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Asian, European NGOs Calls for Int'l Cooperation to Cope with Financial Crisis
    2008-10-15 20:30:56     Xinhua
Representatives from Asian and European Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) agreed the international community should enhance cooperation amid the worsening global financial crisis.

During the three-day seventh Asia and Europe People's Forum (AEPF), which concluded in Beijing on Wednesday, the financial crisis, a severe issue most countries were now confronting, became the focus of discussion.

"It is obvious that the Western world should take on more responsibilities when coping with the global financial crisis; their suggestions will decide where the world economy goes in the future," said Walden Bello, senior analyst of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South.

He noted governments of different countries should cooperate and support each other, as well as enhance financial and trade links in face of the crisis. "This bases on strengthening financial monitoring and setting up a more effective regulation of the banking system."

The Wall Street credit crunch had spread fast in the past couple of weeks as more financial institutions worldwide suffered liquidity shortage problems. In addition, stock markets plummeted sharply in most of the major indices, reflecting the breadth and depth of the emergency.

Klaus Fritshe, German Asia Foundation managing director, said the "financial crisis" actually was a mixture of energy, climate and environmental problems, which harmed people's interests and worsened the poverty situation.

The poor, in particular, suffered most, and the gap between them and the rich had widened, he said, hoping governments would think more about livelihood, and to take grassroots' interests into consideration when confronting the crisis.

The forum attracted more than 500 participants of Asian and European NGOs to discuss the financial crisis and other issues covering social and ecological justice. These included the Millennium Development Goals, climate change and ecological justice, social security in Asia and Europe, women's participation in political affairs, rights of the disabled and counter terrorism.

"When we come to specific issues, there are lots of disagreements, but in the course of discussion, things get clarified. We are here to learn different perspectives, share views, and seek solidarity and mutual understanding," said Lorry Lohmann, a researcher with the United Kingdom-based organization Corner House.

The forum worked as a platform for the civil societies to fully exchange ideas, and in this way it made its own contribution to increasing mutual understanding between peoples from the two continents, according to Heidi Hautala, a Finnish parliamentary member. "To help enhance Asia-Europe cooperation is the basic idea of the forum."

Tran Dac Loi, secretary general of the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation, said it was of special significance for Asia and Europe, two influential continents in the world, to strengthen exchange and cooperation in coping with various challenges.

This would help promote the social and economic progress of Asian and European countries, and safeguard the stability and harmonious development of the whole world, he noted.

The forum released a "Final Declaration" on late Wednesday, which called for further cooperation between Asia and Europe, in a bid to promote sustainable developments in economy, environment and social affairs, among others.
 
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