Article by Jason Nardi, RIPESS Europe

“We, the people of the planet, are currently facing an unprecedented environmental crisis coupled with rising inequality, widespread food insecurities, majoritarian violence, after effects of the last pandemic and the threat of a future one, and escalating tensions between major powers. In fact, humanity is on the brink of multi-faceted calamities leading to the destruction of its own survival. Given the threat is real and urgent, the ideals of the new world order that rests upon sustainability, dignity, co- existence, equality, and equity must be enacted and actualized.”

This is the opening statement in the call for participation of the World Social Forum 2024, taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 15 to 19 February 2024. The first WSF was held in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 2001 and served as a space for diverse social movements, community campaigns, trade unions, youth organizations, academia, and others to converge around the slogan “Another world is possible”. It was the specular summit to the World Economic Forum in Davos… and since then many Forums have taken place, national, continental, thematic, online… bringing together diverse movements and organisations all over the world to face the “destructive impacts of neo-liberal globalization, leading to a vital conversation about alternatives to this prevailing development model”. A message from the UN Secretary General addresses the WSF: “I am pleased to send my warm greetings to all gathered in Kathmandu for the 2024 World Social Forum. […] We must unite within communities – with a renewed social contract, based on trust, justice and inclusion, and anchored in human rights. Women, youth, and marginalized people must have a seat at the decision-making table. A world of peace, dignity and sustainability is not only possible, it is necessary. Let us build it together. (See Secretary-General’s message to the World Social Forum 2024”)

An Intercontinental Youth Forum will be organized on 17th February 2024 in Kathmandu. The days will start with several thematic panels followed by self-organized activities/sessions/assemblies (approx. 300 activities/sessions each day are expected) and end with informal meetings in open spaces and cultural programs. There will be around 1000 self-organized activities and assemblies throughout the WSF2024 event, with 1200 organisations registered.

Two decades ago RIPESS was then starting to develop as an intercontinental network and many people met through the WSF and began connecting around the themes of Solidarity Economy, as Brasil and Latin America were on the forefront of its development. The development of an alternative economy has always been a transversal theme throughout the different editions and RIPESS participated in the Forum’s debate also as a member of the WSF International Council.

This year, for the first time, the Economic thematic axes is the first of the 13 major themes: “Economic Inequality and Economic Justice: Broken economic system enabling tiny wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth on the cost of hundreds of millions. […] Extreme inequality undermines poverty eradication, corrupts politics, weakens democracies, hinders economic growth, fuels crime, and fractures societies. WSF24 will be a great platform to talk on building an economy that is designed to put people above greed that is a just human economy. It fosters fairer and stronger societies, guaranteeing secure jobs with decent wages and equitable distribution of value. It would treat women and men equally. Our economy would thrive within the limits of our planet.”

In 2019 and 2020 RIPESS – with several allied networks and organisations – promoted the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, a thematic WSF putting the plurality of post-capitalist alternatives at the center, focusing on how to transform power, knowledge, economic and ecological relations. Unfortunately the Pandemic Covid crisis did not make it possible to do the Forum in Barcelona as planned and it had to take place online. But the network ripple effect has worked and in fact inspired others to continue… announcing the “Building the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies in Colombia 2024”, which is planned for September this year (and will be announced in Nepal).

This WSF, more than the previous ones, will take place in hybrid mode, an important opportunity to meet with and between Asian movements, to share our concerns and expectations, to build common ambitions and perspectives for all peoples for a world of peace. ASEC – RIPESS Asia – is participating with a delegation and several of our allied networks are also there.

You can find the program, themes, and all the information for participation the website:

Credits: Photos by Ole Pedersen