In February, Grantmakers without Borders co-sponsored and participated in a delegation of 20 funders, mostly from the US, to the World Social Forum in Dakar, organized by the Funders Network on Transforming the Global Economy. The delegation, some of whom also sponsored their African grantees to attend, joined some 50,000 activists, NGO representatives and social movement organizers to discuss many of the pressing issues facing the global South, including food sovereignty, migration, the solidarity economy, women’s rights, fair trade, education, resource rights, and the struggles of Africans and the African Diaspora. However, two salient issues emerged.
First, climate justice activists engaged in discussions to plan their response to COP-17 (to take place in Durban later this year) and Rio+20. It was clear that momentum is building among these movements to intensify the push for a people-centred solution to climate change. Second, the uprising in Egypt provided a dramatic backdrop for the Forum. During the closing assembly, word spread through a cheering crowd that Egyptian President Mubarak had stepped down. Many Egyptian social movements that were instrumental in the uprising celebrated their accomplishments and shared their successful strategies with others at the Forum.
While most of the conversations on these topics centred around activists’ strategies, these issues will be addressed from a funder’s perspective at the upcoming Grantmakers without Borders conference (13-15 June in New York City). Both Climate Justice and Lessons for Funders from North Africa will be featured in this annual gathering of global foundation funders and individual donors.
1 COP-17: 17th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rio+20: 20th anniversary meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to take place in Brazil in June.
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