Over one hundred representatives from CSOs, and POs as well as development workers and experts on trade in Asia Pacific are set to gather at an online research conference on free trade agreements from 25 January 2021 to 29 January 2021. This comes at the heels of the changing landscape of foreign trade and investment to address the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic. The main aim is to increase people’s understanding of the impacts of global and regional policies at the national level. This research conference endeavors to produce advocacy and engagement campaigns that would resonate at the global level.

Azra Talat Sayeed, Director Emeritus of Roots for Equity and Chairperson of the APRN Board of Convenors, welcomes the plenary and the participants to the opening of APRN’s Research Conference 2021; discussing the current state of play in the globe, and APRN’s role in supporting people’s movements.

Antonio Tujan Jr., Executive Director of the International Peoples Research Network (IPRN), presents his opening keynote speech, “The World Needs a Development Reboot.” He briefly discussed the framework of neoliberal globalization, the people’s economic agenda, and the need to move towards not just a new normal but to a global development reboot.

IBON Foundation’s Executive Director, Sonny Africa, presents his keynote speech “On Economic Sovereignty”. Mr. Africa discussed the constraints in economic sovereignty from colonialism to neocolonialism, as well as presented possible alternatives and ways forward on how movements can fight towards genuine development.