Building the network: RIPESS-Solidarity Economy Europe
After the 4th Ripess global meeting in Luxembourg in 2009, a group participants from different networks decided to form a European chapter of RIPESS, the intercontinental network for the promotion of Social Solidarity Economy. Within two years, in 2011 the Ripess Europe founding congress was convened in Barcelona. The second Ripess Europe congress was held in July 2013 in Lille, France. Today, Ripess Europe has 26 official network members (both thematic and territorial networks) from 12 countries. Each of these are national or regional networks, often with another level of cross networking – mainly present in northern and western Europe. Ripess is now looking at Eastern and South Eastern Europe, where interesting developments are taking place.
RIPESS Europe is working on territories and local development (crossing the borders: exchanging and learning visits in East and South of Europe with P’Actes Européens), on popular education in cooperation with the Academics: the University network (RIUESS), and on co-funding of common projects among member networks. as well as promoting the information exchange and the work on transversal themes such as food sovereignty. It also pursues links with public / local authorities (RTES) to advance legislation on SSE across Europe.
RIPESS uses the term social solidarity economy to embrace both the solidarity economy and the more radical vision of the social economy. Defining the social solidarity economy framework is a long and ongoing process. For example, Brazil’s solidarity economy definition was built by SSE advocates and practitioners over many years through forums, meetings, and consultations. We understand that the political, cultural, and historical realities on each continent, and indeed in different countries, call for a flexible approach to terminology, approaches and entry points.
The RIPESS-Europe network therefore works with both social economy and solidarity economy organizations and includes sectoral as well as territorial organizations/networks