The Social Forum of the Human Rights Council


The Social Forum is an annual meeting convened by the United Nations Human Rights Council. It serves as a unique space for open and interactive dialogue between civil society actors, representatives of United Nations Member States, and intergovernmental organizations.

The Social Forum meets once a year (usually October) for a three-day period on a theme chosen by the Human Rights Council at its March session. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights presents a report as a background contribution to the dialogue. In general, the format of the meeting consists of presentations by experts on topics related to the theme, followed by open discussion by meeting participants.

All participants, including civil society organizations and other stakeholders, are encouraged to take an active part in shaping the programme through proposals to the Secretariat, such as content and speakers. A distinguishing feature of the Forum format for meetings of the Human Rights Council, is the egalitarian nature of participation: civil society actors participate on an equal footing with Member States. For example, the absence of a traditional hierarchy of participation means there is no specified seating arrangement, or speaking order.

The outcome of the meeting is a report of the Forum which is submitted to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its subsequent session in March. The Council in turn encourages States, international organizations and civil society actors to consider the conclusions and recommendations of the Forum in their future programmes and strategies.

The Social Forum, in its uniqueness, is an important area of open and interactive dialogue between civil society, representatives of the Member States of the United Nations and Inter-Governmental Organizations. It is therefore important to be present in order to give a voice to civil society, a voice often discordant from the diplomatic and institutional point of view.

APG23 actively participate in the Social Forum trying to being the voice of the people with whom its members share the life in the 27 countries where the association is present. In particular, during the Social Forum held in Geneva 1 to 3 October 2012 which had as its theme: "People-centered development and globalization", the APG23 presented is experience in Zambia with a presentation entitled "APG23's experiences with participatory development in Zambia" .

Since 2008, the Social Forum has focused on the following themes:

  • Eradication of poverty and social dimension of the globalization process (2008)
  • Impacts of economic and financial crises on efforts to combat poverty (2009)
  • Adverse effects of climate change on human rights (2010)
  • Promotion of the right to development (2011)
  • People-centered development and globalization (2012)
  • The rights of older persons (2014)
  • Access to medicines in the context of the right to health (2015)

 

Links and external documents for further information:

Documents



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