This year again during the Avignon Festival, UFISC is offering several highlights, meetings, workshops and training sessions on July 11, 15 and 17 in the ISTS room, as part of the Maison des professionnels du Spectacle Vivant and the Village des professionnels du OFF, including a special event organized in conjunction with the Collectif pour démarche de progrès par les droits culturels and Opale CRDLA-Culture.
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).
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”.
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.
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.
This year’s conference focuses on how REScoops and local authorities can transform communities through collaboration and features European REScoops, local authorities (including cities and municipalities) and a bunch of local stakeholders from the RIPESS network, the Compile project and the wider Balkan region.
This 3-day conference will take place in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday 30th of May, Friday 31st of May and Saturday 1st of June 2019. The international conference on day 1 and 2 will coincide with the 6th General Assembly of REScoop.eu on day 3.
We start the conference on day 1 with a plenary session about Energy Remunicipalisation and a guided tour through Zagreb for REScoop.eu members.
On day 2, REScoops and municipalities will present information on how to accelerate the energy transition at the local level. European stakeholders will explain how citizen energy communities are organised in their respective countries and best practices of innovative collaboration between REScoops and local authorities in the Balkan region and beyond will be showcased. Finally, during several interactive sessions participants will be able to share thoughts and ideas
On day 3, more interactive workshop sessions will be organised, followed by REScoop.eu’s General Assembly
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
Authors : Benoît Borrits, Bruno Della Sudda, Christian Mahieux et Richard Neuville | 25 Apr 2019 | Événements, Vie de l’association
Article of Association Auogestion
The articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism at the heart of the 3rd meeting of the “Workers’Economy”.
From 12 to 14 April, the third Euro-Mediterranean meeting “The Workers’ Economy” was held in Milan. About 200 people participated, with parity between men and women and a fair number of young people. This process was initiated about ten years ago by the Faculta Abierta program of the University of Buenos Aires, which studies and supports companies that are recovered by their workers. By denying the owners the right to close a company or to dispose of the production tool and by resuming production without a boss in a self-managed form, these workers prefigure another economy, democratic and without shareholders. The objective of these meetings is to bring together workers from these companies, researchers and activists from different countries over a few days.
Having started from Latin America, this process is now being translated into continental and global meetings. This Euro-Mediterranean edition is the third after Marseille (Fralib/scop-Ti) in 2014 and Thessaloniki (Vio.me) in 2016. It was held in Rimaflow, a former automotive supplier factory converted into various ecological and social activities. It brought together participants from about ten countries: Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kurdistan, Germany, Russia (and also Brazil and Argentina). These meetings made it possible to discuss various themes such as the notion of conflict mutualism, promoted by the Rimaflows and the Fuori Mercato network (Outside the market), a trade unionism without borders and embracing the whole social field; agroecology and the relations between rural and urban movements; social reproduction in self-managed experiences and union work; the recovery of the “public”, the “commons” from a self-management perspective; self-managed production and self-management of distribution; the articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism; welfare from below; economic autonomy to overcome gender violence.
Prefiguring an economy free of bosses and shareholders, we can consider that the presence of trade union organisations would be obvious: should the outcome of social demands not lead to this perspective? From this point of view, the presence of organisations such as the Union Syndicale Solidaires or the Spanish CGT is an essential support in the development of this process. It is regrettable that too few self-managed companies are currently included in these meetings. It will undoubtedly be essential to redefine the objectives so that they are more present; this is an issue, particularly in France.
Euro-Mediterranean meetings, a prefiguration of a Europe of workers, a Europe turned towards the southern shore of the Mediterranean? The next edition should take place in 2021 in Andalusia, organised in particular by the comrades of SOC/SAT and CGT; in September 2019, the 7th international meeting will be held in Sao Paulo.
L’Association pour l’autogestion, le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologieet leféminisme (AAAEF) et l’Union syndicale Solidaires were present in Milan, as part of the joint work within the Network Getting Together for Empowerment1.
1 This Network brings together l’Association Autogestion (AA), l’Association des communistes unitaires (ACU), les Amis de Tribune socialiste (ATS), Cerises la coopérative, l’Observatoire des mouvements de la société (OMOS), le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologie et le féminisme (AAAEF), le Temps des lilas et l’Union syndicale Solidaires.
Sustainability measurement and reporting has much improved in recent decades, but is it fit for purpose for 21st century challenges and for the SDGs? This international conference held on June 3 and 4, in Geneva, will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders from UN agencies, national policy making bodies and practitioners in the measurement and reporting fields to discuss best practices, key concerns, and ways forward that take better account of the social dimensions of sustainable development.
Interview with Jason Nardi, RIPESS Intercontinental Coordinator, about the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies (WSFTE) that starts this week in Barcelona.
Written by Gabriel Boichat, RIPESS.
The first meeting of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies (WSFTE 2020) will be held in Barcelona from 5th to 7th April. This will allow us to establish the basis of the process that will take us until May 2020, when the main meeting will be held.
RIPESS, as the International Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy, is one of the three networks promoting this process, together with the Network of Alternative and Solidarity Economy Networks of Spain (REAS) and the Catalan Network of Solidarity Economy (XES).
We interviewed Jason Nardi, Coordinator of RIPESS Intercontinental, to ask him why RIPESS decided to promote the WSFTE 2020, the objectives pursued and what opportunities present themselves for RIPESS to participate in the process.
Why is RIPESS one of the promoters of the WSFTE 2020?
RIPESS is a network made up of various networks, platforms, campaigns and very heterogeneous initiatives from all around the world. The different countries and continents all have experiences that identify as Social Solidarity Economy (SSE). Some are more focused on the community aspect, others on the business side of local and cooperative development, while others are oriented towards caring for people, defending rights and nature, and how we can rethink the economy to preserve the environment and habitat and promote a more dignified and freer life.
This is why RIPESS, as a coordinating structure is open to the different ways of interpreting another economy, to meeting and working together with other visions and other alternative movements to the dominant neoliberal market economy, that is the opposite of all the values we represent.
We have seen how many times there are not only common struggles, but complementarities and possibilities to cooperate to build a stronger voice that can multiply and be recognized as a plural voice of citizens trying to build another society in different spaces of dialogue with other movements.
What is the starting point of the WSFTE 2020?
There is a need to move to another level. Not necessarily to build the economic growth of solidarity economy activities, although this can also be the case, but rather an intellectual growth, a growth of experience, a growth in our capacity to influence society.
So, a forum like this is an attempt to create an open space between those who are practicing another economy. Not just imagining, not just theorizing. It is not a meeting of heterodox economists, but between networks and experiences that are practicing another economy.
Why is a process like the WSFTE 2020 necessary for movements that create a different economy?
For RIPESS, the idea of convergence has been the basis of our strategic approach in recent years. RIPESS is a daughter of the convergence of social movements, such as the World Social Forum or other spaces between movements that fight for food sovereignty at the United Nations and among the different ways of valuing traditions and social innovation.
But there are not many of these global spaces to share struggles and proposals, campaigns and solutions. And it is not easy to organize them because each initiative, each network, each organization has its structure, its own culture, its approach to participation, and sometimes, if a space is not perceived as open and welcoming, people do not participate.
This is what happened to the World Social Forum, which began as a real space for sharing global struggles between very local movements with a strong political focus. However, due to the lack of capacity to organize these spaces, it has become a space that is neither a movement nor a real place of convergence.
What was missing then?
There was a lack of a more specific approach that reached beyond recognizing that we have shared global problems. We are already building solutions we can mutualize using an open source community approach, and we have to work to overcome the existing difficulties in organizing these spaces.
In fact, I see RIPESS as an agent provocateur. We can see more and more different sectors that identify with SSE in the networks that we are involved with around the world. This is not because our SSE principles have changed or expanded, but because they are the producers and, above all, consumers who are increasingly aware of the interconnection between the different levels.
The WSFTE 2020 is therefore a very important opportunity to practice alternative networking, business, community and the care for people and planet that characterise SSE. We believe that this approach to networking and convergence can be transferred to other spaces and this is our contribution.
How can different worldviews be integrated into SSE?
I believe that we must allow ourselves to be open and positive in our attitude to the innovations that have grown enormously in various parts of the world in recent years. The proposals from feminist economies, for example that are not just a demand for gender justice, but a different worldview of how to organize society, work, care, the relationship between people, etc.
This needs to be integrated into and become part of a vision of SSE, not only because it is a principle, a fundamental right, but also because it is part of the solution.
Something similar happens with indigenous visions of how to organize a resilient economy, respectful of mother earth and its sacredness, which although not religious in the Western sense of the term, is understood as a cosmovision. This broader and more global vision is a very important contribution to all the initiatives that we promote every day through cooperatives of people who work together in a horizontal approach.
The WSFTE 2020 is holding this first big event this week in Barcelona. What is going to happen from now on?
The Forum is part of the more general process of the WSF: social movements are the basis of transformation and also because we do not want to create a new network of networks or a new political movement – which does not mean that we do not include a political approach in our work.
The goal is therefore to create a space that allows a strategic exchange of co-construction with a process that has a long-term vision. And the Forum is a moment in time of this process; it will be built with the contributions of many, and with some clear guidance.
And what is the purpose?
The main focus here is convergence. Why convergence? To define is the minimum common denominator multiplier that will allows us to build a common action agenda, as defined by Carlos Askunze.
If this process really works, as we hope it will, in 2020, after a year of virtual interaction at international level and of local or translocal convergence, we aim to formulate a proposal that will be validated during the Forum, It will be a kind of political programme created by a movement of movements, a plural movement. This is the real aim of this process.
How does RIPESS aim to participate in the Forum and the process? How will it work?
We will be present to contribute, but above all to enjoy meeting other organisations that can contribute to our work on issues to which we are already committed, such as gender, local and international public policies, the media, and how to localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), among others.
At the same time, we will try to provide a specific perspective on the reorganization of economic activities and services and the value chain. If we really want to transform the economy, we not only have to produce differently, more ecologically, with emphasis on more human rights, we also have to rethink the relationship between production and consumption, and how the distribution of wealth can be transformed.
This implies rethinking public and public-community systems. For example, what formula can we apply where there are services that have been privatized, bearing in mind that we do not want them to be completely controlled by the State either. Or how we can economically re-imagine international trade, migrations or relations between communities that are not in the same bioregion.
I believe that this is part of the RIPESS Global Vision and we can therefore contribute our ideas and formulas from the approach of a solidarity economy of liberation. Euclides Mance defends the idea that, contrary to what is happening today where the economy is a modality of control and submission, the economy can still be a means of liberation.
Finally, the WSFTE 2020 is also an opportunity for RIPESS to renew itself, to rethink itself, to come into contact with new realities, with organizations and new territories. This is therefore a great opportunity to discover, to contribute and to become known as network that promotes a movement for another economy.