IC Berlin WSF 2009

News from the International Council of the WSF Berlin 29-31 May 2007 - WSF 2009

Deciding on where to hold the next World Social Forum surely was the most delicate point of the discussions of this meeting of the International Council.

by Francine Mestrum and following below by Azril Bacal.

@ http://www.nigd.org/nan/nan-doc-store/05-2007/ic-berlin-wsf-2009 (external link)

Informally and before the meeting, some people were spreading the idea that we needed a kind of ‘moratorium’: no WSF for at least 4 or 5 years, time to reflect, time to let local initiatives grow and climb up to the global top. Their arguments: the ‘failure’ of Nairobi was not a failure of the Africans but of the whole process, the lack of connectedness with local initiatives, the lack of political clarity.

These criticisms surely are shared by many, though for most of the participants of the IC it must have been quite a relief to hear that what was proposed at the meeting was to not hold a WSF in 2009 but to wait till 2010. Even if that proposal did not seem to convince a majority, the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater was avoided. The arguments given with this proposal were the need to better interlink local, national, regional and global initiatives. Once again it was stressed that we should not focus on the event but give more attention to the process leading up to the event, something that most of us surely agree with.

The different proposals that were made for 2009 (or 2010) were: Amazonas, Africa, the Arab world, South Korea, North Mexico. But only the Amazonas initiative got a more detailed content with one representative of the region: in fact, this would not be a Brazilian initiative, but one from 9 bordering countries, with a focus on ecological problems and indigenous people. The proposing coalition consists of 623 local groups of all different people that already organized 4 ‘foros panamazonicos’ with a participation of many isolated groups. As had already been stressed in Nairobi, Amazonas is becoming more and more the ‘centre of the world’ because of the intensive resistance movements, the huge ecological importance, the US military presence, apart from all ‘traditional’ problems of poverty, lack of social services and so on. Such a forum would probably be held in Belém do Para.

Even if this last proposal seemed to convince a majority, there was no consensus. So a working group had to be convened in the evening in order to present a final proposal in the morning of the 31st.

Azril Bacal reported followingly on the second day of the IC meetings, after a consensus was reached on the second day of the IC meeting that WSF 2009 will be held in the Amazonian region: "Concerning the action agenda for 2008, 2009 and beyond, you already got the basics. But I wish to share a reflection on our own ways to deal with "inclusion." Even though, it was actually an exhausting task and many hours of work to reach consensus on the final agreement concerning the former, I observed a "lack of inclusive generosity" in some of our colleagues. To make the point more clear, our friend Fahim from Karachi, raised yesterday, after the previous consensus had been reached, a late yet meaningful grievance, concerning our neglecting the vast Asian Region (West and East) from our agenda, including the lack of presence and support of the IC-WSF at the polycentric WSF 2006 in Karachi. While understanding the exasperation of some of the persons who painfully worked in the previous compromise agreement, it was good to include Fahim´s grievance and request, in our last-minute "conflict-solving" strategy via an ad-hoc working group, which in the end, worked out well. Fahim was reasonably satisfied about the outcome of the latter meeting. While focusing in the immediate challenging tasks ahead: the 2008 global campaign, the 2009 WSF in the Amazonian Region and the return to Africa, tentatively in 2011, the IC will actively extend its activities to reach out to other neglected regions of the world."