At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Germany and G8: Keeping Asia in Mind

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The Group of 8 (G8) meeting this year will be held in at the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, Germany on June 6 through June 8. It will undoubtedly address issues that impact human rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights as well as the global imbalance between the north and the south, poverty elimination, climate change and debt cancellation.
The Group of 8 (G8) meeting this year will be held in at the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, Germany on June 6 through June 8. It will undoubtedly address issues that impact human rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights as well as the global imbalance between the north and the south, poverty elimination, climate change and debt cancellation. All of these issues affect Asia, and though we cannot be in the room for the discussion, we can use this opportunity to publicize issues important to Asian NGOs. It is important to note that the only Asian G8 country is Japan, who will be hosting next year’s meeting.

According to the Summit’s official website, the theme of this year’s German-hosted discussion is Growth and Responsibility. “The framework conditions for the global economy, involving the largest emerging economies in the system of global responsibility, climate protection issues and African development will be key focuses of this year's G8 Summit in Heiligendamm.”1 FORUM-ASIA applauds Germany’s attention to the “rules of play” that govern interactions between the developed and developing economies. The agenda highlights emerging economies and global governance, and specifically mentions Asia’s growing economic reserves, and for good reason! China at present has one trillion US dollars in reserves, and other countries in our region have stock markets that are heating up quickly. How this money is used and how these emerging markets are governed will affect Asia and the world, a lesson we all painfully remember from 1997.

International Markets and Human Rights

Perhaps more immediately important to the average Asian is the discussion of intellectual property protection, which could range from pirated DVDs sold on the street to compulsory drug licenses medicine to treat HIV/AIDS. The United States will probably push for stricter accountability and some sort of recourse to punish countries like Thailand and Brazil, which have been brave enough to manufacture generic medicines for their people, who are too poor to pay for branded medicines, saving millions of lives.

The economies of the G8 and the developed world and those of Asia are intertwined and interdependent. In addition to doing a significant and crucial (on both ends) trade with Asia, the countries of the G8 also provide large amounts of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to many countries here. Because of this, the G8 will discuss “strategies aimed at achieving balanced worldwide growth and reducing global imbalances (current account deficit in the United States, insufficient growth in Europe and Japan, growing foreign exchange reserves in Asia); discussion of measures to improve the systemic stability and transparency of financial and capital markets.”2 We just hope they keep Asia in mind to help improve the quality of life for millions of people currently living on less than a dollar a day. Approximately half the world’s poor are in South Asia alone, according to the World Bank, and large economies like those in the G8 can support developing economies in many ways.

Related to development is the issue of debt. Most countries have debt, but the global south is saddled with debt payments that disproportionately hamper those governments’ abilities to help their people. Indonesia, for example, pays more to service its debt than it does to provide basic services like education and health care to its citizens, some of the most impoverished in the world.3

The Jubilee Debt Campaign, based in the UK, demands “an end to the scandal of poor countries paying money to the rich world,” by pushing for full debt cancellation.4 Jubilee and other NGOs are calling on the G8 to keep their commitments in prior meetings, specifically the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, to reduce debt and increase ODA to developing countries. 5 In an example of making these global issues work for Asia, FORUM-ASIA’s member organization, the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), wrote a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel requesting debt cancellation for illegitimate debt. Indonesia’s debt includes warships bought from East Germany and debt taken out under the government of Soeharto, which was “without the consent of nor for the benefit of the people”.6 The warships were, for the most part, in poor condition and most of them are not used. The ones that were used, however, were used to fuel conflict in the Aceh region. It will be interesting to see how Germany responds to the request.

We can also expect Germany to bring up the strengthening of core labor standards and the issue of corporate social responsibility. There is a need for more oversight as some Asian countries rapidly industrialize. Keep an eye out for the commitments that stem from the meeting and do everything possible to make sure the G8 keep their word!

Japan at the Helm in 2008

In 2008, Japan will be hosting the G8 meeting, which means it will set the tone, create the agenda and bring the G8 leaders to Asia. We should start considering ways to use this opportunity to lobby for our interests.

As mentioned above, Germany wants to discuss financial transparency in the global market, which includes accountability for hedge funds. Unfortunately, a Reuters News reported that "It is increasingly unlikely that a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Germany in June will issue a call to hedge funds to sign up to a voluntary code of conduct to help reduce risks to the global economy…. Germany is now hoping that Japan will carry the initiative forward during its presidency of the G8 next year.”7

This is just something to keep in mind for 2008, when it is Japan’s turn to host.

2 Ibid
3 INFID Letter to Forum-Asia
6 INFID letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, May 28th 2007, Jakarta, Indonesia.
7 Reuters News (April 28, 2007), "German hedge fund initiative all but dead – magazine."