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The 2004 Social Forum - (22-23 July, Palais des Nations room XVIII, Geneva)

In its decision 2003/107 adopted on 22 April 2003, the Commission on Human Rights considered the request by the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in its resolution 2002/12 and decided “to recommend to the Economic and Social Council that it authorize the Sub-Commission to hold in Geneva an annual intersessional forum on economic, social and cultural rights to be known as the Social Forum, for two days on dates that would permit the possible participation of 10 members of the Sub-Commission, to be appointed by the regional groups of the Sub-Commission”. The Economic and Social Council gave its authorization in its decision 2003/264.

In recent years the Commission has expressed deep concern that “extreme poverty continued to spread in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation” (resolution 2003/24). It reaffirmed that it was essential for States to foster participation by the poorest people in the decision-making process in the societies in which they lived and in the realization of human rights. Bearing in mind that the fight against poverty is an overarching goal for the international community, the theme for the 2004 edition of the Social Forum has been defined as “Poverty, rural poverty and human rights”.

In resolution 2003/13 the Sub-Commission has further taken into account the need for a human rights perspective in the fight against poverty. In the same resolution the Sub-Commission requested five of its members to prepare a joint working paper on the need to develop “guiding principles on the implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty”. The report of the Social Forum will contain conclusions and recommendations in this regard and will be submitted to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-sixth session.

The 2004 Social Forum will comprise four panels: “Poverty and human rights: empowerment of people living in poverty”; “Rural poverty and extreme poverty: special groups”; “The role of human rights in the development of operational strategies to address poverty” and “Recommendations on elements for incorporating human rights into poverty reduction strategies” (see background note prepared by OHCHR).

Bearing in mind Sub-Commission resolution 2003/14, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights wishes to encourage the participation of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and other non-governmental organizations outside Geneva, and in particular emerging actors, such as smaller groups and rural associations of the South, grass-roots organizations, peasant and farmers’ organizations and their national and international associations, pastoralist associations, fishermen’s/women’s organizations, voluntary organizations, youth associations, community organizations, trade unions and associations of workers, representatives of the private sector, United Nations agencies, the relevant functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, the regional economic commissions, international financial institutions and development agencies in the Social Forum.


The provisional agenda E/CN.4/Sub.2/SF/2004/1
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Background note prepared by the Secretariat E/CN.4/Sub.2/SF/2004/2
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Working paper for the Social Forum 2004 submitted by Mr José Bengoa E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/44
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Background documents: .
Report of the expert working group on the need to develop guiding principles on the implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/25
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Report of the Chairman- Rapporteur of the Social Forum 2002 E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/18
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* Advance edited version

NGO Accreditation

To register, please complete the registration form (in Word Format) and return it, together with a request for accreditation duly signed, to the Secretariat of the Social Forum, for the attention of Ms. Kate Hardie (Mail address: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Room PW 1-036, Palais des Nations, 8-14 avenue de la Paix, CH-1211 Geneva 10; Tel.: (41 22) 917 92 56; Fax: (41 22) 917 90 11; E.mail address: khardie@ohchr.org). Participants who have submitted their registration form will need to bring their passport or similar picture identification to the accreditation office located at the Villa “Les Feuillantines”.

The Secretariat wishes to draw the attention to the following:

      (a)  Delegates from States, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, intergovernmental and other organizations as well as NGO annual or temporary representatives in possession of an identity badge issued by the UNOG Security and Safety Section and valid for the duration of the session, will have unrestricted access to the conference rooms.

      (b)  Any other participants without a UNOG identity badge should apply in person to the Villa “Les Feuillantines(13, avenue de la Paix – see map); on presentation of their passport or similar picture identity document and a copy of the request for accreditation, a photo-badge valid only for the duration of the Social Forum will be issued.


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