As part of the official programme of the Conference (UNCTAD XI), the Civil Society Forum was convened from 11 to 17 June 2004 at the Anhembi Centre, São Paulo, Brazil. A full programme of activities was organized. The Forum, co-organized by the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (ABONG); the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (REBRIP); and a group of international NGOs working closely with the UNCTAD secretariat, discussed priority issues relevant to the overall theme, subthemes and topics of the Conference.
CSOs used the Plenary of the Forum (11-12 June) to exchange information, build consensus, and finalize and adopt the Civil Society Declaration that was then presented to the Conference at its Opening Plenary
At the Conference Centre, CSOs organized daily workshops, round tables, debates and side meetings on particular issues of concern related to the impact of trade on development and social trends, the international economic system and global free trade. The link between trade and human rights protection was discussed. Participants examined the impacts of agricultural liberalization and the promotion of food security within the context of sustainable development and stressed the benefits of fair trade practices.
Civil society representatives also had the opportunity to interact and exchange views with representatives of UNCTAD member States and made contributions to the opening and closing plenaries and the interactive thematic sessions held during the Conference. They were also invited to present their statements during the general debate (broadcasted live on the web).
Civil society organizations with observer status with UNCTAD and those accredited by the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XI were able to participate in the Civil Society Forum. Financial support was extended to civil society representatives from developing countries.