In the 1980s, the principles of neoliberalism, advocated by scholars like Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, and James M. Buchanan, as well as politicians and policymakers such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Alan Greenspan, were introduced in the international economic and political orders. These principles included privatization, deregulation, globalization, free trade, monetarism, austerity, and reductions in government spending to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.
The neoliberal policies, implemented under the Washington Consensus in the world regulated by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization (WTO), have exacerbated and continue to exacerbate unprecedented inequality in various forms between and within states. For instance, as per the Global Inequality Report 2022 while the bottom 50 percent of the global population owns just 2 percent of wealth and 8 percent of income, the top 10 percent of the population owns 76 percent of total household wealth and captures 52 percent of total income. Oxfam Report 2022 reveals that one person dies every four seconds due to colossal rise in inequality-led vulnerabilities in society.
Authoritarianism and totalitarianism, under the guise of extreme nationalism, populism, and fundamentalism, are on the rise worldwide. As a result, freedom of speech, assembly, and association have been impeded.
Moreover, the ecological system, in the name of so-called development, has deteriorated due to an illicit nexus between business tycoons and representatives of governments worldwide.
Warmongering politicians, coupled with the Military-Industrial Complex, have posed a tremendous perilous situation, damaging the security situation in the world. The Ukraine-Russia conflict, Israel-Palestine conflict, and Middle East crisis are epitomes of the propensity of warmongering politicians using the pretext of a so-called geopolitical conflict in the 'new cold war.' Furthermore, the saber-rattling of nuclear use, the most destructive bomb for humanity, has been a Damocles' sword hanging over human civilization for a long time.
Although world leaders time and again commit in international forums to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights, the fundamental rights of people living in poverty, women, indigenous, LGBTIQS++, migrants, refugees, Dalits, and other marginalized and vulnerable communities have been significantly violated.
In the contemporary world, there exists a demographic of over 1.2 billion individuals aged between 15 and 24 worldwide. Extensive research and studies have indicated that a significant majority of young people, exceeding 80 percent on a global scale and especially in regions referred to as the Global South, experience oppression and exploitation as a result of the negative consequences brought about by privatization, liberalization, and globalization in their everyday lives.
While youth have played a remarkable role in social, economic, and political revolutions, their right to have meaningful participation in decision-making, education, health, employment, entrepreneurship, and other necessary rights have not been guaranteed. As a result, in the so-called globalized world, youths are living in desperate conditions throughout the world in general, particularly in least developed countries.
Given the current context, youth living in all continents of the world should have a clear understanding of the driving forces of the international political and financial order, its inherent contradictions, and its linkages with youth development, among other factors. For this reason, the youth of the world should come together to discuss the challenges they face, strategize alternative proposals, and enhance the world youth movement against neoliberal globalization, making counter hegemonic ideas.
The 'World Social Forum', starting in Brazil in 2001, is set to be organized in Nepal from 15-19 February 2024 in Nepal. Under this forum, given the tremendous potential of youth to transform the world under the slogan "Another world is possible," the Inter-continental Youth Forum (IYF) is planned to be held from 17-19 February 2024 in Nepal, involving more than ten thousand progressive youths from around the globe.
- To create an open space to empower and mobilize youth from diverse backgrounds and regions to engage in meaningful discussions and propose alternative solutions,
- To analyze the effects of neo-liberal policies introduced in the 1980s, as part of the Washington Consensus, on global inequality, with a specific focus on their impact on marginalized and vulnerable youths living in various parts of the world,
- To coordinate and collaborate in building a world youth movement that challenges the neo-liberal globalization and advocates for a more inclusive and equitable global order, creating counter-hegemonic discourse.
To ensure the seamless execution of the programs, several committees have been established, ensuring the participation of youth organizations. These committees include program and methodology, volunteer coordination, fundraising, communication management, and logistical oversight. Additionally, the convener along with secretariat to facilitate the program have been chosen. To prepare the program, various rounds of meetings have been already held.
The Intercontinental Youth Forum (IYF) is slated to take place on the 17th of February 2024 at the World Social Forum venue in Bhrikutimadap, Kathmandu. This event will be attended by young participants hailing from all continents across the globe. The IYF will commence with an opening ceremony from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Rastriya Sabhagriha, Kathmandu, in the presence of both national and international delegates and speakers.
During the inauguration session, national and international youth leaders will deliver speeches, emphasizing the significance of youth engagement in bringing about positive transformations in their lives and the world at large. Following the opening session, there will be thematic discussions on ten key topics, which include education beyond privatization, Unmasking Unemployment for Economic Empowerment, Climate Justice: Paradigm Shifts for World Development, Peace, Disarmament, and Denuclearization, Breaking Chains: Eradicating Global Inequality, Mind Matters: Youth Wellbeing Today, Foreign Labor Migration: Choice or Duty? and GEDSI and Social Justice: Equitable Strides, Youth in the digital era - digital rights, activism, and security and youth in global governance for planet and humanity.
These discussions will be organized into two time slots from 11:10-1:00 PM and 2:00-4:00 PM. In the first slot, there will be simultaneous discussions on five thematic areas, and in the second slot, four issues will be discussed. Approximately 300 participants attend for each dialogue. Each issue will be presented and analyzed by experts, followed by robust interactions among the participants. All presentations and discussions will be recorded and shared through various media channels.
A 'Youth Camp' is scheduled to occur alongside the World Social Forum on 18th February 2024 (Evening session) To ensure the camp runs smoothly, logistical preparations will have been made, including the provision of tents, toilet facilities, security, and food services. At the camp, young participants and youth organizations from all corners of the globe will have the opportunity to engage in interactive workshops addressing youth-related concerns, artistic presentations, storytelling gatherings, cultural displays, documentary screenings, boating, networking, and campfires. Besides arranging the venue, space, and logistics from WSF 2024 Youth Camp organizing team, participants, and organizations themselves will lead the implementation of the aforementioned activities.
The Youth Assembly is scheduled for the 19th, between 2:00 and 4:00 PM at Bhrikutimandap. During this assembly, drawing from the insights gathered at the WSF 2024 youth camp and the Intercontinental Youth Forum, the Kathmandu Youth Declaration will be formulated. This declaration will present a collective call to action, urging governments to address the challenges confronting young people globally.
|Intercontinental Youth Forum (17th February 2024)
|8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
|9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
|10 Minutes break
|11:10 AM - 1:00 PM
|2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
|WSF 2024 Youth Camp and art (18th February)
|11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
|Alternative Art Space
|100 young artists will participate.
|5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
|Youth Assembly (19th February)
|2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
|Youth Assembly and declaration