Bo Forsberg, 71 years old. Former Secretary General for Diakonia and active in Congo/Kinshasa under church auspices. Former board member of FUF.
When and how did you get involved in FUF?
It's been a long time but what I remember is that I became an individual member at some point years 1984 or 1985. Later Diakonia as an organization became a member because both individuals and organizations could be members. Later I became also active on FUF's board.
What issues were you passionate about and thought were important during your time at FUF? What issues do you consider to be major development issues at that time?
I remember from my own involvement, including through FUF, the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the incredibly hard work to defend mhuman rights in Central America during an era of dictatorships in the region. A work that resulted in democracy and respect for mSwedish rights became a basic foundation for Swedish aid and long-term development.
Another example is the so-called globalization with deregulation and negotiations on global free trade agreements. The discussion was about what consequences that development would have for the poor countries, a question and challenge that is still relevant today. A third area is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which actualized respect for international humanitarian law in relation to aid and human development. The conflict has spread and is today one of the major challenges. For a period we saw many victories as a result of our work but unfortunately in recent years we have seen several setbacks.
Do you want to share a memory from your time at FUF?
Based on the questions I mentioned, I remember all the conversations with politicians, demonstrations outside the South African embassy when we saw the staff behind curtains with cameras photographing us, written articles and the opinion formation. I also participated in the official delegation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations in Seattle. There were heated and sometimes threatening discussions that were published in the world's mass media. I also remember all the visits and conversations with representatives from the various parties in the Middle East.
What I have learned in all these years is that development happens on two levels; Opinion formation and democratic influence on our politicians to make brave decisions. But above all, people's commitment and courage at the local level to act based on humanitarian values.
What do you think is FUF's strength?
FUF's strength has been and is that it succeeded in bringing together representatives from academia, politics, official aid and civil society for the exchange of experience, knowledge development and opinion formation based on a common value base and a commitment where everyone agrees that aid is important and must be seen in a whole of other commitments to build a better world.
What do you think FUF should focus on going forward?
Now we are facing new challenges to be added to the previous ones which, as I said, are still relevant. Climate change is about the survival of humanity but directly related to respect for human rights, poverty reduction, trade relations (including energy) and democratic development in different parts of the world. FUF has a unique role as a meeting place from different parts of society that contribute with different perspectives to the vision of building a better world.