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Amazon region’s candidature to host the World Social Forum 2009

Tuesday 29 May 2007

We, social movements and non-governmental organizations from the Amazon region, have come to this Council to request the Amazon region’s candidature to host the 2009 edition of the WSF to be considered.
The candidature is proved to be relevant not only due to different political, cultural and environmental aspects, but also because of the global appeal that climate change has gained after the United Nations IPCC report. The Amazon region is the planet’s last forest frontier. Besides, it has the planet’s most valuable freshwater resources, biodiversity and great social diversity, which is represented by its traditional populations and indigenous peoples. The threats upon this human patrimony do not involve only climate changes. They are also accelerated by current development policies that point towards the growth of predatory activities such as single-crop farming and cattle-breeding, exploration of mineral commodities and installation of infrastructures that open up space to these predatory processes, which are proved to have very little positive effect on the Amazonian society as a whole. Therefore, hosting the World Social Forum has a great symbolic value to the region and will reinforce various efforts that aim at giving visibility to the importance of protecting natural resources and respecting the diversity of lifestyles, which are being threatened by the growth of neoliberal globalization process in this region, one of great strategic importance to the planet.

The support given by Amazonian social movements to this proposal is very significant, since it would strengthen fights against deforestation, for the reduction of poverty and for the maintenance of Amazon’s social and environmental diversity. Grassroots organizations and NGOs that act in regional and national levels have been supportive of this initiative. They are building a network whose aim is to legitimate the process among the organized civil society and, therefore, creating a positive scenario for the success of this challenge of hosting the WSF. The Amazon region is often forgotten by their countries, increasing the risks of extinction of hundreds of cultures that are isolated and distant from their governments’ actions. The WSF taking place in the Amazon region would give voice and visibility to thousands of ethnic groups whose territory are often invaded, while public authorities neglect their extermination of these groups. This situation can be seen, for example, in Javaí Valley, which borders Brazil’s, Peru’s and Colombia’s Amazon region.

The region has a very good history in hosting big international events organized by social movements. Since 2002, it hosts the Pan-Amazonian Forum. The event has a wide participation of the 9 amazonian countries and it is already consolidated in the international agenda as a space for discussing struggles that concern the whole American continent.

The region’s urban centers are perfectly suitable for hosting the WSF and, in this sense, we present the city of Belém, in the state of Pará, the second biggest urban center in the Amazon region. The city has a population of 1.500.000 people. Belém has ideal conditions for hosting the 2009 World Social Forum edition. It is a historical city with revolutionary traditions, since the biggest popular insurgence in the Amazon region – A Revolta dos Cabanos (Cabanos’ Insurgence) - took place in Belém, from 1835 to 1840. This rebellion is known for being the only one in which the rebels actually rose to power. Belém is a privileged city, since it is strategically located on the mouth of Amazonas river and in the extreme north of Brazil’s road system, besides having an international airport, which facilitates traveling conditions for people in Brazil and abroad.

Finally, we would like this candidature not to be considered a Brazilian one. On the contrary, it is the candidature of a region that reunites nine countries, thousands of indigenous peoples with hundreds of languages and one of the richest social-environmental diversity of the planet. It has also big social differences and it is viewed nowadays as a strategic region by big corporations and transnational companies that explore inadequately our people and wealth.

If another world is possible, the Amazon region gathers more than enough conditions to build this new world!

Let’s bring the world to Amazonia! World Social Forum in Belém – Pará - Amazonia 2009

GTA - Grupo de Trabalho Amazônico
Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros
Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira.
Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos
Associação Brasileira de ONGs – ABONG Regional Amazônia
Fórum da Amazônia Oriental
Fórum Matogrossense de meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento
Projeto saúde e Alegria
Instituto de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Amazônico
Fundação vitória Amazônica
Associação etnoambiental Kanindé
Argonautas Ambientalistas da Amazônia
Instituto Paulo Freire
Cives - Associação Brasileira de Empresários pela Cidadania
Movimento Humanista
Centro Cultural Afro-Brasileiro Solando Trindade
Espaço Negro Padre Batista
APNs - Agentes de de Pastoral Negros do Brasil
Associação Movimento Paulo Jackson - Ética, Justiça, Cidadania (Salvador - Bahia)
ONG Sociedade do Sol
Comitê Afro Brasil
Cooperativa Pedra Sobre Pedra nas assinaturas de apoio
Comitê Afro do Brasil
Fórum de Mulheres da Amazônia Paraense
Espaço Negro
Instituto do Negro Padre Batista
Associação Movimento Paulo Jackson – Bahia
Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos
Projeto Saúde e Alegria