IC – Nature, responsibilities, composition and functioning

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The first meeting of the International Council (IC) of the WSF was held from June 9 to 11, 2001. At that time the following items regarding the nature, responsibilities, composition and functioning of the IC were discussed and approved:

1) Nature:

Creation of the IC reflects the concept of the WSF as a permanent, long-term process, designed to build an international movement to bring together alternatives to neoliberal thinking in favour of a new social order, one that will foster contact among a multiplicity and diversity of proposals.

Accordingly, the IC will be set up as a permanent body that will give continuity to the WSF beyond 2002, to consolidate the process of taking the WSF to the world level. The Council will play a leading role in defining policy guidelines and the WSFs strategic directions. National Organizing Committees will serve as organizers and facilitators in tandem with the IC.

The IC must be a place of ongoing, open dialogue and interlinking with other social movements and struggles. It will not be an authority in a power structure, and will not have mechanisms for disputing representation, nor for voting. Although the IC must have a balanced make-up in terms of regional and sectorial diversity, it will not be a bureaucratic structure with any claim to representing world civil society. The representativity of the IC will result from its ability to take the WSF to the world level, and to give it roots, organicity and continuity.

2) Responsibilities:

With their main objective being to expand and consolidate the WSF, IC members must assume political and operational responsibilities such as the following: - Formulating WSF strategies; - Maintaining ongoing contact with international movements, campaigns, initiatives, struggles and other events; - Making the WSF a familiar presence in their countries and regions, fostering widespread participation and debate on matters and proposals identified by the WSF; - Promoting and supporting WSF meetings, identifying potential sites and encouraging participation; - Ensuring reciprocal political, thematic and operational action among WSFs; - Promoting and supporting the formation of Committees in their countries; - Together with WSF Organizing Committees, providing a structure for topics, methodologies, formats, identification and invitations to speakers and exhibitors; - Fund-raising.

3) Composition:

The IC consists of a basic core wherein regional imbalances still exist (sparse participation by Africa, Asia and the Arab world), as well as sectorial ones (young people, blacks, among others), which must be eliminated. The Council believes that confronting these imbalances and gaps must be seen as a goal to be attained by means of consultation, for which regions and groups require time. The IC must evaluate suggestions to take in new members resulting from these consultations, and subsequently extend the appropriate invitations. The IC must strive to raise funds so that networks will not be denied participation due to a lack of resources. Groups and organizations invited to the first meeting, but that were unable to attend, will of course be considered members of the IC.

Composition of the IC will obey the following criteria: - Adherence to the Charter of Principles; - Geographical and regional balance aimed at diversity; - Sectorial participation: trade unions, social movements, NGOs and others; - Participation by heads of international and regional networks; - Commitment to the continuity of the WSF, and with responsibilities referred to above. - There is no pre-set number of members. - Participants will include representatives from international and regional entities and organizations, and international networks and coordinators.

There will be two ways to participate in the IC, with the right to be heard guaranteed in each instance: a) Permanent members; b) Occasional guests and observers: Non-members whose participation is considered important at a given moment in the international situation or with regard to the WSFs organizational dynamics.

4) Functioning:

The IC is conceived as a dynamic arrangement reflecting societys initiatives. As such, each member will contribute to the IC according to the members activities, and should make its commitments clear as regards the Councils functioning. Accordingly, during the meeting there was a proposal to create work groups to coordinate members agendas.

Fund-raising efforts must get underway as soon as possible. Creating mechanisms for mobilization and communication is also a pressing need, and must be quickly put in practice to foster coordination among members, and among members and WSF 2002 Organizing Committees.

In order to ensure the IC functions dynamically, members should appoint a representative and a deputy. Each member will have a seat at IC meetings. The next Council meeting will be held in Dakar, Senegal, in late October, 2001 (where, among other matters, the site of WSF 2003 will be designated). Immediately afterward, the CI will meet again in Porto Alegre, just before WSF 2002 begins.

Brazilian Organizing Committee