Updated on 22/02/2006

Charter of principles and values of the African Social

Addis Ababa, January , 2003.

X http://www.fsmmali.org/article51.html?lang=en (external link)

After evaluating the results obtained and hopes aroused by the two editions of the African Social Forum (ASF), (organised in Bamako in January 2002 and Addis Ababa in January 2003), the initiators of the ASF considered it necessary to define a Charter of principles and values which establishes the political and moral bases of this collective space, and provide guidance for the continuation of this initiative.

The Principles contained in this Charter, which shall be observed by all those desiring to participate in the Forum and organise activities within it, are in conformity with the ideals that guided the realisation of the two editions of the African Social Forum and defined the new political and moral orientations.

1. The African Social Forum is an open meeting space aimed at deepening reflections, democratic debate, formulating proposals, experiences and articulation of efficient actions, entities and African social movements which are opposed to neo-liberalism, injustice and the domination of the world by market forces.

2. The Bamako Forum was a high point in the existence of the African social movement during which we agreed and proclaimed that « another Africa is possible. » This creed which is also our hobbyhorse shall guide us in the search for and construction of alternatives to the domination and plundering of the continent.

3. The African Social Forum shall speak as a continental body. Thus all the meetings that contribute to this process shall also have a regional dimension.

4. The alternatives proposed by the African Social Forum shall be focussed on the human person and opposed to the merchandising of Africa and the selling off of its riches within the framework of neo-liberal globalisation. The latter is particularly beneficial to the major multinational firms, rich nations and international institutions at the latter’s service. The Forum thus objects to the programmes and initiatives launched on behalf of the continent which, in fact, establish the domination of the financial, political and cultural hegemonic forces.

5. The Forum shall, more specifically, campaign in favour of an interdependent African integration based, on the one hand, on the respect of the rights of men and women , minority rights, democracy, the principles of a sustainable development, and on the other, on democratic institutions at the service of interests of the continent, social justice, equality and people’s sovereignty.

6. The African Social Forum shall bring together and connect civil society entities and movements from all African countries, but shall not claim to be representative of the African civil society or exclude from its debates political leaders, mandated by the peoples, who accept to make commitments resulting from this Charter.

7. Meetings of the African Social Forum do not have voting powers. No one shall therefore be authorised to speak on behalf of the Forum, no matter in what form, by presenting viewpoints claiming to be those of the ASF. As members of the Forum, participants shall not take decisions by vote or acclamation, nor approve declarations or proposals for action which bind the Forum.

8. Entities partaking in the Forum proceedings should however be able to deliberate freely during these meetings, alone or with other participants, about declarations and actions which they decide to develop . The world social forum shall undertake to widely circulate these decisions, through the means at its disposal, without imposing directions, hierarchies, censures and restrictions, but as proceedings of entities or groups of entities which would have assumed them.

9. The African Social Forum is a pluralist and diversified, non confessional, non governmental and non partisan space, which links, in a decentralised way and in networks, entities and movements engaged in concrete actions, from the local to the international level, for the construction of another Africa and another world. It shall therefore not establish itself as a governing body for participants during its meetings, nor shall it claim to be the only mode of articulation and action for entities and movements that participate in it.

10. As a meeting space, the Forum is open to pluralism and the diverse commitments and actions of participating entities and movements, such as gender, racial, ethnic and cultural diversity .

11. The African Social Forum believes in the power of democracy as the preferred channel for conflict renegotiation and resolution within societies and between States. Participants to the Forum shall undertake to strengthen participation and citizen control.

12. The African Social Forum shall reject any form of totalitarian and reductionist vision of history and the use of violence by States or any other social or political force. It shall put forward the respect of Human Rights, equitable, interdependent and peaceful relations among peoples, sexes and races, and condemn all forms of domination as well as the subjugation of one human being by another.

13. Meetings of the African Social Forum shall always constitute open spaces for all those desiring to participate in them, with the exception of organisations known to have made an attempt on peoples’ lives as a method of political action.

14. As a space for debate, the African Social Forum is a movement of ideas which stimulates reflection and the maximum transparent circulation of the results of this reflection , on mechanisms and tools of economic domination, means and actions to resist this domination, and on the alternatives that can be proposed to resolve the problems of exclusion and inequality which the current globalisation process has strengthened and aggravated both at continental level and in each African country.

15. As a space for the exchange of experiences, the African Social Forum shall stimulate the knowledge and mutual recognition of participating entities and movements, by specifically enhancing the value of what African societies themselves build in order to streamline economic activity and political action on human needs and the respect of the environment.

16. As a space of articulation, the African Social Forum shall seek to strengthen and create new national and international linkages between entities and civil society movements. The capacity to resist the economic and cultural impoverishment and dehumanisation process, within the continent and the globe, is emerging.

17. The African Social Forum is a process that stimulates entities and movements which contribute in defining their actions in the perspective of the creation of an African and global citizen, introducing, in the continental and global agenda, transforming practices which they experiment in order to build another society, another Africa and another world..

18. The African Social Forum is a process connected to other world processes aimed at building another world on the basis of the principles and values that we are adopting today. It is an integral part of the movement created by the World Social Forum. It shall seek to strengthen the solidarity between the movements and the entities working in Africa and those in other parts of the world.