This debate took place after an intensive process that saw over 100 written contributions being presented by movements, organizations, IC members, and others. All these contributions and the discussions they generated have been, and still are, available on the web.
The issues were discussed in a plenary on April 1morning, in five working groups in the afternoon and in another plenary on the 2nd morning. The five working group reports and their synthesis report are already available and shall be circulated electronically.
From the outset it was clear that this would not be a one time conclusive debate. It must necessarily be an ongoing work of the IC. Given the dynamic and flexible nature of the WSF process, its future as well as its internal organizational functioning must be reviewed and debated from time to time. It would be difficult to imagine a set of rigid rules and procedures that remain unchanging, given the fact that the Charter of Principles of WSF itself upholds flexibility and diversity.
Keeping these considerations in mind, the debate however did provide a few concrete directions that are as follows:
1. The draft document titled “The Guiding Principles for Holding a WSF Event” should be circulated on the IC list. Members of the IC should give their comments within two months from the date of circulation. After incorporating the suggestions, a new draft should be prepared and presented for adoption at the September 2008 meeting of the IC. The finalized Guiding Principles should inform the various regional and national forums leading up to the World event in Belem in 2009.
2. The WSF event should be held every two years or more after the 2009 event in Belem. However, the Forum after Belem should be held two years later, as per the Berlin IC meeting decision (annex)
3. There was agreement that the GDA was a good modality and should be continued. However, the form, periodicity and the specific dates in a year when the GDA shall be held will be decided in the framework of the WSF plan of action for the future, and a working group will facilitate the discussion.
4. The strategy commission shall prepare a paper on the Space and Action debate for presentation at the next IC meeting in September 2008. In the meanwhile, taking note of the general consensus voiced at the strategy debate, the processes and methodology for the various social forums leading up to the Belem forum in 2009 shall provide opportunities for actions, and stimulate connections and linkages with self-organised initiatives around the World during the Belem event.
5. Though some opinions have been expressed from time to time about amending the Charter of Principles, there did not appear to be any consensus for such amendment at this point of time. Also because some of the questions raised could be addressed by suitable adoption of methodologies, Guiding Principles, GDA etc.
6. The suggestions of the debate should be further refined through practice during the forthcoming events such as the Maghreb, European, American, African and South Asian forums, and of course at the World Forum in Belem in 2009.
“….. The next WSF as a centralized global event after 2009 will take place in Africa (tentatively in 2011 subject to the global situation)…”
World Social Forum