The 4th Connecting Civil Societies (CCS) Conference “Changing Challenges, New Ideas” took place in Brussels on 1-3 October 2010. An official side event of the 8th Summit of Leaders of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM8), CCS4 was a platform for civil society to convey recommendations to the leaders of 46 Asian and European countries plus the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat, who met in Brussels on 4 and 5 October.
Concluding with eight points of action for ASEM leaders to enhance Asia-Europe cooperation, CCS participants welcomed the continuing political dialogue between ASEM leaders at the highest level, and called for greater civil society engagement and partnership at all levels and initiatives of the ASEM process. These recommendations included moves for advancing interregional and regional integration; mobilising resources for higher education; harnessing voluntary service for lifelong learning; building regional communities for post-conflict reconciliation; guaranteeing access to information; promoting public health through “young” ideas; and applying the arts in sustainable urban development. Senior editors from Asia and Europe also concluded a roundtable discussion by noting an urgent need for Asia and Europe to learn from each other as challenges and risks are increasingly inter-connected across borders as well as across sectors.
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere opened CCS4 on 2 October. Representatives from the Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF), the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) also shared their perspectives on Asia and Europe’s most pressing concerns at the panel discussion, “Views from the ASEM Community.”
The “Eight points for ASEM8” recommendations of the 4th Connecting Civil Societies of Asia and Europe Conference were channelled to the Leaders attending the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting. (Click here for the full report).