Kathmandu Calling: WSF 2024 holds potential for meaningful change


Bhanu Parajuli

The World Social Forum (WSF) 2024, set to take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, from February 15th to 19th, offers a unique opportunity for people across the globe to come together in pursuit of a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. Under the banner of "Another World is Possible," these gathering aims to address the pressing issues of our time, including environmental crises, inequality, food insecurity, majoritarian violence, and the aftermath of recent pandemics.

Significance of WSF

The World Social Forum, a beacon of hope established two decades ago, emerged as a resounding response to the destructive impacts of neo-liberal globalization. Back in 2001, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the inaugural forum created a transformative space for diverse social movements, community campaigns, trade unions, youth organizations, and academia to unite in collaboration. Over the years, this platform has evolved into a pivotal force, fostering dialogue and collective action against the pressing issues of our time – from battling neoliberalism, addressing climate injustice, and dismantling patriarchy, casteism, and racism to confronting various systemic challenges that plague our global community.

Challenges and Resilience

Today's world is a battleground of escalating conflicts, environmental degradation, and the daunting rise of right-wing forces challenging democratic participation. Yet, like a resilient flame, a spirit of resistance persists. In the midst of these challenges, the World Social Forum (WSF) stands tall as a vital space for cultivating constructive ideas, fostering powerful alliances, and strategically plotting a path toward a better way of life – one firmly rooted in the principles of justice and equity. It's a sanctuary where the collective heartbeat of change reverberates, where diverse voices converge to confront the tumultuous issues of our era and carve out a collective vision for a more promising tomorrow.

Nepal as the Host and Organizing the Forum

Nepal, a vibrant tapestry of rich cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic diversity, proudly takes center stage as the host of WSF 2024. As a forward-thinking federal democratic republic deeply committed to socialism, Nepal offers an ideal canvas for discussions on pressing global issues. The country's constitution serves as a beacon, guaranteeing democratic spaces and upholding fundamental human rights—a testament to the triumphs of a robust people's movement.

In this endeavor, Nepal's civil societies and government play a pivotal role, not just as a host but as a catalyst for meaningful discussions. Security measures need to be diligently in place, ensuring the safety of all participants and creating an environment conducive to free and open dialogue. Moreover, the government provides spaces for civil societies to converge, fostering an atmosphere where diverse voices can flourish, collaborate, and contribute to the global discourse on justice, equity, and sustainable development. Nepal's enthusiastic embrace of the WSF is a testament to its commitment to being a key player in shaping the future of our interconnected world.

The WSF 2024 organizing process involves international, regional, and national bodies, including the International Council, Asia Pacific Social Forum-Facilitation Committee, and the Nepal Organizing Committee. Various sub-committees, such as Resources and Mobilization, Program, Logistics, Liaisons, Research, Documentation, Communication, and Volunteer Culture, Health, and Safety, work collectively to prepare for the event.

Themes, participant and collaboration

Embark on a global journey at The WSF 2024, it will focus to ignite the movement on an array of critical themes, including economic inequality, labor issues, discrimination, gender and sexuality, land and agriculture, peace and conflict, education, democracy, human rights, health, climate justice, and more. The proposed programs include thematic panels, self-organized events, and assemblies, with an Intercontinental Youth Forum.  Collaborate in birthing future self-organized assemblies, and witness the crescendo of a dynamic 900-1000 activities echoing with evolving ideas. Seize opportunities to engage in the World Dignity Forum, champion Dignified Menstruation, amplify the future Women's Assembly, resonate with the evolving Global Feminist Forum, and stand tall in the Future Assembly on Democracy and Civic Space, where diverse participants and experts from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives "come together to shape a future of possibilities!"

Last but not least, the World Social Forum 2024 in Kathmandu, Nepal, stands as a beacon of hope in a world facing unprecedented challenges. It offers a space for dialogue, collaboration, and collective action, aiming to shape a future that prioritizes sustainability, dignity, co-existence, equality, and equity. As participants from diverse backgrounds converge, the WSF 2024 holds the potential to inspire meaningful change and lay the groundwork for a more just and equitable world.

All the best wishes for WSF-24!

(The writer is an HRD, Development Activist and Practitioner. He can be reached @ bhanu.parajuli@gmail.com )


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