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16th conference of World Social Forum kicks off

Kathmandu, Feb 15: The 16th conference of the World Social Forum has commenced in Kathmandu from today.

The four-day WSF 2024 under the banner of “Another World is Possible” aims to open horizontal exchange among civil society organisations, social movements, trade unions and individuals opposing neoliberal globalization.

This is the first time the WSF is being held. A march-past was organized from Bhrikutimandap, the venue of the conference. The event opened with a Solidarity March starting from the main venue, Bhrikutimandap and passing through Bhadrakali, New Road Gate, Ratna Park and back to Bhrikutimandap.

The participants of the march carried banners and placards with slogans in support of justice, peace, equality and end to discriminations written on them.

Various national and international organisations related to different sectors and rights expressed their solidarity in the march.

The organisers said some 40 thousand people from 92 countries will participate in the WSF. Dr Netra Timilsina, a member of the organising committee, said so far the participation of ILO Asia Pacific Region General Secretary Shoya Yoshida, human rights campaigner and activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar, Latin American social activist Aleda Guevera, among the speakers, has been confirmed so far.

The Forum began in 2001 as an alternative to the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. It was first held in Porto Alegre, Brazil with its roots emerging out of the Global South such as the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

The Forum serves as a vital platform for open and horizontal exchange among civil society organisations, social movement, trade unions and individuals opposing neoliberal globalization. This edition of the WSF will focus on a myriad of pressing issues including economic inequality, climate justice, labour, migration, caste discrimination, gender equality, peace, sustainable development and many others, to engage in dialogue and actions that challenge neoliberal globalization and promote a more equitable, sustainable, and just world.

Since its inception in 2001, the WSF has been a beacon for social movements, union and activists to come together, share experiences, and build strategies for change. The Kathmandu Forum represents a significant milestone, showcasing the resilience and diversity of global solidarity movements. It offers a unique platform for discussing solutions to many pressing global issues such as economic inequality, climate change, social justice and the rights of indigenous peoples.

More than 1252 organizations from 92 countries are expected to take part in person and virtually in the five-day Forum that will feature thematic panels, self-organized activities, cultural programmes, and opportunities for networking and collaborative action.

As the world faces unprecedented challenges, the WSF 2024 aims to foster discussions, share experiences, and formulate strategies for a more equitable and sustainable future, according to a press release issued by the Forum Nepal Organising Committee.

The opening ceremony is followed by a panel discussion featuring international speakers on various themes and subjects.

A series of thematic panels, assemblies and activities on 13 different themes including among others economic inequality and the global financial system, gender equality and women’s rights, labour rights and migration, peace, justice and human rights are being held under the Forum to conclude on February 19.

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