In officially launching Regions Refocus on 26th January 2014, the Director, Anita Nayar, described its growth as an organic process. In collaborating with civil society actors in the delivery of nine workshops across nine regions grew an awareness of the need to strengthen regional spaces of progressive thought, activism, and policy as a remedy to global policy spaces dominated by Northern actors and interests. To that end, Regions Refocus was launched as a means to build pathways for solidarity between and within regions and movements for the development of heterodox and feminist policies.
This mission was reflected on the day of the launch, which brought together progressive policy makers and civil society leaders from around the world. Participants engaged in three dynamic sessions kicked-off by teach-in style presentations delivered by activists and academics from the Global South:
1. Fetish for Foreign Direct Investment vs. Economic Determination, which offers a historically and regionally-specific analysis on the ‘fetish’ of foreign direct investment (FDI), and alternatives to this model, drawing on experiences in West Africa, East Africa, the Pacific, and the Arab States.
2. Sexing & Gendering Development, which highlights the fundamental structural and social dimensions of sexuality and gender as they relate to development in South Asia, Caribbean, and Latin America.
3. Reclaiming the State vs. Corporatization of Governance, which provides regional perspectives from the Arab States, the Pacific, and the Caribbean on issues related to the Third Conference on Financing for Development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.