A Philippines politician and academic says Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping is ‘next to useless,’and the region needs an effective non-partisan multilateral association that also addresses the needs of the Pacific Islands.
Walden Bello says a new body should give smaller countries and less developed economies of the region, including Pacific Island economies, the space in which they can implement their strategies of sustainable development, ”free from the deadly dynamics of free trade and finance capital.”
He believes a new body could also:
- Contain the threat of geopolitical rivalry between the US and China in cooperation with the United Nations
- Serve as a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of disputes like the continuously volatile situation in the Korean peninsula and the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea
- Address environmental crisis in the APEC area, including climate change, deforestation, overfishing, and biodiversity loss
- Address the condition of migrant workers, many of whom are not documented, and subject to abuse by labor traffickers and exploitation.
- Address the condition of indigenous peoples, including the people of West Papua.
Bello says work of establishing such a body would fall on the smaller states, working with a vibrant civil society that now cooperates across borders.
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