion of Asian CSOs in international and regional human rights mechanisms, and strengthen NHRI advocacies aligned with Paris Principles.
Strategic Goal 2: Resilient Asian civil society and marginalised communities continuing their work for human rights, civic space and democracy in a safe and sustainable manner.
FORUM-ASIA will put in place resources for Asian civil society and marginalised communities and will strive to improve the operational resilience and holistic security of civil society organisations, and human rights defenders. FORUM-ASIA will sustain and strive to expand its partnership with relevant organisations, networks and forums, and funding partners at national, regional and international levels to bring cooperation in civil society protection work and avoid duplication of resources. FORUM-ASIA will create and support effective civil society resourcing infrastructure across locations in Asia and beyond by improving the institutional and operational capacities of members and partners.
FORUM-ASIA will work for the protection and promotion of civic space, democracy and human rights in Asian civil society. A special emphasis will be put on engaging with and working for the rights of women and LGBTIQ+ groups and all those facing discrimination because of their gender identities and sexual orientation. FORUM-ASIA will also strive to expand its work on issues of Business and Human Rights (BHR) and climate change in a way to collect evidence and advocate the actual impact of business operations/expansions on environment & climate change and the interlinkages with human rights violations, shrinking civic space, and non-democratic/non-participatory policy-making in Asia.
Our Theory of Change
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FORUM-ASIA’s theory of change builds on the lessons learned from the achievements of the previous strategic plan and challenges posed by the modern civil, political and democratic contexts in Asia as well as the innovations the organisation has put in place in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The theory of change is centred on the core foundation of the organisation to provide opportunities and resources to civil society and marginalised communities to work together and empower them to make change happen within their local contexts.
Our Strategic Interventions
FORUM-ASIA will implement the following cross-cutting and overarching strategic interventions to achieve the desired outcomes serving as pre-conditions in the theory of change.
- Collect and synthesize credible and verifiable evidence to document the plight of civil society and marginalised communities and inform capacity-building, advocacy and solidarity missions.
- Conduct evidence-based advocacy on human rights, civic space and democracy together with Asian civil society, marginalised communities and strategic partners at national, regional and international levels.
- Needs-based capacity building to equip civil society and marginalised communities with tools and skills to organise and engage with advocacy and policymaking platforms, institutions, mechanisms, policymakers and other stakeholders at national, regional and international levels.
- Protection and institutional/operational strengthening of civil society and marginalised communities in both preventive and responsive manner by increasing their capacity on safety, security, and operations, together with the provision of emergency assistance to those under threat, especially when operating in conflict and climate crisis situations.
- Strategic communication and engaging with media and audiences who can influence change