During 7-8 February 2018, USAID-funded Civil Society Partnerships Project (CSPP) under Khon Kaen University’ Center for Civil Society and Nonprofit Management (CSNM) organized 2nd CSOs Regional Conference 2018, “Re-engaging and Regaining Space: Toward a Stronger Civil Society in Lower Mekong Sub-region” at Kosa Hotel, Khon Kaen, Thailand. 79 participants from 46 civil society organizations in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam attended conference. This regional forum aims to collectively share and discuss experiences and best practices of CSOs operation in Lower Mekong Sub-region’ countries. Key issues concerned are professional standards, sustainability, space in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and framework of regional collaboration for achieving the SDGs. Moreover, representatives from 5 LMS’ countries communally made up declaration of LMS’ CSOs as highlighted of some drafted-outcome-document.
“We believe in our co-existence, identity, solidarity, and partnership will continuously enhance our professionalism, capacity, and confidence for our sustainability. We commit to utilize social platforms and build strong partnership among other CSOs at local, national and regional levels to achieve the SDGs and beyond. We will maximize invited spaces/mechanisms to advocate and engage with ASEAN governments, private sector and other stakeholders for addressing the common issues mentioned above.
We call on the ASEAN government leaders, regional organizations, and international community to accelerate and foster their efforts in facilitating the implementation of their commitments made in AICHR, other international treaties and instruments, and SDGs, and to highlight the importance of achieving all SDGs, especially the goal numbers 5 “gender equality”, 10 “inequality”, 13 “climate change”, 16 “peace, human rights and strong institution” and 17 “inclusive partnership “as these goals are fundamental to achieve all other sustainable development goals. We strongly encourage the ASEAN governments and other stakeholders to avoid any harmful infrastructures to social and environment health, to ensure and enhance sustainable natural resources, and peaceful, just and inclusive society through implementation of trans-boundary partnerships and people participation in all development and decision making processes at all levels.”
Finally, CSNM was agreed to coordinate with all participants and move forward on the regional CSOs SDG platform in order to reach out and update all aspect of SDGs impact and news include call for action in respective LMS’ countries and beyond.
Reporter: Sirinath Matra