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Video
Solidarity Oxford mapping the city’s solidarity economy

Solidarity Oxford is a website and digital map which has been produced as part of the Solidarity Economy Association’s Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project.

Oxford has a whole host of organisations, projects and people working to create a just and sustainable city. From swap shops and childcare circles to housing co-ops and community farms, we’ve got a thriving network of initiatives meeting the needs of our communities in ways that put people, and our environment, first.

Around the world, activity like this is known as the solidarity economy. In many cities and countries – from New York City to Barcelona, and from Mali to Brazil – solidarity economy initiatives play a fundamental role in people’s lives.

In New York City, a group of people came together to create a map of their solidarity economy, and this map has helped to make their city’s communities more onnected, their projects and initiatives stronger, and has helped more people to be able to access the products and services they need in ethical and sustainable ways.

We’ve been exploring whether creating a map in Oxford is similarly helpful for our communities.

A big part of SEA’s mission is to make the solidarity economy in the UK stronger, and to encourage more people to find out about it and support in their local area. Our Mapping the Solidarity Economy in Oxford pilot project is about celebrating what’s important in our city’s communities, and showing how all the different projects, initiatives and organisations are helping to create a more just and sustainable world.

Together, we are creating an alternative economy based on cooperation and self-determination, which empowers everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender or background, and which cares about the health and well-being of people and the planet.

Our longer-term vision is also to show how the solidarity economy that exists in communities, cities and regions in the United Kingdom is part of a much larger movement of people around the world, all working to transform our economic system into a system that works for all.

Download our Pilot Project Report

More info here

What we learned from the 10th ILO SSE Academy

by Elena Tzamouranou, DOCK (Greece)

Several members of Ripess Europe participated in the 10th edition of the ILO Academy on SSE that was held in Turin, Italy, from the 3rd to the 7th June 2019. We expanded our knowledge on frameworks and discussed SSE and the Future of Work along with over 100 people from all around the world responsible for the promotion of SSE, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers and representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations.

Some insight on the issues addressed

The very well organized and diverse program included discussions about policies in different countries and contexts, challenges and opportunities, study visits, but also how the social and solidarity economy relates to social and environmental issues, such as the care, informal, green, rural economy and gender equality.

The main three key topics addressed and linked to social solidarity economy were:

  • Future of work
  • Human-in-command approach to technology
  • Social inclusion of vulnerable groups

What we’ve learned

Admitting each session and discussion included useful information and conclusions, we’ve chosen to focus on some points that we consider to be fundamental:

  • As emerged from several cases two pre-conditions have to be met in order for SSE to be visible and develop on a national level: related legislation and supporting financial instruments
  • SSE development on a national level is significant but not sufficient enough. It also requires the involvement of local authorities, as many cities experience a transition in their social and economic landscape. Examples of the different local realities are the cities of: Milan (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Guro (Seoul), and Kef (Tunisia)
  • The issue on defining SSE remains up-to-date and is always a subject of creative debate! Following four possibilities on defining SSE were pointed out from Marcelo Vieta:
    • Accommodates to the capitalist system; fills in gaps due to dwindling state and growing inequalities (neoliberal view)
    • Reforms or mitigates capitalist system (social-democratic view)
    • Rethinks and re-configures socio-economic life (revolutionary view)
    • Already existing community activities and assets, growing the SSE as a plurality of the economy in ”diverse economies” (see: Elgue,2015; J.K. Gibson-Graham, 2005; Miller, 2010; EURICSE; EMES; CIRIEC, etc.)

To read our view on Convergences and Differences in Concepts, Definitions and Frameworks, please visit: http://www.ripess.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/RIPESS_Vision-Global_EN.pdf

  • The importance of education and training in SSE and SSE-related subjects was pointed out as a need by the majority of the participants in different occasions during the 10th ILO Academy.
  • Another point is if the private sector could play a positive role in transforming the socio-economic model. Some examples in collaborating across the boundaries of private and non-private sector were presented. Could such examples form sustainable models or how imperative are such collaborations remains open to discuss in future.

Conclusion

SSE doesn’t guarantee that everything will be right (Jean Fabre)! Indeed, as we pointed out during the ILO Academy in numerous occasions, working in a different way, having co-ownership and self-management is a imperative, but this alone doesn’t change the socio-economic paradigm. We need to shift the focus from the enterprise to the community and think in a completely different way (as Jason Nardi pointed out).

How does a successful initiative or cooperative look like? Do we define success by the numbers of members? Do we define success by the profit generated the previous year? Sustainability is not only on being profitable today, but it’s on being sustain on economic, social and environmental terms. We need to redefine success. Success can and should be defined by the social change, the social outcomes and social impact accomplished through the economic activity.

Moreover we need to concentrate on communities: on the needs of the territory, on how to transform our economies on each different context and not to take a blueprint that comes from an unspecified model of the market. Only then can we really change the paradigm from a growth market oriented paradigm to a community well being and that is the real transformation we are looking forward.

The ILO academy was organized by the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITCILO). Partners: Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprise (EURICSE), International Centre of Research on Social and Cooperative Economy (CIRIEC), and Fondazione Italia Sociale.

To access the materials of the 10th edition of the ILO Academy on SSE please visit: http://ssecollectivebrain.net/2019/06/07/materials-of-the-10th-ilo-academy-on-sse-turin-presentations-videos-photos-publications-etc/

International conference launched by UNTFSSE on the role of SSE in the implementation of the SDGs
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From 24 to 26 June 2019, RIPESS was in Geneva (Switzerland) to attend this important international conference where participants discussed the results and role of the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

How can the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs)? Can local SSE projects have an impact on global development? The answers to these and many other questions were discussed at the International Conference RIPESS members presented several papers and organized the parallel session “Building the SSE movement from local to global”.

It was an opportunity to explain the alternative development model advocated by RIPESS, as well as the process of global convergence that is currently being promoted with the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies 2020.

And then we had two presentations from RIPESS members. First, Yvon Poirier of RIPESS North America presented the case study “Association for Sarva Seva Farms – ASSEFA-India: 50 Years of Sustainable Development”. You can consult the complete document here

Then, Denison Jayasooria, President of ASEC – RIPESS Asia, presented “Community Forestry Projects in Malaysia: People’s Participation in the Implementation of the ISF”. The full document is available here

The second day began with a presentation by Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, Community Supported Agriculture around the world and member of the RIPESS Board of Directors, entitled “How Community Supported Agriculture contributes to the realisation of Solidarity Economy in the SDGs”. It showed the deep ramifications that are possible in the specific sector of agriculture supported by the community and SWM. The full text of the article can be found here.

In the closing session, RIPESS members Judith, Denison and Laura Cicciarelli highlighted the main messages of the past two days with the OECD and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

Overall, the evaluation made at the closing session was that, throughout the two-day conference, the contribution of SSE to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was highlighted in the case studies presented.

For the future, it was agreed that the UNTFSSE, to which RIPESS actively contributes, should transmit messages from the field and prepare to work on a UN resolution on #ESS.

You can find the videos of the various sessions #SSE4SDGS on the Facebook page of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

DOCK (Greece) becomes an official support center for SSE

Since April 2019, DOCK along with 16 other SSE entities in Greece are functioning as official support centers for SSE, an action funded by the Greek government and the EU.

The main objective of this action is to provide free services to people or entities who want to develop economic activity in the field of SSE either by giving general info and introductory documentation to those interested or through support and personalized counseling for organizations already economically active in SSE.

Having already supported ten of these SSE initiatives and groups of people at the stage of the initial idea, the aim during the implementation of this action is to contribute in making SSE more visible by strengthening and enhancing the SSE practices and the actors behind them.

10th ILO Academy : from the Future of Work to changing the economy through SSE

By Nora Inwinkl / Solidarius Italia

The 10th International Labour Organisation Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Turin from the 3rd to the 7th June. It was been co-organised by the International Labour Organisation, celebrating its first century of existence this year. Looking at the Future of Work, it was an opportunity given to people interested or already engaged in the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of workers and employers’ organisations to exchange on the need to impact the economy through SSE in a sustainable perspective. More than 100 people from all the world were involved (except for Oceania), carrying their different knowledge, traditions, cultures, frameworks and needs. Thanks to an agreement with the organisers, four members of the RIPESS Europe network from Portugal, Greece and Italy were able to attend, as well as Beatrice Alain (Chantier de l’Economie sociale, Quebec) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS coordinator) who were among the invited speakers.

The core of the Academy reflected our market and labour situation, focusing on the challenges we are facing in several fields: economy, technology, environment, climate change, democracy, participation, and others. Despite the diversity of participants, both in terms of origins and in terms of career orientations, everybody agreed on one specific and essential point: the system we are living in is not sustainable at all and the solutions promoted by various governments and the main stakeholders are not relevant. For this reason, the Academy put forward several important issues comprising different form of enterprises and/or organisations of the SSE (SSEEOs – Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organisations), the legal framework existing or that could be promoted in the different countries both at the local and national level, financial mechanisms and tools, and many others.

The report entitled « Work for a Brighter Future » written by the Global Commission on the Future of Work served as an illustration of the advocated work model. That is is a « human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice».

It is important to move from the local scale and, particularly, from the local expertise and practices, highlighting the specificities of each territory. During these five days, many practitioners presented their initiatives and their experiences, sharing knowledge and different form of innovation and receiving several comments and suggestions. Different experiences developed in different territories but all guided from similar values and principals, those of the SSE paradigm, enhanced in contrast with the neoliberal one.

The importance of the “practices” has been highlighted together with the study fields, organised during the second day in the cities of Turin, Ivrea and Cuneo. It gave the opportunity to the participants to discover the implementation of SSE through virtuous experiences.

There is still a long way to go and probably one of the things that have to be improved is the construction of a common vocabulary and a common framework to implement and develop SSE in a transversal and transectorial way. It is important to work in both direction: the bottom-up, implementing and supporting local initiatives, and the top down, working with the local and national authorities in promoting SSE laws and policies. Thus, as a participant said during the closing plenary, we need to work on “SSE in all policies”.

« Moving towards a new economic system » : RIPESS Europe at the 7th CIRIEC International Research Conference

This year’s conference of CIRIEC took place in Bucharest, Romania from the 6th-9th June 2019 with an ambitious title : « Moving towards a new Economic system ». CIRIEC  (International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy) is a network of international scientific and research organizations, set up in 1947.

Dražen Šimleša, our network coordinator, represented RIPESS Europe in several sessions as well as in the International Scientific Commission “Social and Cooperative Economy” of CIRIEC and participated in the meeting that took place before the official opening of the conference.

It was a special occasion since for the first time the conference was organised in Central Eastern Europe, a region of the continent which has its own historical challenges and opportunities for SSE, given the fact that Social and Solidarity Economy brings in a new paradigm of governance founded on democracy and participation.

The participants discussed about the role of SSE and the current global challenges, with a ‘transformational vision’, focusing on themes such as workers owned enterprises and the future of decent work, providing food sustainability, sovereignty and access , SSE eco-systems-governance, networks, visibility and policies. Thus, a good place for RIPESS to be among other 250 participants from all over the world.

Hopefully this will bring closer practitioners and social movements activists for SSE with scientific sector that can support us with their researches and analyses.

See the programme and some contributions here.

The 6th Conference of the Regulating for Decent Work : “Work and well-being in the 21st century”

By Laura Aufrère

The RDW conference in 2017 explored some of the key dimensions which have impacted the world of work. The 2019 RDW conference will continue to focus on the future of work, to advance our understanding of what innovative institutions and transformative policies could help in ensuring a more equitable and just society. In their papers, contributors are invited to propose new ideas and policies that could help the global community in shaping a better future of work with a focus on: (i) transitions and transformations in the world of work; (ii) rethinking capitalism; (iii) well-being in the world of work; and (iv) building and renewing institutions: a social contract for the 21st century. This conference will contribute to the global debates during the International Labour Office (ILO)’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

Members of RIPESS Europe will participate to this conference, sharing analysis regarding the major contribution of SSE to the future of decent work, facing the environmental-capitalocene crisis, and the challenge of building solidarity between generations (some parts or the world becoming structurally older, some younger).

Following RIPESS Europe contribution for the open call regarding the development of the European Social Pillar of Social Rights, some element that will be communicated during that conference will be published in the next RIPESS Europe newsletter.

Link: www.ilo.org/rdw2019

The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies. Promoting synergies

By Josette Combes

The preparatory meeting for the WSFTE was held in Barcelona on 5, 6 and 7 April 2019. It brought together more than 300 people from all over the world, more than half of whom came naturally from Catalonia and Spain. For RIPESS international members from Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and more from Europe (18 countries represented), this meeting was an excellent opportunity to share their experiences with people working in other parts of the world and in very diverse fields.

There were representatives of structures dedicated to the development of municipalities, the defence of agro-ecology, the promotion of eco-feminism, ecohousing, social currencies and ethical finance, popular education, alternative media and, of course, social and solidarity economy networks.
The place was well suited for this meeting. The Aula Magna University in Barcelona offered suitable rooms and above all an outdoor space conducive to informal exchanges during meals. The animation of the many workshops was very structured and but too vague at times. The participants sometimes considered that what was proposed for reflection pre-formatted the course of the debates a little too much. It must be recognized that the ambition of the meeting required that it be planned. The whole thing gave the impression of a promising potential but one that lacked the space and time to deploy further.

This test run augurs well for a series of rich interactions but also shows the difficulties in establishing the convergences that are essential to ensure a future for the species living on the planet, an increasingly important part of which is threatened with extinction, and ultimately the human species itself. Even if a certain awareness is beginning to grow, especially among the younger generations, it is urgent to gather all the energies to shift the current economic paradigms from a mad rush to profit towards a rational management of resources and a better social and ecological balance. All the parameters mentioned above will allow this fundamental change of direction.
All these dimensions, worked on by groups in a way that is still too often considered marginal or experimental, are still fragmented. Together, they form a coherent holistic approach in which each party can consider itself a legitimate actor. It is not only a question of fighting against but also of proposing concrete, current and effective actions, capable, through their demonstration, of attracting the support of a larger mass of people who will themselves become actors of change. Finally, these meetings, by providing an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and know-how, contribute to strengthening the determination of the activists of all these networks and in a context where threats from authoritarian governments are increasing, this last point is far from being superfluous.
To achieve its objective, the WSFTE must adopt a more “intercultural” approach that better articulates the networks that were present this spring in Barcelona, so that all those who have visited it feel really empowered.

Resources for June 2019 (in collaboration with socioeco.org)

In the framework of the 100th anniversary of ILO, we have decided to show which ILO documents related to SSE are referenced on socioeco.org.

We can divide them in 6 main blocks . We present a few examples in the different langages of what is there and invite you to visit the ILO page on socioeco.org:

ILO Position papers on SSE

ILO SSE Academy readers

Every year, – the 10th edition is being hold in this moment-, ILO helds a SSE academy : The Academy targets people responsible for the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers and representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations.. For example :

A radio series on SSE

A Public Policies for the SSE series

Cooperatives

Illustrated by The Story of the ILO’s Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No.193) A review of the process of making ILO Recommendation No. 193, its implementation and its impact (see the original recommandation here), you will find 5 subsections for coops :

1. Legislation  on coops:

2. The role of coops

3. Contribution of cooperatives to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (12 up to now)

4. Pedagogical tools :

5. Issues tackled by cooperatives : migrants, child care, informal economy, agriculture, youth employment, waste management, relations with trade unions, clean energy, finance, etc.

Have a good reading !

NESI Forum 2019: from 2030 to today
NESI Forum_ giant_map

RIPESS supported and participated in the Second NESI Forum, which took place from 24 to 26 April in Malaga, Spain. The event focused on the UN’s SDGs and how to create a world where they will be effectively implemented by 2030.

Six main axes were developed during the Forum: the future of finance, the future of energy, the future of urban planning and housing, food sovereignty and agro-ecology, the future of work, sustainable textiles.

Drazen Simlesa participated as a representative of RIPESS Europe and was one of the main contributors in the field of food sovereignty and agro-ecology.

With 500 participants from all over the world, the NESI Forum is one of the most important gatherings of individuals and organizations involved in the development of new economies.

The workshops were particularly interesting as a Horizon model, so that each sector could map the current challenges, determine the direction we want to give by 2030 and finally what we need to achieve it.

More info: NESI Forum

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