The Core-Committee meeting of South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) held at Male, Maldives from 3-4, June, 2017 expresses its deep concerns and anxiety over politico-religious violence that has been taking place in Afghanistan and other parts of South Asia. We urge the South Asian governments and the heads of states to provide safety to the people and take utmost serious efforts to arrive at sustainable solutions to provide dignified life to its citizens keeping them far from fear & insecurity.

SAAPE is also alarmed at the spread of religious fundamentalism and extremism that is engulfing the region. There can be no doubt that the politics of religious violence, factional fights for power and extreme political polarization are directly linked to outbreak of conflicts which is affecting vast majority of population in the region. The nature and political economy of the state have been instrumental in fermenting the current crisis.

The South Asian states increasingly tend to operate in the interests of ruling classes, thereby influencing policies resulting into skewed distribution of resources creating extreme marginalisation of the vast majority of the people in the region which then assumes the forms of religious, ethnic, caste and other backlashes. The pace, content and dynamics of the uneven development patterns in South Asia are among the predominant causes of violence in the region. We urge South Asian head of the states and governments to adopt pro-people policies not only for being a subservient to the powerful nations and multinational companies but truly representing people putting people agenda at the centre. An economic planning through social justice can only deliver the region out of this current infernal situations.

SAAPE is alarmed at multinational and big national companies competing for economically benefitting projects and these economic projects are totally based on endless search for profits without paying even the slightest attention towards the quality of human lives; which massively affects by disrupting environment, land capturing by mafias and ecological degradation inviting massive expulsion of population and inhabitants. SAAPE believes that the current growth model of the development cannot bring in general prosperity or the well-being for the people or play any role in poverty eradication. Rather, the underlying economic practices behind such development model creates further inequality, exacerbates social imbalances and unevenness and augments poverty. SAAPE demands that the South Asian states should create a regional economic co-operation through mutual trust, respecting each other sovereignty and interdependence whether they are big or small nations. A people centric economic co-operation policy could deliver the region out of the current predicament of hunger, misery and extreme poverty.

In spite of being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the South Asia lags behind all other regions in terms of social sector spending. While millions suffer from basic needs – food, health, education, shelter, employment, etc. the governments of South Asian countries are subsidising big companies who seek only profit from their investments. The region needs immediate increase in social-sector spending of its GDP. Moreover, instead of prioritising social-sector spending, the governments prepare for the anticipated popular protests by constructing well-crafted coercive apparatus. SAAPE condemns any such forms of criminalisation of dissent or popular will.

While the planet is confronting with the perils of climate change, certain areas of the region like Maldives and coastal areas of Bangladesh face immediate disaster with rising sea levels and the Himalayas ‘glaciers and mountains in the regions are at the verge of losing layers of snow due to global warming caused by the neo-liberal development paradigm. SAAPE appeals to governments all across the world to take immediate action for reducing the present trends of global warming. SAAPE takes a serious note of recent withdrawal of United States of America from the Paris Climate Agreement and express deep concerns that the decision is against the humanity, particularly against the poor, women, children and other vulnerable communities of the whole world. We urge the US government to revoke the decision of withdrawal and extend cooperation to global community to fight against the peril of climate change.

We also declare that this catastrophe can only be addressed if people and communities have access to and control over the natural resources on which they depend rather than MNCs, IFIS or even governments which stand for the immediate private interests of a global elite and their local cohorts.

Core Committee
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
5 June 2017, Male, Maldives.