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Bishop to anti-globalization activists: produce solutions not protests

The World Economic Forum in New York is attracting the expected protests that seem to be reflecting grass roots concerns of the direction the world is heading in. Meanwhile in Brazil 50,000 delegates are meeting with a different agenda. The Forum Social Mundial (World Social Forum) is holding its second conference in Porto Alegre Brazil from 31 January to 5 February. At the inauguration of the 2nd World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the city's Archbishop, Mgr. Dadeus Grings, said that it is important to find solutions, and not create problems. He told Fides News Agency that "the Forum is a dialogue on present day problems. Porto Alegre diocese is proud to be a place open to new ideas" . The Archbishop stressed the need for "globalisation of solidarity" so often called for by the Pope. He also said that many people take part in the Forum only to protest. Whereas the Forum "is more than the ‘no-global’ movement. The Forum must find solutions, not make problems. Although the event has strong ideological connotations, we cannot stop dialogue. We need patience".

For the organizers the Forum slogan "The world can be a different place" reflects the concerns of humanity which have emerged in recent months: demonstrations in Genoa (Italy) during the G8 in July 2001; prolonged protests by the people of Argentina, military intervention in the Middle East. To "build a new world" there will be discussion on a variety of topics ranging from genetic food and conferences on socialism as "the alternative of hope"

The Forum has 20,000 member delegations; 3,500 trade unions, universities, NGOs from all over the world. The activities divided into topics will be discussed in courses, conferences, debates and testimony. NGOs alone will coordinate 600 courses. The official programme includes protest activities, for which time, date, place and objective are still to be set.

A Baby World Forum, with theatre, circus, shows, will be arranged for about 2,000 children. Valeria Viana, in charge of the Baby Forum says "If we think of a new world for the future, children cannot be left out".

The 3,500 young people present last year has increased to 10,000 this year who are accommodated in a Youth Camp in the centre of Porto Alegre, which will host events to discuss themes on the role of youth in build a "new world".