Solidarité internationale et luttes sociales en Afrique subsaharienne
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Key Resolutions from the 11-12 June, 2005 Harare, Zimbabwe African Social Forum Council meeting
28 July 2005
Members of the African Social Forum Council meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe on June 11-12 reaffirmed the Las Palmas proposals on holding the December 2005 Annual Forum in Guinea. After a careful review of the WSF processes and proposals for decentralized continental Social Forums in 2006, the Council resolved to hold the Africa meeting in Bamako, Mali. For the year 2007 World Social Forum, it was resolved the meeting will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya.
The meeting further committed itself to support proposals that will emerge from Morocco on the possibility of organizing another Forum in response to the International Council call for proposals to expand the World Social Forum.
The role of Sub-regional social forums was reaffirmed as a critical foundation for promoting processes that are informed by popular mobilization practices involving a critical mass. It was acknowledged that as endorsed in Las Palmas, regional social forums will be held in all regions of ASF constituencies identified in Addis Ababa.
It was also noted that Observers could participate in Council meetings as long as they are informed of all procedural matters in order to avoid a situation where issues cannot be resolved because some of them might not have the institutional memory enabling them to appreciate how the Social Forum process evolved and has been institutionalized in Africa. Where decisions have to be made, it is the participating Council members who will have a decisive voice in determining the outcome.
Observers present were drawn from Mauritius, Kenya, All Africa Council of Churches, the Southern Africa Peoples Solidarity Network, Action Aid, Oxfam and National organizing committee members of the Zimbabwe Social Forum national organizing committee.
SAPSN, ACDIC and AACC presented their credentials and applied for ASF Council membership.
In the course of the two days, the meeting extensively used recommendations developed in Working Groups to table proposals on strengthening the social forum processes in Africa. This was designed to promote the principle of using Commissions that were recommended in Cairo.
Key areas covered in Working Groups and decisions adopted by Council
Recognizing the pioneering role Enda played in supporting the institutionalization of the ASF, the Harare meeting recommended that:
The ASF Secretariat be stationed in Senegal and underlined the need for the institution to develop its own identity and maintain its autonomy.
On Governance matters in the Secretariat, it was agreed that
Full time personnel are hired as part of the process to strengthen ASF. Concrete strategies and suggestions for this to take place should be put in place in the next three months.
The Working groups reiterated that the Secretariat is there to service the Forum and implement decisions and proposals made by the ASF Council members. In this regard, its expected roles and responsibilities were spelt out. Transparency in decision-making processes was repeatedly emphasized as an important ingredient in enhancing accountability.
Action to be taken:
Secretariat staff in Senegal to be expanded to at least four people
For 2005, 2006 and 2007 processes, all host countries should develop Local Organizing Committees that will be able to accommodate at an appropriate time the full-fledged Secretariats needed to run processes for Guinea, the polycentric Forum in WSF 2006 and most importantly the WSF in 2007.
As part of monitoring progress at the Secretariat, the Harare meeting endorsed the principle of nominating a task-oriented Coordinating Committee that will be constituted in a manner that will reflect ASF diversity in terms of Gender, regional representation, thematic areas and take on board previously under-represented groups like youths. It was noted the nominations should be completed before the end of June. Its members should not exceed ten.
Tentative nominations were suggested on the following guidelines:
Although no binding decisions were made on the forthcoming International Council meeting, it was agreed that all entities who have capacity to go there should be encouraged to do so because the African voices should be heard in all available spaces. This will demonstrate the continent s state of preparedness on the unfolding debates and events envisaged by the WSF.
The Secretariat requested meeting to consider the convening of a Council meeting during 6 -14 September in Italy where the peace movement will be organizing activities to coincide with the global campaign against poverty and targeting the UN Millennium Summit. Council members endorsed the proposal after considering views from those who opposed proposal arguing that meetings for Africa should be organized in the continent.
The Secretariat noted that this was a practical demonstration of solidarity by entities in Europe as was the case with the Las Palmas Association for Globalization studies who invited the ASF Council in March 2005. The same process had been promoted by entities in Asia who invited the ASF to be present in their strategy meeting for 2006 and preparations for the Hong Kong WTO ministerial where the ASF Council was represented by at least three members. Positive reports were presented during the Harare meeting in respect of the latter process.
The Harare meeting further reaffirmed the Las Palmas proposals to strengthen in practice solidarity with Afro-Brazilians, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Working groups used for Harare meeting
Independent resolutions passed by entities participating in the Council meeting targeted the social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe; political developments in Ethiopia and finally, relations between the governing authorities in Morocco and entities building the Moroccan Social Forum.
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