ALL AFRICA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES CONFERENCE DES EGLISES DE TOUTE L'AFRIQUE
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THE ALL AFRICA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES/ CARITAS AFRICA ECUMENICAL CONSULTATION TOWARDS THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM Nairobi. August 29 to September 1st, 2006.
COMMUNIQUE Theme - Indeed Another World is Possible
We the participants of the Ecumenical Consultation Towards the World Social Forum, hailing from churches, ecumenical institutions and church related organizations and agencies in Africa, met to share visions for a just world. Joined by representatives of Brazilian Ecumenical Forum, for sharing of experiences, we further affirmed our conviction that indeed another world is possible. Brazil was the venue for the first gathering of the World Social Forum six years ago.
We identified HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa as deserving special attention as a thematic programme of the ecumenical family at the World Social Forum (WSF)
We noted that we presently live in a world characterized by relations of subjection, suffering, deprivation and dispossession. An overall contempt for human dignity and the sanctity of life has moved to the centre of human existence. These trends need to be reversed. We accordingly resolved to advocate for and champion the following at the World Social Forum:-
Poverty has intensified in Africa leaving millions hapless. Several development paradigms have failed to lift the continent from the tyranny of poverty. We therefore urged that:-
There is need for fundamentally innovative approaches which among others, will lead to a path of humility to enable humankind restore humanity to millions who have been dehumanized by poverty. We will advocate for equitable sharing of development opportunities and benefits.
We believe in the integrity of creation. People are part of the environment and should therefore be at the centre of concerns for its sustainability. Accordingly, multinational corporations whose activities have contributed to climate change should be made to listen to the voices of the majority of the people in our one and only planet earth. We therefore acknowledged that:-
There is a relationship between economic growth and environmental quality. The moral values and meanings which people attach to life forms including ecological systems should be harnessed to secure a better common future.
Globalization has drawn a new world economic map which threatens to permanently marginalize those already poor and eroding the notion of equality
Concerned that globalization should not continue to function in moral vacuum, we call and advocate for new social contracts that can develop, strengthen and bind together social and economic justice towards a better world order.
There is an interface between governance and human development particularly in the manner in which governments design their policies towards the weak and the vulnerable in society.
Accordingly, we call for new ethics to inform thought and practice in policy formulation and governance in Africa. We believe that Christian values and principles could help stimulate a process in which people can find both emotional and spiritual fulfilment in socio-economic development inspired by good governance..
Children and youth of Africa have been abused and misused. Millions of them are victims of trafficking to serve as child labourers. Hundreds of thousands have been in battlefields as child soldiers. These and other predicaments endured by the youth of today, threaten to perpetuate poverty and marginality of the youth into the next generation.
We will therefore advocate for effective youth development policies which aim to asset the youth towards social inclusion and elimination of structural marginalization and to ensure that the youth enjoy more equitable opportunities in life.
Empowerment and Development
Our understanding of empowerment is that it is a process of changing the balance of power in favour of those who have been kept out of the mainstream of economic and social activities largely as a result of the encroachment of neo-liberalism.
We therefore resolved that our campaign should seek the removal of conditions that reinforce powerlessness. Accordingly, development must move beyond the negative dependency orientation to motivation of the society to be constructively engaged in moving forward. This will ultimately entail a move from reliance on foreign aid to economic self-sufficiency.
Africa's agenda and contribution to WSF
The African family institution may offer values to the world where the family institution has collapsed.
At community level, the African communitarian traditions should be upheld as they often empower communities for social action and encourage public accountability. (eg Gachacha courts)
Ecumenical approach to WSF
We believe that the WSF provides an exceptional opportunity which, in line with the Christian tradition, would enable people from the margins to be heard and to participate in process that determines a better future.
As an ecumenical family, we will together aim for the realization of social justice in a new world order whose priorities should affirm human solidarity for the provision of basic needs of all people as a matter of right and duty.