By Onka Dekker

This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

The World Social Forum met for the first time at the end of last month in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The World Social Forum is a new international conference that will meet every year. Its goal is to create and exchange social and economic projects. The projects will support human rights, social justice and development that does not waste natural resources.

Most of the representatives at the recent World Social Forum oppose globalization. They do not agree with the economic theory of a worldwide economy. That theory says ending trade restrictions to help international business also helps the most people. Some people attending the forum wanted to end the movement toward a global economy. Others wanted to reform it.

Activists at the World Social Forum say globalization policies have caused a greater inequality between the poorest and the richest people in the world. The Forum met to find ways to support economic policies based on the needs of poor people and the environment.

United Nations studies show that the poorest twenty percent of the world's people have lost half their share of the world's income since Nineteen-Sixty. Their share of total world income dropped from two-point-four percent to one-point-one percent. During the same years, income increased for the richest twenty percent of the population. The richest people increased their share of world income from sixty-nine percent to eighty-six percent.

The World Social Forum brought together non-governmental groups, local government leaders, students and professors. The meeting organizers invited everyone who wanted to take part. About ten-thousand people from all over the world attended the five-day meeting.

The main idea for the conference was "Another world is possible."The organizers planned three kinds of discussions. Some discussions were very large and included everyone. Other discussions were for economists, labor leaders, environmental activists and others to compare methods and experiences.

Still other discussions were designed for people to plan ways to keep strong communication links and to begin work on the next World Social Forum. That meeting will be held in Brazil next January.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Onka Dekker.

Voice of America Special English