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IPEN Southeast and East Asia Regional Meeting
IPEN Participating Organizations (POs) in Southeast and East Asia gathered for a regional meeting in Thailand from February 4-5, 2023. Fourteen (14) members from 11 POs representing 9 countries participated.
The first day of the meeting held in Bangkok focused on sharing ideas and experiences from the participants with inputs into the development of a regional strategy. On the second day, the group visited the Nampu Industrial Pollution Site, Ratchaburi, where communities are using citizen science to defend their rights to a healthy environment. The community is a partner with one of IPEN’s POs, Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH), who also helped coordinate the regional meeting.
Sara Broschè, IPEN Science Advisor, shared about “International policy - how to engage on a global, regional, and local level” while Therese Karlsson, IPEN Science and Technical Advisor presented on “Science – how to find, understand and communicate it.”
Citizen Science Learning Visit at the Nampu Industrial Pollution Site
The learning visit was organized to learn and share experiences with a community affected by industrial pollution in Ratchaburi, Thailand. The participants met with the members of the community to discuss their experiences and their use of citizen scientists to combat contamination from toxic chemicals in their area. There was a lot of appreciation also to the sustained efforts of EARTH, in empowering and supporting the community leaders and members.
The regional meeting ended with inputs gathered for the development of a regional strategy. Local, national, and regional issues and concerns were identified and prioritized, a regional strategic goal was developed, and objectives, strategies, and priority campaigns and projects were also identified. The regional strategy will then be presented to all the participating organizations in the region within the year, for review and adoption.
The participants also agreed to a common goal of unifying efforts in addressing toxics, waste, and the climate crisis toward environmental rights, justice, and sustainability through advocating for the passage and implementation of policies and regulations.
Participants' Reflections on the Meeting
“Attending the IPEN SEA strategy meeting was a first for me. The meeting was a constructive and meaningful process and led us to make many critical decisions about defining the IPEN SEA goals by focusing on strategic issues and maximizing member expertise. The learning visit to Nampu Village was an emphatic experience to directly witness the impact caused by a garbage company. We must take action to help them and support them in similar cases.”
Nindhita Proboretno, NEXUS3, Indonesia
“The regional meeting was a great opportunity for regional POs to share, exchange information, and learn from each other to increase connectivity and cooperation. During the meeting, the POs discussed and set out the goals and strategic plan of the region. This is very important because it will be the fundamental guide for POs working for a sustainable development environment without harmful chemicals.”
Hang Pham, CGFED, Vietnam
“All the participants were so active and prudent. The 2023 IPEN SEA strategies were filled with thoughtful passion. I and my institute (WIOEH) will do our best to accomplish the goal of the 2023 IPEN SEA Strategy.”
Won Kim, Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health, Republic of Korea
“It was my first time attending the regional meeting. I find that it gives the opportunity to learn the issues in the region that we could tackle together, such as mercury in skin lightening cream. Besides I could also learn from other NGOs how they present the issues to their government to take action. The field trip was a good exposure on the toxic waste pollution which is a common feature in many countries in the region. Due to a few powerful individuals and corruption the poor and the innocent becomes the victims.”
Hatijah Hashim, Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia
“BAN Toxics commends and thanks IPEN for providing a platform for advocates from Southeast Asia to discuss pressing chemicals and waste issues. For NGOs like us, ensuring that our strategies are aligned on a regional level can only serve to strengthen our work on the ground. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the network for toxics—free future.”
Jam Lorenzo, BAN Toxics, Philippines
EcoWaste Coalition has been serving as IPEN’ Southeast and East Asia Regional Hub since 2016. The IPEN SEA Region includes Cambodia, China (mainland, Hongkong, Taiwan), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. For more information, contact Chinkie Peliño-Golle, IPEN SEA Regional Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.