By Own Correspondent – The Gambia Social Forum Tuesday held a day-long briefing session on the upcoming mini-Senegambia Social Forum to be held in Ziguinchor, Casamance. The briefing was held at the Tango conference hall in Kanifing and covered issues relating to the forthcoming World Social Forum to be co-hosted by the social forums of the Gambia and Senegal from 6 to 13 February 2011 in Dakar, Senegal.
It was announced during the briefing that the 2011 forum will be Africa’s second opportunity to host the World Social Forum, which attracts a multitude of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, but who share common socio-economic and political experiences. Speaking on the occasion, Amadou Taal, chairman of the Gambia Social Forum, said the 11th edition of the World Social Forum is of great significance to the Gambia, as the Senegalese Social Forum has close ties with its Gambian counterpart.
He said some members of the Senegalese Social Forum recently visited the Gambia and held a series of discussions with the Gambia Teachers Union, National Assembly members, ActionAid, and the NGO Affairs agency, among others. According to Mr. Taal, the World Social Forum is a venue for democratic debate and exchange of ideas, analysis and reflection on world issues, free expression and articulation of the views of social movements, workers unions, and farmer organisations, among others.
He pointed out that the Gambia Social Forum’s sub-committee is working with its Senegalese counterpart to bring about harmony and success in the planning exercise of the forum. He stated that prior to the World Social Forum, a mini forum, which is expected to serve as a prelude, will take place in Ziguinchor, attracting participants from Gambia, Senegal and other parts of the sub-region.
The theme for the Ziguinchor forum, he added, is “Decentralisation and Integration in the Senegambia sub-region for Development and Sustainable Peace”. Taal further stated that the Gambia will contribute to the theme by making a presentation on women in the cross-border trade, youths, drugs and conflicts.
He noted that the themes to be addressed at the forum will be of relevance to some public and private agencies operating in the Gambia. Other speakers at the briefing included Lamin Nyangado, chairperson for the fund-raising sub-committee, Ousman Yabo, chairperson for logistics, and Ousman Sillah.