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"Other Davos" calls for alternative solutions to globalisation

The "Other Davos" conference in Zurich hosts opponents to the Davos Forum

(Keystone Archive)

As leading businessmen and politicians held talks at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos on Friday, academics and economists from around the world gathered in Zurich for an alternative conference called the "Other Davos".

The Zurich forum was jointly organised by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and brought together hundreds of researchers, left-wing groups and other interested parties to a series of debates and workshops at the city's Volkshaus.

The conference got underway with a presentation by political and economic specialists on a variety of topics including women's rights and the situation in the Middle East.

"It's important to have an alternative Davos in order to encourage independent thinking," the conference co-ordinator, Swiss economist Charles André Udry, told swissinfo.

"What we oppose is the current form of globalisation which concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few, and leaves much of the world impoverished," he said.

One of the speakers at the event, Michel Warshawsky, of the Israeli Centre for Alternative Information, called at the conference for an "international movement of solidarity against globalisation".

"Big companies are ruling the world according to their own interests and at the expense of 90 per cent of humanity," he told swissinfo.

He warned that if the current trend towards globalisation persists, "it will be a catastrophe from an ecological, social and economic point of view".

Latin American specialist, Janette Habel, said in Zurich she believed events like the "Other Davos" demonstrated there was growing support for movements against privatisation and globalisation.

"We are just beginning to exchange views and information and to coordinate our efforts," she said, "but we are starting to make the world leaders pay attention."

At the close of the "Other Davos" conference, many of those in attendance planned to move on to Davos itself to protest against the World Economic Forum, despite a ban on demonstrations by the authorities in Davos.

by Anna Nelson


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