Oxfam at the World Social Forum 2009: Solutions for the crisis should come from the bottom up

Oxfam International is participating at the 9th World Social Forum (WSF) in Belém, Brazil to share experiences and to strategize with other organizations and networks on ways to tackle the combined effects of the global economic crisis, food prices, and the effects of climate change in developing countries. The rising price of food has pushed more than 100 million people into hunger in the past year alone and has raised the total number of people without food to 1billion (one out of six people in the planet).

“Social movements cannot be just spectators of their own future, they must be active actors of their own development. Both short and long term solutions to the multiple crises, affecting mainly those who have less, can only come from the understanding of their needs and proposals. The WSF is that space for debate and world leaders should be listening,” says Katia Maia, from Oxfam International in Brazil.

This year’s WSF is being held in the Brazilian city of Belem, one of the main doors to the Amazonia, which puts the focus very strongly on issues such as biodiversity, indigenous peoples and climate change, among others.

Oxfam´s main role at this year’s Forum is working with partner organizations and alliances in both north and south to further the search for alternative development models that might contribute to global economic justice.

Climate change, the effects of the financial, fuel and food price crisis and regional integration are the main issues Oxfam will be debating with other civil society groups at this Forum. Climate change is becoming one of the main risks to human development, affecting millions of people worldwide and halting – or even reversing – achievements in the fight against global poverty and inequality.

“We are at a crucial moment, where world leaders are debating how to cope with the financial crisis and minimize its effects, mainly on their own financial systems. We have seen a shameful amount of money being put on the fly to support their economies, money that was never available to end the suffering of millions in the developing countries. Now civil society has the opportunity to raise its voice to be heard by leaders at the upcoming meetings of the G20 in London and the G8 in Rome. Business as usual is no longer an option,” says Constantino Casasbuenas, from the Oxfam International team in Belém.

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