As thousands of activists prepare for the two World Social Forum (WSF) events to be held in Mali and Venezuela in January, there are those both within and outside the WSF process that are asking, What global solutions is the WSF generating? writes by Kumi Naidoo, Secretary-General of Civicus: World Alliance For Citizen Participation. In this article, Naidoo writes that while it would be mistaken to straitjacket all WSF delegates into an artificially-constructed consensus on policy positions, it is important that the Forum correct the myth that there are no major policy directions that most WSF delegates share and advocate -- both within and outside of the WSF. For example, on the question of the debt crisis facing many countries in the South, there is already a broad consensus on a fairly clear set of recommendations. Given that one of the driving motivations of the WSF was to serve as a counterpoint for the World Economic Forum, it is important that in the battle of ideas, vision, and perspectives on what world we want to create for future generations, the WSF serves as an enabling space which can present alternatives that reach the hearts and minds of people who are not yet actively involved in the commendable efforts to ensure global justice.
As the campaign against global poverty gathers steam in the run-up to the G-8 summit, the pressure on leaders is mounting to increase the measly amounts they currently give in aid to the poorest countries, writes Kumi Naidoo, Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Along with cancelling debt and reforming unfair trade rules, an immediate increase of USD 50 billion in aid from the richest countries is a pivotal demand of campaigners worldwide, the author writes in this article. Ending global poverty, the kind of poverty that kills one child every three seconds, is not a distant dream but a practical, achievable objective, an economic essential, and a moral imperative. The eight men that will meet July 6-8 in Gleneagles know that by making a small change to the policies of the richest countries in the world, they can play their part in halting the 50,000 deaths from poverty every day. Millions of people in the world\'s largest anti-poverty campaign, The Global Call to Action against Poverty, are demanding pro-poor policies from governments that are transparent and accountable to citizens. They are all calling for justice, not charity and marching on their capitals, all wearing white bands, they are a visible demonstration of the power of people to unite, across borders, around a simple ask: take action to stop poverty.
As the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum convene in Davos and Porto Alegre, respectively, there is the sense that deep forces we can barely discern are reshaping the world and that the national and global institutions we have always counted are inadequate, write Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and Pamela Hartigan, Managing Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Yet we are optimists, the authors write: for the past four years we have worked closely with the world\'s leading social entrepreneurs whose inspired pragmatism banishes pessimism. While we cannot reformulate our institutional systems overnight, we are convinced that we can do it in the long run because we witness the current work of social entrepreneurs who are now creating different types of institutions that combine public and private sector approaches to achieve economic and social transformation. Governments and aid agencies no longer can be the sole actors in addressing injustice and inequity. The private sector can no longer see itself as simply in the business of making business. And the philanthropic sector cannot be expected to fill in the gaps. We need a hybrid organisation that does all of these things. This column is a part of the special series on \"Globalisation & Human Rights\", a joint effort of Dignity International (http://www.dignityinternational.org) and the IPS Columnist Service.