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West African Social Forum in the South!

sexta-feira 22 de julho de 2016, por ,

The meeting in Conakry allowed African social movements to regrets that the holding of the Forum editions in the North disadvantage the participation of the south countries organizations

After the decision last year by the International Council of the World Social Forum to, for the first time, organise a world edition of the WSF process in the North [coming up in Montréal, on unceded Mohawk territory on Turtle Island, next month], and for reasons that were never made clear – nothing less than a demand from somewhere in the South that ‘the WSF return to the South’… And with a strongly worded critique and denunciation of the social and political consequences of organising the WSF in the North – in short, the exclusion of movements from the South -, and also of the lack of response and support by the organisers of the Montréal Forum…

We, women, men, youths, students, peasants, traders, researchers, migrants, social activists, citizens of the West African space , mobilized from 13th to 16th July in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, we adopt this statement on the occasion of the 5th edition of the West African Social Forum which focused on the theme "After more than two decades of globalization: What challenges for the governance in a context of political crises, socioeconomic and safe and what answers for the African social movement? "
Participants, who came from Mali, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire and the different regions of Guinea, welcome the stimulus dynamic of West African’s and African’s social movements within the social forum which is underway since almost a year.

This revival and dynamic reorganization was facilitated by the mobilization of social actors in the subregion during the meetings of consultations and discussions held in September 2015 in Dakar, Senegal and whose this West African Social Forum is the culmination.
In this difficult geopolitical environment marked by many challenges facing the continent, on the bottom of multifaceted crises (security, migration, energy, economic, climatic, environmental, political and food), West Africans social movements could not remain indifferent given the stakes.

Faced with the global crisis of the capitalist system and the bankruptcy of the neoliberal mode of governance dictated by multinational corporations and Western powers, seeking to reclaim our continent, the resistors are organized all over the world for the advent of sustainable alternatives, which respect human rights, equity, social justice and equal opportunities. Africa has become the continent’s most coveted by economic and financial powers who rely ensure their profits now and in the future by grabbing the continent’s resources.

By unfair trade agreements such as the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements), which the EU wants to impose on countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific, and the imposition at the head of our countries of leaders who cooperate with the financial and international political system, neoliberalism continues to spread its tentacles in Africa at the expense of its people.
This new neoliberal breakthrough is made possible by armed conflict and terrorist sponsored violence on the continent by the powers that profit from the instability of countries to maximize their profits and their grip on our natural resources. The African people private of their rights to work, to food, to housing, freedom of movement, to free choice of their leaders; and in view of climatic disasters and wars that multiply on the continent, have no option but to take the road to exile with the risk of dying in the deserts or seas. The losses are enormous with repetitive wrecking of migrant’s boats. The awareness of this situation could only lead to a re-mobilization of progressive forces and social movements on the continent.

Regretting the situation of lethargy that knows the African Social Forum Council, the various social organizations and social movements on the continent have committed to participate in the revival of the social dynamics so that the African Social Forum returns to its place in the International Council, which will only enhance the space of the World Social Forum.

Thus, the Guinean Social Movement, proud of its historic role as a pioneer in the emancipation movements on the continent, has kindly agreed to host his colleagues in the subregion to reflect on the current challenges that plague the continent.

The success of Conakry’s forum is proof that the African social movement can count on the sons and daughters of the continent to make that historic struggle which began decades ago for the total liberation of Africa from the domination of international system, a reality.

The work of the 5th edition of the West African Social Forum have made a number of recommendations including:

- The need for different CSO platforms of West Africa to build a synergy of action and cooperation on major emerging topics of global geopolitical context of which include: migration, terrorism, management of natural resources and land grabbing;

- Strengthening solidarity between social organizations and citizens of the subregion to face the political and social instability resulting constitutional amendments and the lack of dialogue between political actors;

- The creation and promotion of permanent framework for the exchange between civil society, government and development partners;

- Strengthening of institutional, material and financial supports of the Governments to the dynamics of social fora at national, sub regional and regional levels, this is because the social forum is the largest open space for dialogue and credible alternatives and proposals lasting between social actors on the one hand and on the other between players in the economic and politic;

- Boosting social fora at national and regional level to which, the meeting of Conakry is a starting point;

- The need for organizations of Guinean civil society to create and strengthen frameworks for dialogue and collaborative actions in a structured frame, for more efficiency in their commitment to the promotion of human rights and social justice;

- The inclusive review, foundations, own principles and values of civil society that should be disseminated at all levels;

At the end of Conakry forum, which was a success by the strong mobilization of actors and its thematic content, despite the time and the conditions in which this 5th edition was organized, the various delegations thanked all the people of Guinea, the organizing Committee carried by the CNOSCG, CECIDE, BALAI CITOYEN, THE GURG, THE WOMEN PLATFORMS and CSO, with the support of the Guinean government, and all the partners who contributed to the organization of the African meeting: OSIWA, EUROPEAN UNION, ECES, UNDP, UNICEF, PARTENERS WEST AFRICA and the NED, ACTION AID SENEGAL.

A few weeks before the World Social Forum in Montreal from 9 to 14 August 2016, the West African social movement on behalf of the African social movement, cantor of current resistors on the martyr continent of Africa, however, sees excluded from the dynamics of the global resistance to neoliberalism. Because the difficulties of access to the Canadian visa, the high cost of air tickets to Montreal and lack of communication with African social movements have made uncertain the participation of Southern social movements at the World Social Forum 2016.

The show of solidarity expected of the organizing committee in Canada and the International Council as was often the case through the Solidarity Fund under the previous world social fora to facilitate mass participation of southern social movements, however, remained unanswered.

The meeting in Conakry allowed African social movements to address this situation and regret that the holding of the Forum editions in the North disadvantage the participation of the south countries organizations. To this end, the Conakry meeting reaffirmed that Africa will organize the next edition of the African Social Forum in Abidjan in November 2016, so this edition will be an opportunity to restore the work of the Montreal Forum by some delegates who will participate and move forward on reviving African dynamics around the forum.

In conclusion, participants in the Conakry’s forum, on behalf and account of the whole African social movement denounced the holding of the World Social Forum in a space that does not allow effective participation of activists and actors in the South in general and Africa in particular.

Thus, it calls for a return of the World Social Forum in the South to facilitate the mobilization of the biggest victims of neoliberal globalization that are the martyrs people of the South and Africa, who bear the brunt of neoliberal policies.

In terms of the African agenda, the Forum of Conakry, held that the next two editions of the West African Social Forum will take place successively in Lome, Togo, in 2017 and Niamey in Niger in 2018, and is committed to present an African bid to host the next edition of the 2018 World Social Forum, saying the candidacy of Senegal.

Long live to the West African Social Forum!
Long live to the African Social Forum!
United that remains alive and solidary the World Social Forum.