Jogjakarta, Indonesia — DHRRA representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, with partners from regional and global development organizations, such as the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Foundation, Asian Farmers Association, Collectif Strategis Allimentaires, and, World Rural Forum, gathered last 18 May 2016 at Sheraton Hotel, Yogyakarta, Indonesia for the launching of a new regional program for rural peoples of Asia called, Regional Cooperation to Empower Rural Development Organizations in Asia or ReCoERDO-Asia.
ReCoERDO-Asia is a regional program that aims to contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic well-being of members of rural people’s organization in Southeast Asia through strengthened capacity of CSOs in responding to rural development issues.
It is a cooperation with the European Union under the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) to operationalize AsiaDHRRA network’s vision of self-reliant organized rural communities that are just, free, prosperous, living in peace and working in solidarity. In doing so, the action is geared toward strengthening the network’s capacities and optimizing its established leadership and social capital in the regions towards the improvement of the socio-economic well-being of members of RPOs in Asia.
Specifically, ReCoERDO – Asia aims to:
1. Strengthen the organizational capacities of the CSOs in delivering effective services to rural peoples’ organizations;
2. Strengthen the role and engagement of the AsiaDHRRA network in regional and global platforms; and,
3. Empower grassroots rural peoples’ organizations by building capacity to effectively engage public and private.
Dr. Hiroyuki Konuma, former Assistant Director-General (ADG) and Regional Representative for Asia and Pacific of FAO (UN), now Senior Advisor to the President of Asia Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand, graced the launching. In his speech he said that was very honoured to be part of the ReCoERDO – Asia Project, and have accepted the invitation of AsiaDHRRA to be part of the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) in recognition of the network’s critical works and contribution for rural development in the region. He continued, “…support for rural population is imperative if we want food security”. He also stressed that development support should not only focus on traditional agri-production but instead should approach rural development in a much broader way to encompass value-chain, farmers-market linkages, making sure that their produce is much needed by consumers.
Soestrisno Kusumohadi, Vice-Chairman of InDHRRA (Indonesia Development Partnership for Human Resources in Rural Areas), and one of AsiaDHRRA’s Council of Elders said, “for many years, the voices of rural peoples in Asia were put on the sideline by governments. This program will strengthen Asian rural peoples in voicing out their issues, but more so, [it] will be done in terms of enhancing their capacities to participate in development.”
“With the launching of this new regional program, the many potentials of Asian rural peoples Organizations will be unleashed,” this according Marlene Ramirez, Secretary General for AsiaDHRRA.
For Dwi Astuti, InDHRRA’s Executive Director and concurrent AsiaDHRRA Chairperson, “in the end ReCoERDO – Asia is more than just an agreement between the European Commission and AsiaDHRRA. It is re-building human relationships among rural peoples.” ReCoERDO–Asia will be implemented in 8 countries across Asia: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and, Thailand together with the national DHRRAs and other partners of AsiaDHRRA.