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Thursday, January 23, 2003

Following criticism for excluding churches, NGOs + members of civil society from their deliberations the organisers of the World Economic Forum are staging a number of open fora where representatives of Swiss United Nations Association, the Max Havelaar Foundation (Switzerland), the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches/Bread For All, the Swiss Peace Foundation, the Swiss Red Cross, the International Federation Terre des Hommes + the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) India will share a public platform with representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Novartis + Nestle in order to discuss issues such as...

* "How Can Business Support the Global Compact?"
* "Fair Trade - An Alternative?
* "Which Innovations Are Conducive to Social and Economic Change?"
* "Can Globalization Be Ethical?"
* "What Is the Role of Business in Conflict Regions?"
* "Workers Needed - Nationals Preferred? Migration and Its Consequences"

Peter Brey, spokesman for International Terre des Hommes, a Swiss-based NGO representing childrens' rights, who is participating in the 2003 Open Forum said "We believe that, for improvement to take place, dialogue + non-violent confrontation are called for."

These WEF-run fora are clearly a positive step in the right direction but are still likely to be the scene of relatively gentile criticism compared to the powerful demands for corporate regulation + accountability that can be expected to emerge from the Public Eye on Davos meeting just down the road...