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About RCEM

On May 15-17, seventy-five (75) representatives of civil society organizations in the Asia Pacific region gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for the APFSD. A major milestone of the CSO forum was the creation of a transition mechanism for a new Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (RCEM).

 The aim of the RCEM is to enable stronger cross constituency[1] coordination and ensure that voices of all sub-regions[2] of Asia Pacific are heard in intergovernmental processes. Thus, the RCEM will ensure that the 60% of the world’s people living in the Asia Pacific region are better represented by civil society and social movements in global negotiations and have a stronger, coordinated, and more effective voice in regional processes.

CSO contributions to United Nations and other inter-governmental processes related to sustainable development have been significant since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or the first Rio Earth Summit. Recent sustainable development processes are increasingly involving civil society organizations (CSOs) through contributions, from agenda setting and shaping to content development. Examples include CSO’s inputs to the Rio+20 Zero Draft and their participation in global and regional preparatory processes. At the Rio+20 Conference itself CSOs organized a large number of side events engaging governments alongside social movements and the general public to exchange views and information on the sustainable development agenda.

CSOs as development actors in their own right have already been recognised by states in the arena of aid effectiveness. This is further recognized in the sustainable development processes such as (but not limited to) the UNGA resolution 67/290 which encourages civil society “…to autonomously establish and maintain effective coordination mechanisms for participation in the high-level political forum and for actions derived from that participation at the global, regional and national levels, in a way that ensures effective, broad and balanced participation by region and by type of organization” (UN 2013).

During the ESCAP CED3 Meeting in October 2013, CSOs in attendance saw the need to work together to conceptualize, design and organize a ‘Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism’ (RCEM) for sustainable development processes within the UN system. These CSOs constituted an Interim Group and presented the concept of the RCEM in a meeting of CSOs from the region in May 2014, in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD).


[1] (1) Women, (2) farmers, (3) fisherfolk, (4) youth, children and adolescents (5) migrants, (6) trade union/workers, (7) people living with and affected by HIV, (8) LGBTIQ, (9) urban poor, (10) people displaced by disasters and conflict, (11) small and medium enterprises, (12) science and technology, (13)persons with disability, (14) Indigenous peoples, (15) elderly, (16) Local Authorities

[2] South East Asia, South Asia, North East Asia, Central Asia, Pacific