World Social Forum WSF 2007, Kenya

The official organisation program.

The 7th World Social Forum (WSF) will be held from 20 until 25 January 2007 at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani, Nairobi and is expected to host up to 150,000 delegates from all over the world. Over 1,000 activities will take place in the 106 spaces provided at the venue. (See all on Social Rights Bulgaria, Networking Bulgarian NGOs online).

With the theme “People’s struggles, people’s alternatives”, this year’s WSF takes place in Africa for the first time, in Nairobi, Kenya, between 20 and 25 January 2007. (Ecumenical Coalition to Participate in 7th World Social Forum).

Unified Palestinian Delegation to the 2007 World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya.

GLOBAL: World Social Forum descends on Kenya.

Indymedia radio support for WSF 2007 from Kenya. This project has taken off, with your help it will get a lot bigger:

Turn on, Tune in, speak out. Several IMC members are traveling to Narobi, Kenya this month to support an Indymedia convergence during the seventh annual World Social Forum which runs January 20-25th.

Media activists from Africa and around the world will be reporting in the World Social Forum, providing hands-on media production workshops, building two low-power radio stations in Kenya, and creating dialogue and cooperative production across borders. (More on above link).

World Social Forum Descends On Kenya, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, January 16, 2007, Posted to the web January 17, 2007:
Nairobi – Tens of thousands of people from around the world will converge on the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, this week for the World Social Forum (WSF).

Themes for the seventh WSF, on 20-25 January, have been pegged to the motto, ‘People’s struggles, people’s alternatives – Another world is possible’. Topics to be addressed include HIV/AIDS, gender, privatisation, landlessness, peace and conflict, migration and diaspora, youth issues, debt relief, free trade agreements, labour and housing.

“The World Social Forum is a manifestation of the spirit of the people who have refused to die, people who have refused to be excluded [from participating in the global economy],” said Wahu Kahara, a Kenyan activist and one of the organisers.

The forum styles itself as an open gathering where ordinary people, groups and movements opposed to the forces of capitalism can reflect and exchange ideas to further social equity.

“The World Social Forum is not a conference but a space where issues at the centre of concern find graphic presentation,” said Oduor Ong’wen, one of the civil society organisers. He said there would be hundreds of activities, including open debating sessions, seminars, workshops, processions, cultural presentations and screening of documentaries.

The forum is also intended to counter the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders from business, politics, academia, the media and civil society discuss how to improve the world economy. Since the poor majority have virtually no voice at Davos, according to the WSF, their concerns are not taken into consideration when global economic and social policies are formulated. The WEF will take place from 24-28 January.

Commenting on the significance of hosting the WSF 2007 in Kenya, Ong’wen said some of the forum’s principal concerns applied to the region, such as unequal distribution of resources, environmental degradation and conflict. The region also has a history of individuals and groups of people struggling against injustice and environmental degradation, he said.

The holding of the WSF in Nairobi is being seen in Kenya as a major boost for local tourism, but the presence of between 80,000 and 120,000 visitors will put pressure on the city’s infrastructure. According to Ong’wen, Nairobi’s hotels can only accommodate 42,000 people. Alternative accommodation such as tented camps and hostels will hold another 37,000 guests. Private home-owners were also offering accommodation at a fee, and enterprising Kenyans are still expanding facilities at tented camp-sites on the outskirts of Nairobi.

The opening ceremony will be held at Uhuru Park in central Nairobi on 20 January. Most of the other activities will take place at the Kasarani Sports Stadium, about 10km east of the city centre.

Towfique ben Abdallah, a social activist from Tunisia, challenged governments in developing countries to respond to the wishes of the people and adopt policies that improved their welfare. “Governments in Europe and the US listen to their citizens. When they take to the streets they are heard. Why not us? We want to see a different situation politically after this forum,” he said.

The WSF was conceived by a committee of Brazilian organisations which held the first meeting in Porto Alegre in January 2001.

The seed for the protest that characterises the forum had been planted in 1998 when a proposal was made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which was intended to remove barriers to investment by corporations. The proposed agreement would have required that foreign investors be treated the same as domestic investors.

Critics said the proposals would threaten nearly every public sector of national economies, including healthcare, education and culture. (Read the rest on all Africa.com).

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