About WSF


What is the World Social Forum?

The World Social Forum (WSF) is the largest gathering of civil society to find solutions to the problems of our time. Started in 2001 in Brazil, the WSF brings together in each of its edition tens of thousands of participants to more than a thousand activities (workshops, conferences, artistic performances …) on various themes (social, solidarity economy, environment, human rights, democratization … ). A charter of principles describes what is and is not the WSF process, the values and goals of its participants, as well as important operation rules.

WSFs in the world

2001 Porto Alegre (Brazil)
2002 Porto Alegre (Brazil)
2003 Porto Alegre (Brazil)
2004 Mumbai (India)
2005 Porto Alegre (Brazil)
2006 Bamako (Mali), Caracas (Venezuela) and Karachi (Pakistan)
2007 Nairobi (Kenya)
2009 Belem (Brazil)
2011 Dakar (Senegal)
2013 Tunis (Tunisia)
2015 Tunis (Tunisia)
2016 Montreal (QC-Canada)

World Social Forum , India: 

THEME  (World Social Forum , India ) : DIGNITY/ DIVERSITY/ DEMOCRACY

World Social Forum: 


Thematic Axes : Thematic axes


(FEBRUARY 26, 2016)

The WSF 2016 themes are derived from the collaborative work process carried out from September 2015 to February 2016. This process, facilitated by the Programming Working Group, took several steps, with working seminars in Montreal (3th of October and 16th of December 2015), two international web consultations (September 2015 and December/January 2016), a working seminar in Porto Alegre (Brazil) during the thematic World Social Forum (19-23 January 2016) and the International Council meeting that followed (23-24 January), and finally two web meeting with the IC liaison group (5th and 18th of February).

These themes are intended to facilitate the construction of the general programming of the WSF 2016, guiding people who wish to provide activities through the auto-programming process. The themes will also allow participants of the WSF 2016 to understand the structure of the program of the WSF and identify the themes that interest them.

Calendrier FSM en

The WSF 2016 themes (in the form of titles followed by a series of keywords) are presented here without any hierarchy or order of precedence of one over the other.

Summary of titles of 13 WSF 2016 themes

  1. Economic, Social and Solidarity Alternatives facing the Capitalist Crisis
  2. Democratization of Knowledge and Right to Communication
  3. Culture of Peace and Struggle for Justice and Demilitarization
  4. Decolonization and Self-Determination of Peoples
  5. Rights of Nature and Environmental Justice
  6. Global Struggles and International Solidarity
  7. Human and Social Rights, Dignity and Fight against Inequalities
  8. Struggles against Racism, Xenophobia, Patriarchy and Fundamentalism
  9. Fight against the Dictatorship of Finance and for Resource Distribution
  10. Migration, Refugees and Citizenship Without Borders
  11. Democracy, Social and Citizen Movements
  12. Workers against Neoliberalism
  13. Cultural, Artistic and Philosophical Expressions for Another Possible World
  1. Economic, Social and Solidarity Alternatives facing the capitalist crisis

Alternative economy serving human and earth; Equitable sharing of wealth; Counter the privatization of resources; Preserve the economic, cultural and social fabrics; Personal resources as a source of income; Socially responsible consumption; Simplicity; Friendly decay; Self-sufficient economy; Local economic circuits; Production and local consumption; Economic models based on common goods; Alternative Lifestyles; Social entrepreneurship; Agriculture in the heart of the local economy; Accountability and corporate social responsibility; Sharing economy and the gift; Precedence of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights on the “rights” of big business; Building a Solidarity Economy as an alternative to capitalism; Guaranteed minimum income; Market economy vs non-market; Formal vs informal economy; Cooperativism and solidarity economy; Indicators of social impacts of investments; just environmental and energy transition

2.Democratization of Knowledge and Right to Communication

Internet as a common good; Information asymmetry; Digital divide; Right to knowledge; Knowledge sharing; ICT and traditional identities; Repression of journalists; Fight against ignorance; Aperture Science; Against dogmatism; Access to information; Democratization of technology; Dissemination of knowledge; Knowledge as a common good; Education for All; alternative pedagogies; Internet hate speech; Journalisms types; Innovation; Decolonization of minds; Ethical Internet; Truth and conscience; Indigenous knowledge; Misinformation and democracy; Muzzling of scientists; Freedom of expression ; Recognition of knowledge; Learning diversity; Right to dissent of opinion; Conscientious objectors; Science and politics; Media concentration;  Cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism and cyber-control; Universal accessibility in communications; standardization and capitalism culture

3. Culture of Peace and Struggle for Justice and Demilitarization

Militarism; Fight against nuclear weapons and the militarization of countries and space; Missing; Fight for a change in the international system; Peace education; Colonialism and military control; Pacifism; universalism renewed; Right to dissent and criticism of those in power; Humanitarian intervention; Conscientious objectors.

4. Decolonization and Self-Determination of Peoples

Limits of international cooperation; coloniality of power; Decoloniality of knowledge and expertise; Development assistance; Decolonization, neo-colonialism and post-colonialism; Development indicators; illegitimate debt; Post-development; Anti-imperialism; Internal decolonization; Aboriginal issue and territories; Issue of reparations; Self-determination of peoples; Autonomy and sovereignty; Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Peoples liberation movements; Struggles for independence; Solidarity with the oppressed people. 

5.Rights of Nature and Environmental Justice

Extractivism; Environmental Justice; Climate refugees; Climatic changes; Reconnecting to our common roots; Protection of human populations; Protection of biodiversity; Energetic transition; Privatization of natural resources; Support for family farming; Food security / food sovereignty; Territories, transformation and ownership by citizens; Local and organic farming; Air quality, water, earth; International agreements and environmental problems; Health and environment; Socio-economic rights and indigenous territories; Land monopolizing; Struggles of peasants; Anthropocene;  Common good of humanity; Environmental education

6. Global Struggles and International Solidarity

Global citizenship; Renew political decision process; Crisis of multilateralism ; Reform of international institutions; Opening places of power to citizens; Governance and solidarity; Recognition of traditional indigenous governance systems; Finding the right spirit; Citizenship education; Defense of democracy; Role of political activists; Neoliberalism against democracy; Democratization of society; Institutions and citizenship; Universalism and dialogue
in humanity

7. Human and Social Rights, Dignity and Fight against Inequalities

Respect for all ; Inclusion; Struggle against social exclusion ; Roaming ; Fight against discrimination ; Rejection of extremism and fascism ; Equality for all ; Recognition ; Right to the city ; Universal Accessibility ; Emancipation ; the right to dignity of peoples ; Struggle for the liberation of political prisoners ; Social justice ; Universality of family policies ; Improving social programs ; Poverty eradication ; Right to housing and habitat

8. Struggles against Racism, Xenophobia, Patriarchy and Fundamentalism

Rights of LGBTQI / Queer / transgender; Gender equality; Feminist struggles; Gender issue in different struggles movements; Intersectional struggles; Informal women’s work; Exploitation of women’s bodies; Gendered violence; Fight against violence against women and children; Marginalization of minorities; Place of indigenous women; Alliances of struggles for the rights of women; Fighting sexism; Missing women and feminicide; Strengthening women’s organizations; Child’s rights and protection; Senior’s rights ; Fight against racisms and xenophobia; afrophobia; Islamophobia; antisemitism; racism against Rom ; Against Homophobia and discrimination affecting visible and cultural minorities, women, disabled, seniors, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender ; Fight against ableism ; Fight againt audism; Fundamentalism (religious, economic, political, etc.)

9. Fight against the Dictatorship of Finance and for Resource Distribution

Destructive effects of globalization ; Fair taxation ; Financialization of the economy ; Fight against tax havens ; Protection and universality of public services; Role of the State; Fight against privatization; Fight against austerity and neoliberalism ; Consequences of austerity on health and education ; Equitable distribution of wealth ; Tax Justice ; Inclusive education as a public service ; Free education and health services ; Universal basic income and guaranteed minimum revenue

10. Migration, Refugees and Citizenship Without Borders

Open borders; Rights of migrants; Migration crisis in Europe; Immigration and integration; Fight against statelessness; Freedom of movement and settlement; Protection and respect for refugees; Support for displaced populations; Wars and forced migration; Economic migration and asylum; Asylum for LGBTQI people; Citizen initiatives to help to refugees

11. Democracy, Social and Citizen Movements

Enabling environment for civil society organizations ; Future of social movements ; Convergence of struggles and collective actions ; Citizen initiatives ; Our oxygen: youth ; Radical democracy ; Participatory democracy ; Social movements and political parties ; Living and teaching citizen participation ; Connecting youth initiatives ; Representation in decision-making circles ; Critique of power ; WSF political significance and development ; Strengthening civil society ; Active citizenship ; Strategies of movements ; Promotion of alter-globalization; social resistance movement ; Student movements

12. Workers against Neoliberalism

Union struggles; Standards and working conditions; Fight against the power of transnational; Fighting corruption; Decent work; Gendered work and economic empowerment of women; Child labour; Fight against free trade and investment agreements ; Sustainable income and decent wages ; Internationalism and unions

13. Cultural, Artistic and Philosophical Expressions for Another Possible World

Spirituality; Activist art ; new philosophies; cosmovision; decolonization of the minds

Charter Of Principles: 


World Social Forum CHARTER OF PRINCIPLES The committee of Brazilian organisations that conceived of and organised the first World Social Forum, held in Porto Alegre from January 25th to 30th, 2001, after evaluating the results of that Forum and the expectations it raised, consider it necessary and legitimate to draw up a Charter of Principles to guide the continued pursuit of that initiative. While the principles contained in this Charter – to be respected by all those, who wish to take part in the process and to organise new editions of the World Social Forum – are a consolidation of the decisions that presided over the holding of the Porto Alegre Forum and ensured its success, they extend the reach of those decisions and define orientations that flow from their logic.

1) The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Mankind and between it and the Earth.

2) The World Social Forum at Porto Alegre was an event localised in time and place. From now on, in the certainty proclaimed at Porto Alegre that “Another World Is Possible”, it becomes a permanent process of seeking and building alternatives, which cannot be reduced to the events supporting it.

3) The World Social Forum is a world process. All the meetings that are held as part of this process have an international dimension.

4) The alternatives proposed at the World Social Forum stand in opposition to a process of globalisation commanded by the large multinational corporations and by the governments and international institutions at the service of those corporations’ interests, with the complicity of national governments. They are designed to ensure that globalisation in solidarity will prevail as a new stage in world history. This will respect universal human rights, and those of all citizens – men and women – of all nations and the environment and will rest on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples.

5) The World Social Forum brings together and interlinks only organisations and movements of civil society from all the countries in the world, but intends neither to be a body representing world civil society.

6) The meetings of the World Social Forum do not deliberate on behalf of the World Social Forum as a body. No one, therefore, will be authorized, on behalf of any of the editions of the Forum, to express positions claiming to be those of all its participants. The participants in the Forum shall not be called on to take decisions as a body, whether by vote or acclamation, on declarations or proposals for action that would commit all, or the majority, of them and that propose to be taken as establishing positions of the Forum as a body. It thus does not constitute a locus of power to be World Social Forum Charter of Principles disputed by the participants in its meetings, nor does it intend to constitute the only option for interrelation and action by the organisations and movements that participate in it.

7) Nonetheless, organisations or groups of organisations that participate in the Forum’s meetings must be assured the right, during such meetings, to deliberate on declarations or actions they may decide on, whether singly or in coordination with other participants. The World Social Forum undertakes to circulate such decisions widely by the means at its disposal, without directing, hierarchizing, censuring or restricting them, but as deliberations of the organisations or groups of organisations that made the decisions.

8) The World Social Forum is a plural, diversified, non-confessional, non-governmental and non-party context that, in a decentralized fashion, interrelates organisations and movements engaged in concrete action at levels from the local to the international to build another world.

9) The World Social Forum will always be a forum open to pluralism and to the diversity of activities and ways of engaging of the organisations and movements that decide to participate in it, as well as the diversity of genders, ethnicities, cultures, generations and physical capacities, providing they abide by this Charter of Principles. Neither party representations nor military organisations shall participate in the Forum. Government leaders and members of legislatures who accept the commitments of this Charter may be invited to participate in a personal capacity.

10) The World Social Forum is opposed to all totalitarian and reductionist views of economy, development and history and to the use of violence as a means of social control by the State. It upholds respect for Human Rights, the practices of real democracy, participatory democracy, peaceful relations, in equality and solidarity, among people, ethnicities, genders and peoples, and condemns all forms of domination and all subjection of one person by another.

11) As a forum for debate the World Social Forum is a movement of ideas that prompts reflection, and the transparent circulation of the results of that reflection, on the mechanisms and instruments of domination by capital, on means and actions to resist and overcome that domination, and on the alternatives proposed to solve the problems of exclusion and social inequality that the process of capitalist globalisation with its racist, sexist and environmentally destructive dimensions is creating internationally and within countries.

12) As a framework for the exchange of experiences, the World Social Forum encourages understanding and mutual recognition amongst its participant organisations and movements, and places special value on the exchange among them, particularly on all that society is building to centre economic activity and political .

World Social Forum Charter of Principles action on meeting the needs of people and respecting nature, in the present and for future generations.

13) As a context for interrelations, the World Social Forum seeks to strengthen and create new national and international links among organisations and movements of society, that, in both public and private life, will increase the capacity for non-violent social resistance to the process of dehumanisation the world is undergoing and to the violence used by the State, and reinforce the humanising measures being taken by the action of these movements and organisations.

14) TThe World Social Forum is a process that encourages its participant organisations and movements to situate their actions, from the local level to the national level and seeking active participation in international contexts, as issues of planetary citizenship, and to introduce onto the global agenda the change-inducing practices that they are experimenting in building a new world in solidarity.





    WSF 2016 will be held in Montreal, Canada in August 9th to 14th , 2016. People’s movements, NGOs, policy activists, thinkers will converge from different parts of the world to exchange information, devise strategies, crate networks and platforms to build alternatives to capitalism and neo liberal globalization, and seek solutions to social injustices. The issues facing us all are global in nature and need global solutions, solidarities and perspectives. Hence the need for people and peoples movements to come together and become part of the global discourse and solidarities. 13 years ago, on Jan 2-7, 2003, the Asian Social Forum was organized in Hyderabad, on the Nizam College grounds. It was the first Social Forum event in Asia. Organized around the slogan of “Another World is Possible!” the focal issues of the Forum were imperialist globalization, religious and sectarian violence, casteism and patriarchy. The Asian Forum saw the participation of over 20,000 people and it prepared the ground for the even bigger mobilization of more than 100,000 at the WSF IV in Mumbai. In November 2006 an Indian social forum event was held in Delhi. After the WSF IV in Mumbai, the WSF went back to Brazil, and then Senegal, and twice to Tunisia. This year Hyderabad will host an All India Thematic Social Forum on Dignity, Diversity and Democracy on July 31 and 1 st of August 2016. In one part of the world, the Eurozone is in crisis and banks are pushing the burden on to the shoulders of common people through austerity measures. Welfare and benefits of working people as well as their safety nets are severely impacted. In the South, we have rampant privatization and control of corporate companies and banks, the attempt to break down national sovereignty to facilitate corporate exploitation of dwindling natural resources, destruction through indiscriminate mining, building, damming, and cutting down of forests. Conflict and war rage all over the globe; the only beneficiaries being the huge arms corporations, with their own private armies and control over the foreign policies of many governments. The crisis links people in the South and North, and creates the need for a real solidarity of the South, of the common working people world over. 1In India, the state is creating conditions for better corporate management. The ruling elite markets Brand India to global capital: its industry, technology, market friendliness and natural resources. The economic ascendance of India has meant increased economic disparities, more state repression and denial of human rights and the ruthless exploitation of peoples and natural resources in the name of development, investment and profits. There is an atmosphere of fear and repression against dissenting views, in particular against religious minorities, Dalits and tribals and sexual minorities. Students, teachers, social movements and NGOs, and all those who believe in a secular state and a pluralistic society are targeted. The threat to Idea of India as a diverse, multi-cultural society are real and have serious implications for our collective future. The new Idea of India based on Hindu nationhood is essentially exclusive and negates the concept of diversity.

    But the people of India are resisting. New voices, new movements are providing hope. A new social revolution, with the message of social justice, has begun to rise from the campuses, from the wadas, and the bastis of this country. It is a voice of the young, it is a voice of power and confidence and it will change the face of Indian polity. It is also a voice of women, enraged by the violence they are subjected to in public spaces, in colleges, in the street, inside the home and family; by the hypocrisy and double standards which define Indian patriarchy.

    In the rapidly changing economic political and social scenario in India, the need for a broad discourse reflecting the huge diversity of political and social realities is urgently needed. While corporate interests and right wing, communal sectarian forces are gaining strength, solidarity among people’s movements is lagging behind, leaving a gap which constitutes a danger to the effectiveness of all people’s movements.

    In a multi- cultural country, diversity and differences on political positions, strategies and tactics are unavoidable. Yet should this reality become a stumbling block in coming together to meet the current situation, and the dangers inherent therein? How do we meet the challenge of building solidarity based on diversity? How do we forge broader alliances before events overtake democratic and progressive people’s movements? There are still many issues that are yet unresolved, among the liberal and left organizations too, amongst ourselves, particularly issues related to social identity, caste and gender politics as well as the questions of democracy, especially internal democracy.

    Earlier social forum processes have proved to be extraordinarily popular, as an open space where activists come together, reflect, listen, debate, without 2having to agree with each other: from people’s movements, NGOs, political parties, cultural groups, trade unions, women’s organisations, dalit and indigenous movements. Alliances have been formed, experiences shared, strategies formulated, ideas exchanged, friendships established.

    The thematic forum is a small step, using the energy and the principles of the social forum, towards creating a broad solidarity of all forces that are fighting for dignity, diversity and democracy, of all those who believe that such solidarities are the need of the hour.

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