World Social Forum Begins in Abuja

Leadership (Abuja)

31 March 2008

By Samuel Peter Aruwan Abuja

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A four-day council meeting of the International Council (IC) of the World Social Forum(WSF)would begin today in Abuja, with over 120 delegates across the world taking part in the meeting.

The agenda will focus on efforts towards moving the forum forward and deliberation on strategies of deepening the work of the forum and struggle for justice and social change.

In a press conference in Kaduna, the north-west coordinator of Nigerian Social Forum, Adejor Abel noted that the world social forum is a gathering of activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces against all forms of globalisation and neo-liberalism. He added that it is a space that debate ideas democratically and proffer alternatives to the current global power structure and systems based on neo-liberal policies that gives undue advantage to developed countries at the expense of the third world countries.

He disclosed that Nigeria social forum is a mirror of the World Social Forum and its goal is to consolidate and localise the success of the World Social Forum, by facilitating the emergence of grassroots based movements.

It would also strengthen national coalitions, re-engineer civil society organisations to create alternative strategies for development in Nigeria as a mechanism for accelerating progress towards achieving human centered and people- driven development that revolves around, providing spaces for the exchange of ideas, information, experiences and for mutual guidance among various components of the forum in the country.

On the opportunities local organisations stand to gain out of the Abuja meeting, Adejo said, "the WSF IC meeting presents a number of opportunities that would avail Nigerian groups to link up with key actors in the worldwide struggle for change; and network with organisations across the world who are promoting pro-poor development paradigms, re-launch and strengthen the local forum as well as play roles beyond the national process; and critically engage the forum process".

He further maintained, that given the strategic importance of the meeting and the opportunity of having hundreds of members from the global south and north assembly in Nigeria, the media should be in the forefront of facilitating the understanding of Nigerians of the global movement for change.

He concluded that the momentum the Abuja meeting would generate would be a catalyst for resuscitating the debate about the Nigerian question, galvanise the voices of movements across the country and build bridges across the various strands of the social movements with their counterparts across the world.

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