Brazil Wants World Social Forum to Deal With Environment and Poverty

At the 6th World Social Forum’s Latin American session, to start next week in Caracas, Venezuela, the objective of the Brazilian government will be to expand the debate on environment protection, land reform and combating hunger and misery.

According to Luiz Dulci, the secretary general of the Presidency, those issues are Brasí­lia’s priorities.

‘We are going to participate in a spirit of contributing to the social movement and try to learn from the other participants," said Dulci. He called the decision to split the forum into three separate sessions on three different continents an attempt to make it more participatory and democratic.

The 6th WSF began in Bamako, Mali, in January 19 and will go until January 23; it then moves to Caracas, Venezuela, from January 24 to 29; the third and final session will take place in Karachi, Pakistan, in March.

Brazil will send representatives to all the sessions. In Mali, the head of the Special Secretariat for Racial Equality, Matilde Ribeiro, is participating.

In Venezuela, the representation will be greater: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be present (he has attended four of the past five forums), along with the ministers of Environment, Marina Silva, and Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto.

According to the secretary general of the Presidency, Luiz Dulci, Brazil’s position with regard to the Caracas meeting is that it is an important step in the integration of South America in that the forum goes beyond international commerce and will bring together civil society organizations.

Dulci said that without integrating civil society there can be no solid integration. "It is important to strengthen commerce and infrastructure, but we also need a unification of worker unions, environmental activists and Indian movements," he pointed,

The Brazilian official then added that much progress has been made over the last three years in the area of economic integration, but that from a social point of view a lot remains to be done.

Water Excluded

The 6th World Social Forum is expected to mark the emergence of a new cause. In its American edition, which begins next week in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, the Forum will be the launching pad of a campaign to prevent the privatization of water supplies.

"We plan to initiate a continental mobilization to remove water from all trade agreements," says Pablo Sólon, director of the Sólon Foundation, a civil society organization responsible for the mobilization that produced the law reversing the privatization of petroleum and gas in Bolivia.

According to the Bolivian activist, various Latin American movements have decided to oppose the inclusion of water-related clauses in Free Trade Agreements like the one signed between Chile and the United States.

"We also want water supplies to be eliminated from the negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO)," Sólon remarked.

Sólon argues that, by determining that countries cannot impose barriers against private investments in the sector, these agreements attempt to turn water into a product like any other. In his view, this commercial logic runs counter to the idea that water is a universal right to be guaranteed by the State.

The Forum represents the chief gathering of civil society to discuss the struggle for the democratization of politics and the economy.

The 6th World Society Forum introduces an innovation in that it will take place on three different continents. In the previous versions, the Forum was held four times in Porto Alegre (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005) and once in Mumbai (2004), the Indian city once known as Bombay.

The Forum in Caracas will run from January 24 to 29. The African version, in Bamako, capital of Mali, is taking place several days earlier. The Asian version will be held in Karachi, capital of Pakistan a few months later.

Agência Brasil

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