Following in the footsteps of years of dynamism and productivity, 2016 saw Socdem Asia spearheading various activities and publications with a focus on grassroots democracy in Asia, energy security, gender equality, and building open and safe societies in an age of terror and strongman populism. The year saw Socdem Asia organizing major events, which gathered leading progressive thinkers and activists from the Asian region and beyond. This year also had focused on capacitating activists at different level on campaigning, political management and inclusive policy development work. Without a question, the year was a difficult one for progressives around the world owing to the electoral victory of anti-democratic forces, rise in xenophobia, and precipitous decline for progressive, democratic values around the world. It also saw renewed challenges to freedom and democracy across Asia. And this is precisely why Socdem Asia’s activities this year were filled a larger-than-usual sense of duty and urgency.
“A Social Democratic Asia: Strengthening Inclusive Policy Formulation” a regional partnership project between SocDem Asia and the Danish Social Democratic Party (SDP) was formally launched in Kathmandu, Nepal on the 28th of August 2016.
The project, supported through the Danish Institute of Parties and Democracy (DIPD), intends to develop national programme papers in pilot countries to concretize SocDem Asia’s regional policy proposals developed in its thematic conferences for the past 7 years. In the process, the project aims to contribute to further strengthening the practice of internal democracy in partner parties, consultations with stakeholders, and people’s participation in policy making and development.
With energy security being a persistent programmatic thrust of Socdem Asia, the network brought together members of political parties, think tanks, civil society organizations, diplomatic community, and government officials from Indonesia, Malaysia, Germany and the Philippines in a dialogue about shifting to more rene
wable sources of energy. The conference which was held earlier this November was housed in Discovery Primea, Makati Philippines. It was made possible through the cooperation of Socdem Asia, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Active Citizenship Foundation.
The conference sought to weigh-in lessons from national and international experiences that will help inform a progressive energy security agenda. It also aimed to identify strategies and ways forward to push for more policies that enhance regional capacities to pursue sustainable energy options and venues to further cooperation at the regional, country and local levels.
The keynote speaker of the activity was the advisor to the Minister for Environment and Economy of Germany, Dr. Felix Matthes. He talked about emerging concepts and trends in the energy sector and the politics behind them. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the senate committee chairperson on energy also graced the conference to converse about government thrusts on pursuing a more sustainable energy mix in the country. A diverse set of speakers- advocates, practitioners, bureaucrats, government officials and members of the private sector talked about a plethora of issues ranging from lessons from implementing local renewable energy programs, the progressive energy security narrative, to busting the nuclear myth.