The city of Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, in Brazil, will host the 4th Pan-Amazon Social Forum (FSPA) from January 18 to 22. The FSPA is an offshoot of the World Social Forum and seeks to integrate social programs in Amazon region countries.
These countries include Brazil, Bolivia, Peru. Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. This year’s forum will focus on what many participants are calling “another possible Amazon,” with emphasis on finding ways to preserve regional biological, political, social and cultural diversity.
“The FSPA is a place for participatory interaction and exchange regarding issues of public policy and infrastructure. Among those issues is sustainable extractive activities as part of family farming in the Amazon,” explains Fabio Abdala, the executive secretary of the Amazon Work Group (GTA).
Abdala says that by confronting social issues Brazil takes a market position that is competitive without reducing its solidarity.
The main theme of this year’s FSPA is “Diversity, Sovereignty and Peace,” as an expression of the Amazon region inhabitant’s struggle to preserve their resources, biodiversity and unique culture.
“We see the diversity in the Amazon region countries as a natural resource: our biodiversity and various cultural heritages need to be protected.
“We seek to protect our sovereignty through social movement activities. As for peace, at least in the Brazilian Amazon region, it prevails. Unlike urban centers such as Rio de Janeiro,” explained José Rocha, a Amazon regional union leader and coordinator of the forum.
Rocha adds that a quest is underway to find alternatives to neoliberal politics, economics and culture.
“We face the challenge of finding different ways to do things. Ways that are different from those being imposed on the Americas by the government of the United States and American multinational corporations,” he declared.
Translation: Allen Bennett