G6B alternative to G8

By Corinna Callsen

The Group of Six Billion People’s summit will be held at the University of Calgary June 21–25, 2002.

Organizers hope the G6B will be a conference where alternatives to G8 solutions are sought. Ideas and solutions beneficial for people all over the world and respect for human rights and the environment are the main focus of the conference.

"The main goal of the G6B is to bring to the public issues that are affecting our world, especially where the G8 countries could have an impact on," said g6b media co-ordinator Priti Obhrai-Martin. "The G6B is meant to give an alternative voice from the people, who want to have a say in how our world is run today."

Other purposes of the G6B conference are to start a long-term campaign for global peace, justice and equality and to foster public dialogue on the issue of globalization.

Parallel to the priorities of the G8, the G6B will focus on the needs and challenges of Africa. Speakers and delegates from all over the world including Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Guatemala–where human rights are not guaranteed–will use this platform to express concerns and to search for alternatives in pursuit of a better world.

"For these delegates, to speak out against their country or the system there is putting their lives at risk," Obhrai-Martin explained.

The freedom of speech in Canada and the forum at the G6B allows those delegates to voice their concerns and to speak out against the suppression of their people, with a chance of reaching the governments of the G8 countries.

"This conference is held to give a voice to the people," said Obhrai-Martin. "At the end of the G6B, we are putting together a paper based on the conference’s outcome, pointing out realistic solutions."

The organizers hope participants will present alternatives in the areas of health, human security, education, environment, economy and democracy.

"We will give it to minister Bill Graham, who will hopefully take it back to the government of Canada," said Obhrai-Martin.

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