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INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES, Córdoba, december 6-7
The Telegraph

The INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES will take place on 6 and 7 December in Cordoba.

The III Solidarity Economy Congress announced for these dates has become an open appointment to experiences from other countries thanks to the willingness of the promoters to give this space a larger dimension, encompassing international references and relating to transforming economies with a transnational perspective.

Organized by REAS Andalusia and the University of Cordoba, the meeting will focus on analyzing, disseminating and relating transformative economic practices that are not only possible and alternatives but for many are already in the process of realization and able to demonstrate the validity of proposals that place people at the center of their development as protagonists of the economy. Related to each other because we share values and a common ethic that prevails over the intention of profit, the transforming economies will meet in Cordoba at the end of the year to become entangled with agents of SSE, public administrations, NGOs and with developing sectors, entrepreneurship, culture, education and people interested in making the economy a motor of social change towards more human coexistence, a fairer distribution and a transformed world from the sustainability of the environment and the care for life.

More info at:
Área de Cooperación y Solidaridad – Universidad de Córdoba
formacion.desarrollo@uco.es – (+34) 957 21 20 29
www.economiasolidaria.org/encuentro2018

UN poverty expert warns against tsunami of unchecked privatisation

Extract of UN displaynews

NEW YORK (19 October 2018) –  Widespread privatisation of public goods in many societies is systematically eliminating human rights protections and further marginalising those living in poverty, according to a new report.

Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, criticised the extent to which the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and even the UN itself have aggressively promoted widespread privatisation of basic services, without regard to the human rights implications or the consequences for the poor. He also criticised human rights groups for not responding strongly enough to the resulting challenges.

“Privatising the provision of criminal justice, social protection, prisons, education, basic healthcare and other essential public goods cannot be done at the expense of throwing rights protections out of the window,” Alston said.

“States can’t dispense with their human rights obligations by delegating core services and functions to private companies on terms that they know will effectively undermine those rights for some people.”

He noted that while “proponents present privatisation as a technical solution for managing resources and reducing fiscal deficits, it has actually become an ideology of governance that devalues public goods, public spaces, compassion and a range of other values that are essential for a decent society.

“While privatisation’s proponents insist that it saves money, enhances efficiency, and improves services, the real world evidence very often challenges or contradicts these claims,” Alston said.

Privatisation is premised on fundamentally different assumptions from those that underpin respect for human rights, such as dignity and equality, he said. It inevitably prioritises profit, and sidelines considerations such as equality and non-discrimination. Rights-holders are transformed into clients, and those who are poor, needy, or troubled are marginalised or excluded. Human rights criteria are absent from almost all privatisation agreements, which rarely include provisions for sustained monitoring of their impact on service provision and the poor.

“Existing human rights accountability mechanisms are clearly inadequate for dealing with the challenges of large-scale and widespread privatisation,” Alston said. “The human rights community can no longer ignore the consequences of privatisation and needs to radically reconsider its approach.”

Human rights actors should start by reclaiming the moral high ground and reasserting the central role of concepts such as equality, society, the public interest, and shared responsibilities, while challenging the assumption that privatisation should be the default approach. “The human rights community needs to develop new methods that systematically confront the broader implication of widespread privatisation and ensure that human rights and accountability are at the centre of privatisation efforts,” Alston said.

There appear to be no limits to what states have privatised, he said. Public institutions and services across the world have been taken over by private companies dedicated to profiting from key parts of criminal justice systems and prisons, dictating educational priorities and approaches, deciding who will receive health interventions and social protection, and choosing what infrastructure will be built, where, and for whom, often with harsh consequences for the most marginalised. “There is a real risk that the waves of privatisation experienced to date will soon be followed by a veritable tsunami,” Alston said.

Privatisation of social protection often leads to a focus on economic efficiency concerns that aim to minimise time spent per client, close cases earlier, generate fees wherever possible, and cater to those better-off, pushing those with less resources and more complex problems to the margins.

 

New energies, and a new team in the URGENCI International Committee

Press Release, 12 November 2018

Over 300 URGENCI International Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) network delegates representing over 2 million members from all over the world have just spent three days gathered in Thessaloniki (Greece) for the 7th Urgenci International CSA network meeting, as well as the 4th European gathering and the 2nd Mediterranean Network meeting.

The first day was devoted to three international tracks, covering food justice and solidarity economy, advocacy, and practitioners topics.

These tracks were carried over into the second day which included 30 different workshops on the above, as well as dedicated tracks for the Mediterranean network, Community Supported Fisheries, a beginner’s track, experience sharing, network building, training and social justice. The broad alliances and coalitions that URGENCI has built over several years were echoed in many sessions, as was the need for improved communication on all our many achievements and work.

The rich contents and enthusiasm as well as open-mindedness and respect were all reflected in the third day’s work dedicated to URGENCI’s General Assembly, where a new three-year plan was drawn up. This is also a reflection of the coming of age of URGENCI as a globally recognised social movement and of the increasingly democratic and participatory governance.

The General Assembly also considered how to ensure financial stability through a new membership fee structure that will allow the network to withstand the pressures of potential project shortfalls and financial crises that could result from the current project-based model, and build a new approach was adopted to progressively build collective resilience.

The freshly elected International Committee is a good reflection of URGENCI’s will to continue to grow as an even more inclusive and collective effort. It is a younger and more diverse team than ever before, while still reflecting the producer-consumer as well as gender balance that are also part of Urgenci’s core values. It includes Judith Hitchman (Ireland), and Shi Yan (China) as co-presidents, Isa Alvarez (Spain) as vice-president, and Denis Carel (France), Ariel Molina (Brazil), Qiana Mickie (US), Veikko Heinz (Germany), Simon Todzro (Togo), and Shimpei Murakami (Japan). Zsofia Perenyi (Hungary) was re-elected as Special Expert on Education and Training. The spontaneous creation of a new Special Representative for Community Supported Fisheries is the mirror of the strong enthusiasm and determination to build a sister network under the URGENCI banner on this theme. Community Supported Fisheries are already well developed in North America, and are increasingly recognised in Europe! And Elizabeth Henderson (US) will also continue as URGENCI’s Honorary President.

The new work plan includes specific focus on each continent, with key topics that will develop into new project proposals and actions in the course of the next three years.

All this work was made possible by the dedicated Steering Committee and the local team of AGROECOPOLIS led by Jenny Gkiougki. Many side activities were led, ranging from some very beautiful artwork that consisted of printing postcards to be sent to the FAO, customising t-shirts, and a seed mandala-seed swap. The meeting was also supported by a group of 20 volunteer professional interpreters, and the COATI alternative interpretation systems team, who made the communication possible. They are key actors in all major social movement meetings, and help make our work across borders possible!

A Colombian delegation In Occitania (France)

By Bérénice Dondeyne, Co-President MES Occtianie, member of the RIPESS Europe Coordination Committee

Présenation artisanat Colombie

 

Following the GSEF in Bilbao, the Movement for the Solidarity Economy Occitania welcomed with great pleasure a Colombian delegation from 7 to 12 October 2018! Meetings with elected officials and field workers were organized by Denis Coutens and Bérénice Dondeyne, co-chairs. Colombia enjoys extraordinary ecological diversity and has natural reserves in the Amazon recognized by UNESCO. A lot of exchanges around a local agriculture of quality guaranteeing food self-sufficiency and articulated around a rural citizen community of “farmers”! Engaged in a peace process with FARC, Colombia is entering a new phase in which the Social and Solidarity Economy occupies a central place. Cooperatives are already shaping a new relationship to the “commons”, to land and property and, of course, to the distribution of wealth. Thanks to partners such as Alfredo Cadena, CODEMA y PROVIVIENDA, César Díaz, CIMA (Cumbre de los pueblos del Macizo), Julián Díaz, Asociación Campesinos Putumayo, Mario Anatole Vega, ProComún, Turismo del Común, we have discovered a range of natural and organic products, products of excellence with high nutritional and culinary value (seeds, oils, beans….) or plant handicrafts for which a distribution channel can be considered here in the Occitania region (France). Initial contacts have been made. To be continued….

 

Thank you to La Région Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée O’Saveurs-Paysannes Ville d’Albi Artisans du Monde Toulouse MIRAMAP Lycée Fonlabour Albi who all put responsible agriculture and food at the heart of their concerns. This trip is part of the dynamic that our Ripess and Ripess Europe networks are driving. The Delegation was accompanied by the Fabrica, a social innovation cooperative in Barcelona (Dorys Ardila/Josep Maria Navarro), Intaini, a Franco-Colombian NGO (Amparo Theret in Toulouse supported the inter-knowledge between Occitan and Colombian actors).

O'Saveurs Paysannes Bienvenida

 

Thessaloniki, Greece: Community Supported Agriculture beyond borders
Urgenci Thessaloniki

We are local small-scale peasant farmers and eaters engaged in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a direct partnership where the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming are shared.

CSA is part of our daily experience of creating a genuine alternative to the current economic system, where the decision-making power of food production and distribution is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few financial investors. But we believe even more is at stake.

We believe CSA is a prefiguration of the new social contract between food producers and the communities they are feeding. The European Declaration of CSA, adopted at the last European meeting in September 2016 is a decisive step forward in sharing our proposals. It is a roadmap.

The European CSA movement has come a long way, but much work still remains to be done. Where do we stand when we look at our initial promises? Saving farms, fostering local economies and jobs that cannot be relocated, healing social and environmental wounds, repairing the broken links between different communities, rebuilding social cohesion: what are our achievements? What are our remaining and new key challenges?

The meeting is scheduled to take place 9-11 November 2018 in Thessaloniki.

More information at : https://thessaloniki.urgenci.net/about/

Russia: in Saint Petersburg, building solidarities with local initiatives
Saint Petersburg

[By Laura Aufrere, member of RIPESS Europe coordination committee]

During the last RIPESS Europe General Assembly in Zagreb, we had the chance to meet Olga Polyakova, representing TRAVA, a vibrant Russian collective organising peer to peer trainings and meetings, food collecting and cooking happening, tours in Saint Petersbourg, a responsible consumption guide, etc. Thanks to Olga, at the end of September, I had the chance to be welcomed in the warm apartment on Kanonersky island, shared with Gleb and Olga.

Considered as the 16th Republic of the (ex) USSR for its geographic independence, this beautiful island stands out from the rest of the city, patching together a major harbor, its industries and warehouses, apartment blocks, children playgrounds, and promenades. This diversity in the landscape is bound together in a common sound-panorama composed by the wind and the harbor rumors. With the help of many of Olga’s friends in Saint Petersbourg, including TRAVA members, we spent together a whole week of encounter with local initiatives, and there are many. Olga toured me in this beautiful city, explaining the history of the buildings and street names. We passed by the Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Center to pay tribute to Russia’s “biggest Beatles fan”, Kolya Vasin, who became a prominent figure of the underground scene in the 1960s. We visited a charity chop, and many collective initiatives to discuss solidarity economy issues to be shared in future common projects. We were told stories of collective adventures of self-managed cafés, restaurants, etc.

I was invited to present RIPESS Europe perspective on the future of work regarding the digital transformation during the Fall Meeting, organized by the German-Russian Exchange, on the topic “How Is European Labour Changing: organization of work, working spaces and times, new professions and adaptation of education, solidarity economy “. With the other speakers Anja Abendroth (University of Bielefeld, Germany) and Margarita Kuleva, Higher School of Economics, (St. Petersburg, Russia), we had the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues that are shared at a European level by many independent initiatives, with our Russian peers. The French Institute also gave me the opportunity to give a lecture on the “New organisational models in the artistic and cultural field: how to organise the creation processes in common and for the common”, as part of the program of research on urban renewal in Saint Petersburg. This week spent in Saint Petersbourg opened so many warm and welcoming relations, and connectionfor future projects.

WSF of Transformative economies 2019-2020: update about the process
October 15, 2018
0
Economias Transformadoras

Last July we officially presented the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies in Barcelona and ever since we have been working starting with the networks of social solidarity econompromoting this initiative: XES, Catalan solidarity economy network; REAS, Network of networks of Spanish alternative and solidarity economies, and RIPESS, Intercontinental network of social solidarity economy.

The Forum aims to be a process of confluence between the local and the international spheres of different alter-economic approaches, which we call Transformative economiesAs you may read in the first Callsome local movements have already begun their meetings to establish priorities, agendas and objectives, mapping of organizations and confluences at local and international level. In parallel, RIPESS has promoted the process through the different membersin all the continents, and we are working with many other international networks and movements through the different approaches to disseminate and articulate the process.

In the last few weeks, we have designed a governance model that will organize the confluences both locally and internationally, in which the different ways of participation and co-promotion are defined. We want this structure to be drawn from the social base of the transformative economies, and that the confluence process will be based on the thematic axes.

We are also working on shared online working tools that will facilitate the confluence at all levels, as well as material and dissemination tools, such us the Forum website and graphic materials, that we will share with you as soon as possible, together with the next steps explaining how to participate in the process that we are just starting. In the meanwhile, do not hesitate to contact us with any doubt, idea or suggestion at forum2020@ripess.org.

Finally, we are happy to present you the new operational team that will be supporting the Forum throughout the process.Itisbasedin Barcelona and composed as of now by 3 people, who facilitate the following working areas:

Coordination: Júlia Granell
International facilitation: Iris Aviñoa
Comunications: Laie Vidiella 

Many thanks and let’s converge!

WSF of Transformative Economies Team

INAISE (solidarity finance) and NENA (Australia) join RIPESS Intercontinental

Just after the GSEF 2018 Forum, the International RIPESS Board of Directors was held, composed of two delegates per continent and representatives of international members such as Urgenci. It should be noted that RIPESS and the GSEF practice cross-membership and that the collaborative links between the two entities have been consolidated. Laurence Kwark, General Delegate of the GSEF, had been invited to participate in the first morning of the meeting. The face-to-face Board of Directors is an annual high point during which the RIPESS strategy is developed at the international level in line with the realities of the continents, which are all different from each other. It is also an opportunity to put faces on the names that circulate on the lists during virtual consultations, an essential part of the network’s cohesion.

One of the elements of complexity is linked to the geographical and demographic scale of the continents and the principle of creating sub-continents (particularly in Asia) to better achieve the objective of spreading practices has been considered. Two new members are joining: INAISE (International Network of SSE Investors) and NENA (New Economy Network Australia) as new focal point for Oceania. A partnership with Quartiers du Monde has also been established.

On communication, an important decision was also been adopted: bringing all websites together within the intercontinental Ripess website, which will allow the use of common grammar and semantics, economies of scale and better intercommunication. Gabriel Boichat, the new RIPESS communication officer, broadcast the two events extensively on social networks.

Rethinking Economics: changing how Economy is taught
Rethinking economics

Last August the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering  took place,  bringing together 75 students and academics from all over the world at La Bergerie de Villarceaux, in France. Representatives of progressive fundations such as the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation, Partners for a New Economy, or the Edge Funders Alliance also attended the meeting to discuss the role of philanthropy in overcoming the current extractivist economic system. Rethinking Economics is an international network of students, academics and professionals that lobbies to overcome neo-liberal economic thinking in society and in the academic curriculum. 

10 years after the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis there seems to be a wide consensus among many different initiatives on the need for the so-called “transformative economies” to converge into a common global agenda. Some of these initiatives that also attended the gathering were the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll), Promoting Economic Pluralism (PEP), Reclaim Our Economy or Finance Watch. Villarceaux was a perfect context to exchange some ideas on how to work togehter effectively and how the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies of Barcelona could be a platform to work on this convergence.  The presentation took place on August 16th and many of the students who were present, showed interest in collaborating with the Forum from the different local organisations they represented.

Through the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, RIPESS, REAS and XES have committed themselves to organising a two year path that will cross through events all around the world that include two meetings in Barcelona, in 2019 and 2020. The official presentation at the Rethinking Economics International Summer Gathering of Villarceaux paves the way of a process that will follow in the next 2 years.

[by Xavi Artigas, XES – Catalan solidarity economy network]

GSEF2018: Bilbao welcomes the Cities promoting SSE

The Capital of the Basque Country – Bilbao – is hosting the 4the edition of the Global Social Economy Forum, GSEF2018, from the 1st to the 3rd of October. The title of the Forum is: ‘Social economy and cities – Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development”. The GSEF that was initiated by the City of Seoul in 2013, in collaboration with its local social economy partners, is an international network that brings together local governments and civil society stakeholders committed to supporting the development of the Social Economy (SE).. In 2016 it took place in Montreal, Canada, and RIPESS participated and became a member. This year the RIPESS delegation is quite large, coming from all continents, and present in several sessions.

REAS – through REAS Euskadi, the local network – has been part of the organising committee and has involved many solidarity economy actors at the local level.

On the 2nd of October, REAS Euskadi, XES and RIPESS are organising a special moment dedicated to present the “Declaration for a transformative Social Solidarity Economy” and the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies.

The programme and key speakers are available on the GSEF website.

 

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