Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders

Who we are

There is a rise in the number of killings as well as different forms of human rights violations of environment defenders in the Asia Pacific. These are happening in areas where there is opposition to projects such as large-scale mining, mega-dams and industrial plantations which disrupt ecological balance and the lives of people. Environment defenders seek to uphold the right to a safe, and sustainable environment as well as their continuing access and control of common resources for survival, yet they are under attack. It is in this context that the Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders (APNED) was formed in 2018.

APNED is a campaign network of individuals, civil society groups, and peoples’ organizations in the Asia Pacific region that are united on the following points:

Points of Unity

  1. Environment defenders are common people—women, peasants, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, workers, professionals, students, and anyone regardless of gender and age, who are standing up for the environment, their right to life and right to live in harmony with nature;
  2. Due to intensifying resource conflicts, environment defenders in the world today have been increasingly facing human rights violations and are becoming more vulnerable to threats of harassment, killings and other forms of repression;
  3. Corporate and state activities that entail extraction, as well as land and resource grabs that lead to massive environmental destruction, pollution and deprive people of their access to natural resources, displace them from their communities, their source of livelihood, ancestral domain and heritage;
  4. The struggle of environment defenders and the massive destruction of the environment across the globe is resulting from neoliberal globalization and the capitalist drive to exploit resources and accumulate profits by the elite few, as well as the unsustainable consumption patterns promoted by capitalism;
  5. Alongside with this is the increasing military rule and autocratic regimes around the world making environment defenders more insecure, and the creation of policy frameworks that favour economic and political elites rather than people;
  6. Thus, there is an urgent need to raise awareness, build connections among affected people, communities and concerned institutions to promote environmental rights and protection of environment defenders across the region.

Objectives

In this regard, the network members agree to collectively pursue the following:

  • Gather, consolidate and set up mechanisms that will monitor cases of human rights violations among environment defenders in the Asia Pacific region, especially in their respective countries;
  • Provide solidarity support to organizations, communities, and or individuals who are under threat because of their advocacy for the environment and human rights;
  • Conduct campaigns at the national and international levels:
  • To raise awareness on the struggles of environment defenders;
  • To seek justice for environment defenders who are victims of human rights violations;
  • To advocate and campaign for recognition of people’s environmental rights as basic human rights and the key role of Environment Defenders in the protection of the environment, management of resources and defense of people’s rights in access and control of their natural resources;
  • To demand establishment of protection mechanisms and/or legislations that would recognize and increase security of environment defenders.
  • Engage with regional and international institutions, like the United Nations (UN), ASEAN and similar institutions to come up with policies and programs to protect environment defenders, and recognizing the environmental rights as people’s rights.

Character of the Network

The Network is composed of individuals, civil society groups, non-government organizations, grassroots and people’s organizations who advocate and work on the issue of human rights, environmental protection and natural resource conservation.

It is a solidarity campaign network that aims to coordinate campaign initiatives of regional members and encourage solidarity among grassroots and frontline defenders across the region. The network will help to strengthen the coordination and solidarity, as well as raising of national and local concerns of environment defenders in different international policy spaces.

The network works on a democratic and consensus decision-making process among its members. In the long run, a regional coordinating committee will be formed to coordinate and facilitate campaign initiatives. A regional secretariat will also manage, oversee and facilitate the daily coordination and decisions of the network.

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines volunteer to handle the secretariat work of the network, in the meantime.

What we do

APNED, as a civil society-led mechanism gathers, consolidates and sets up mechanisms to monitor cases of human rights violations among environmental defenders in the Asia Pacific region. We provide solidarity support to organizations, communities and/or inviduals who are under threat because of their advocacy for the environment and human rights. The network also conducts campaigns at the national and international levels and engages with regional and and international institutions to come up with policies and programs to protect environment defenders and to recognize environmental rights as people’s rights.