Phnom Penh, February 28, 2020 — Deputy Prime Minister Kete Nite Koasal Bandit Bin Chhin, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, held here this morning a meeting with officials of the inter-ministerial working group for the preparation of the 13th Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF13) to be hosted by Cambodia from Sept. 28 to 30, 2020.
“Thousands of people from civil society, academics, non-governmental organisations representing over 51 countries are expected to attend. Each year the forum theme is selected by the host nation. For the AEPF13, Cambodia has selected the theme of “BUILDING UNITY AND SOLIDARITY IN AN INCREASINGLY POLARISED WORLD: Working Together for Peace, Stability, and Inclusivity, Socially and Economically Just, and Equal Choices in Asia and Europe”, said H.E. Ek Tha, Spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, on Feb. 28.
Deputy PM Bin Chhin told the meeting that he had given approval for Cambodian officials to participate in working visits to nations who have previously organised Asia-Europe peoples forums.
“We have all the mechanisms and expertise in place and we are ready to do the job,” said H.E. Ek Tha.
The Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) is an interregional network of progressive civil society organisations from across Asia and Europe. Since 1996, AEPF has been holding a biennial alternative ASEM summit called the People’s Forum. ASEM is the official meeting between heads of state of the European and Asian countries.
The AEPF has consistently been the leading network linking Asian and European NGOs and social movements. It is committed to fostering people’s solidarity for a socially and economically just, inclusive, peaceful, sustainable and ecologically sensitive development, within and across the two regions.
The AEPF’s objective and practices are to advance people’s voices and visions within Asia-Europe relations. The AEPF provides a space for social actors in each region to: Strengthen network building at national and regional levels in order to undertake cross-regional initiatives and campaigns and to analyze issues of common interest such as social justice, peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, democracy and rights.
Following the Bangkok 1996 AEPF, subsequent people’s forums have been held in London in 1998, South Korea in 2000, Denmark in 2002, Vietnam in 2004, Finland in 2006, China in 2008, Belgium in 2010, Laos in 2012, Italy in 2014, Mongolia 2016, and the AEPF12 was held in Ghent, Belgium, in 2018.
The AEPF network has expanded over the years and has mobilised new organisations and added additional countries from the South Asia and Eastern European regions. It is held on the sidelines of the ASEM Summit before the heads of State and Government from across Asia and Europe meet to discuss their future priorities and plans.
Cambodia will hold an ASEM Day on Mar. 10, 2020 to raise the public awareness that the Kingdom of Wonder will be hosting the 13th AEPF from Sept. 28 to 30, 2020 and ASEM Summit from Nov. 16 to 17, 2020.