[QODLink]
Americas
Brazil forum challenges Davos meet
Environmentalists and activists counter world leaders' meeting in Davos.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2009 19:28 GMT
The forum will focus on deforestation,  development in the Amazon and indigenous rights [EPA]

Tens of thousands of people have opened the World Social Forum in Brazil, offering an alternative to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

About 100,000 people, ranging from environmentalists to political activists and indigenous Indians, were taking part in the forum held in the city Belem to draw attention on the destruction of the Amazon forest, officials said on Wednesday.

The event was being staged in contrast to the meeting of the world's political and business leaders meeting in Switzerland.

The gathering, which is entering its second day, is set to focus on issues including deforestation and development in the Amazon as well as the rights of indigenous peoples and the global economic crisis.

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Belem, said: "The World Social Forum was built to be an anti-World Economic Forum.

"It is not for the rich, not for the well-connected and it is not 'invitation only' - just the opposite of everything in Davos.

"The interest in the Economic Forum might be down a little bit because of the global economic crisis, but here ... it is just the opposite. The interest has actually increased because of the global crisis."

Global crisis

Participants also said the global economic crisis gave legitimacy to their calls for alternative economic systems.

Related

Tribes join global call
for change

Elizondo said: "So many here are saying that now is the critical time for these people ... to really be getting their message out because of the state of the global economy.

"They say, 'We can't trust the people of Davos to fix the world economic situation because they are the ones ... responsible for causing it'."

The annual forum, now in its ninth year, began in 2001 in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

Five Latin American leaders are expected to attend to the gathering.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
New report highlights plight of domestic helpers in the United Kingdom, with critics comparing it to kefala system.
join our mailing list