Solidarité internationale et luttes sociales en Afrique subsaharienne
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Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign :
Panos Southern Africa (PSAf) :
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Southern African Regional Poverty Network :
Media Institute of Southern Africa :
People’s Solidarity Against Poverty and Oppression
Third edition of the Southern African Social Forum
1 October 2006
Malawi will be hosting the 3rd edition of the Southern Africa Social Forum 2006 in Lilongwe, Malawi from 13-15 October 2006.This year’s SASF is expected to bring together thousands of participants from community-based groups, social movements and civil society organizations from SADC under the theme, ’People’s Solidarity against Poverty and Oppression’.
The Southern African Social Forum (SASF) is a continuation of the Africa Social Forum, (ASF) that takes place annually, since Bamako (2002), as a prelude to the World Social Forum (WSF) that was initiated in Port Alegre (Brazil) in 2001. The latter is an annual event that is deliberately organized to coincide with the World Economic Forum (Davos). The timing is meant to signify civil society opposition voices to the high-level one-sided pro globalization and neo liberalism deliberations between the world leaders and international financial institutions.
Following the Bamako Forum and the Addis Ababa Forum, a process of consultations have taken place around Africa to find a way of effectively exposing the current social, political and economic injustices for better government and state action. A forum creates a platform for various interest groups of civil society to discuss issues together pertaining to social, political and economic justice. In addition, a forum increases solidarity in the sub-region and Africa as a whole before going to the global social forum, in this case in preparation for the next World Social Forum to be held in Africa in 2007.
The need to host a Southern African Social Forum (SASF) arose from the second African Social Forum held in Addis Ababa, 5-9 January 2003. Participants resolved to establish sub-regional forums as a way of getting diverse views on Africa’s socio-economic and political issues from a wider constituency prior to Africa Social Forum (ASF) and World Social Forum (WSF). Each sub -region was designated to form its own Steering Committee of at least five persons. Six persons that represented mass movements in their constituencies were selected as members of the Southern Africa Regional Steering Committee (SARSC).
The Malawi Social Forum (MSF) concept was brought by the people that attended the World Social Forum (WSF) which was conceived as an international forum against neo-liberal policies and capitalist led globalization. The first World Social Forum (WSF) was initiated in Porto Alegre Brazil in 2001. The World Social Forum is now an annual event that is deliberately organized to coincide with the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is a gathering of rich nations and powerful corporations from the North who makes key decisions on global policies. The timing of the World Social Forum is meant to signify civil society voices opposing the high level profit motivated deliberations at the expense of poor countries and their citizens.
Thus the Malawi Social Forum (MSF) emerged out of a need to combine efforts at national level in order for the country to be represented meaningfully and audibly at the World, Continental and Sub Regional Social Forums. Malawi Social Forum intends to open debate, inform the general public and conceive a plan of action on critical factors to poverty reduction/
The Malawi civil society held a successful Malawi Social Forum (MSF) from 19 - 21 October 2004, under the theme of “Another Malawi is Possible and A Better Malawi is my Right”.
Malawi Social Forum (MSF) operates on the following mission statement:
“Malawi Social Forum exists to serve as a civil society platform to pursue and advocate for a self-determining Malawi, defined by political and economic nationalism through dialogue generation of alternatives, exchange of experiences and rejection of domination by capitalism, neo-liberalism, and imperialism”.
Malawi Social Forum has had a chance to participate in different social forums at global, regional and sub - regional levels. It is after this experience that Malawi Social Forum accepted to take up a challenge to host the 3rd edition of the Southern Africa Social Forum.
2.0 Key Components of The Southern African Social Forum
As African people with similar problems, the 2nd edition of the Southern African Social Forum [SASF] will provide space for advocacy for a better quality of life and development for all. The Forum will more specifically:
i) Provide the sub-region a platform for social activists to strengthen popular democracy and mobilization.
ii) Critically challenge the status quo of abject poverty, gender inequality and discrimination, high level corruption, social insecurity, unconstitutional governance, HIV & AIDS pandemic, etc.
iii) Build a sub regional solidarity network around issues of social, political and economical justice.
iv) Create a loose coalition that will guarantee effective participation in the future Southern African Social Forum [SASF], the African Social Forum [ASF] and the World Social Forum [WSF].
2.1 What are the Issues?
Solidarity to fight Poverty and Oppression
3.0 Justification Of SASF 2006
The ZSF has been nominated as host of the Southern African Social Forum (SASF) 2006 in October this year. This in itself is a good opportunity for Malawi to continue building solidarity beyond our borders as the struggle against poverty in its entirety continues. It is also hoped that the SASF will facilitate active participation for countries from the SADC region at the World Social Forum scheduled for January 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya. There will be no Africa Social Forum this year and the preparations for the World Social Forum will be done at regional level working hand in hand with the Africa Social Forum Council.
3.1 State of preparedness inline with the upcoming SASF event
Malawi Social Forum (MSF) - Host
The Malawi Social Forum National Council agreed that instead of having a national event, MSF should hold thematic regional social forums in the three regions of Malawi. It is hoped that through the organizing of thematic social forums in various parts of the country, social movements and other NGOs will enhance their participation in the Social Forum activities. It was also noted that if we hold regional social forums we will cut on cost. However it was stressed that the people in the regions should set their own agenda according to their priority issues with a guideline from the National Council to assist the people in setting the agenda. It if stressed that social forum activities should be guided by Malawi Social Forum mission statement which reads. “Malawi Social Forum exists to serve as a civil society platform to pursue and advocate for a self-determining Malawi, defined by political and economic nationalism through dialogue generation of alternatives, exchange of experiences and rejection of domination by capitalism, neo-liberalism, and imperialism”.
The following are the main objectives for holding regional social forums;
To mobilize members (Grassroots)
The Malawi Social Forum National Council also agreed to form thematic working commissions to link people working on the same issues, and ensure that their issues are presented in a coordinated manner.
Other countries in the region are making the same efforts especially Zimbabwe Social Forum. However other countries like Mozambique, South Africa are still striving to make their national forums effective. Apart from having active social movements, Civil Society organizations and NGO
The Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF)
The intention is to get diverse views on Africa’s socio-economic and political issues from a wider constituency prior to the Africa and World Social Forums and to ensure that the issues are presented in a more co-coordinated manner during the World Social Forum.
The 3rd edition of the Southern African Social Forum will be hosted by Malawi Social Forum in Lilongwe, Malawi, 13 - 15 October 2006 under the theme “peoples solidarity against poverty and oppression”; it is hoped that the SASF will consolidate the on-going solidarity building beyond borders for the Malawi Social Forum. It is also hoped that the SASF will facilitate active participation for countries from the SADC region at the World Social Forum scheduled for January 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya. There will be no Africa Social Forum this year and the preparations for the World Social Forum will be done at regional level working hand in hand with the Africa Social Forum Council.
World Social Forum (WSF)
The World Social Forum is now an annual event that is deliberately organized to coincide with the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is a gathering of rich nations and powerful corporations from the North who makes key decisions on global policies. The timing of the World Social Forum is meant to signify civil society voices opposing the high level profit motivated deliberations at the expense of poor countries and their citizens.
The WSF 2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. It is hoped that Nairobi will be the meeting point of global civil society; the social forum will provide an opportunity for African activists and civil society organisations to put on the agenda, global solidarity towards Africa’s development and increase opposition to imperialist Neoliberalism.
It is expected that the participation of African civil society will be higher compared to previous forums which have been held in South America and once in Asia. This increase in participation is expected to be caused by the reduction of travel expenses for African groups traveling to the event in Nairobi.
Symbolically, Africa is hosting this event to bring a wide range of issues of development closer to the continent for the benefit of showing the world the true representation of issues being discussed.
4.0 The SASF Event 2006
The event will be modelled along the WSF approach. The workshops, seminars and conferences will take place along autonomous activities. The Consultation Theme for SASF 2006 will be: People’s Solidarity against Poverty and Oppression.
The collective seminars, workshops will focus on the following sub themes:
1. Poverty eradication
4.1 Logistics SASF 2006
This activity will be the focus for the SASF secretariat, as there will be intense preparations, the venue for the event will be CIVO Stadium. Information on types accommodation Rates will be made available. Availability of cheap food stalls will also be put in place by the host committee. Indigenous caterers have been engaged to provide services during the forum. The secretariat will ensure that spaces for exhibitions and sales (of organizational material) will be put in place. SASF will be open to the use of vernacular languages hence translators will be available during the forum. Cheap inner-city transport between the forum venue and the places of accommodation will be available.
4.2 Self -organized or autonomous activities
As usual, participating entities have the responsibility of organizing and defining the content of seminars, workshops and panels that fall under their responsibility. These activities will provide concerned organizations and movements with the possibility to express themselves thoroughly and facilitate a more systematic work on alternatives.
4.3 Information, Education and Communication Materials
For the SASF event to be a success there is need to make the concept known by both the local people and SADC citizens, hence the need to place adverts in both electronic and print media. This entails the publication of SASF daily newsletter that will be run during the event. The concept paper will be published in two languages i.e. English and Chichewa.
5.0 Expected Outcomes
The Southern African Social Forum [SASF] would be creative in order to achieve the envisaged progressive outcomes, such as:
i) A functional and operational long term Regional Steering Committee;
Malawi will be hosting the 3rd edition of the Southern Africa Social Forum 2006 in Lilongwe, Malawi from 13-15 October 2006.
This year’s SASF is expected to bring together thousands of participants from community-based groups, social movements and civil society organizations from SADC under the theme, ‘People’s Solidarity against Poverty and Oppression’.
The Southern Africa Social Forum is a prelude to the African Social Forum (ASF) and World Social Forum (WSF) that take place annually. The first Southern African Social Forum was successfully held in November 2003 in Lusaka, Zambia and the 2nd edition was hosted by Zimbabwe in Harare from 13 - 15 October 2005.
The Social Forum is not an organization, not a united front platform, but "... an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centered on the human person". (From the WSF Charter of Principles).
Your participation and contribution
Malawi Social Forum (MSF) is pleased to invite you to apply for participation in this landmark event.
We envision your participation and involvement in the following ways 1) Pay your travel costs to and from Lilongwe and accommodation costs. 2) Make the three day event stimulating by bringing in your experience, enthusiasm and commitment.
MSF will in addition take responsibility for 1) coordination and administrative costs related to planning the event 2) Report writing and distribution
It is our sincere hope that you will plan to attend the Social Forum in October. In the mean time you can help MSF Secretariat in its planning in a concrete way by completing and returning the attached form either by fax or email.
E-mail or phone the Malawi Social Forum Secretariat at Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) on telephone numbers t265-1-750 533 Fax +265 1 750 098 - Cell 265 8 222 035
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