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IATP's Alexandra Strickner is reporting from the 9th World Social Forum in Belém, Brazil.

This is now my fourth World Social Forum and I continue to be fascinated by how the many discussions occuring at the same time help us to move forward in the building of a better world. What perhaps was new to this forum is that several groups targeted key themes, such as the financial crisis, climate change, labor and globalization or water, to name a few.

In these hot and wet days, I followed the climate change discussions and helped to organize some 20 global and regional networks on the afternoon of the 30th. Here is a flavor of the major outcomes.

The main aim of this cross-networking space was to share ideas on alternatives and strategies and to discuss how to collaborate across networks. We heard the proposals of groups working on food sovereignty, on water struggles, on the financial crisis, on labor struggles, on building a social solidarity economy, on climate change and many more. What was amazing in all these reports was that all of these groups refered to the need to build a different kind of economy, based on different values and scales, as the only possibility to address the global crises. There was strong support coming from all these groups towards the relocalization of the economy - whether it is to help build low carbon economies, to address the food challenges or to reclaim democratic control over water and resources. Participants also clearly voiced the need to redefine key economic parameters such as growth and competition and to build economies that have as their first and main objective the satisfaction of peoples' basic needs. All groups strongly supported the need to reclaim the commons and to democratize the economy to put control back into the hands of communities and citizens. The organizations concluded with a commitment to develop a joint document that outlines the key elements and principles of this new vision that was broadly shared in this space.

The convergence space on the issue of climate change took place in the afternoon of the 31st. Some 100 people filled the room, shared the results of their discussions during the past days and then started to discuss where to go from here. Also in this debate there was a large consensus across a broad range of groups - from farmers, workers, environmentalists - that the solutions proposed by governments to mitigate climate change (particularly for emissions trading and most of the technological fixes) are non-solutions. During this debate it also became clear that it was essential to formulate a joint vision of what a low carbon economy could look like and how such an economy would provide jobs for people while at the same time substantially reduce CO2 emissions. This vision must also include the concept of energy sovereignty, which is that communities and regions produce the energy they consume. This clearly implies that industrialized countries, which to date use far more energy than they themselves can produce, will have to reorganize their economies, their production and consumption in order to become more self-sustaining and sustainable.

Today is the last day of the Forum and people will share and debate in thematic assemblies the final results and outcomes.