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GA2018: more inter-cooperation and convergence!

In a lively Zagreb filled with people enjoying the world cup festive atmosphere, RIPESS EU – Solidarity Economy Europe celebrated its 7th General Assembly meeting with members from all over the continent, from Spain to Russia. The first day – Friday 15th of June – was dedicated to the “Good Economy Conference” sessions, in the beautiful setting of the Kino Tuskana theater, with a small yet rich and colourful local producer fair and many sessions dedicated to sharing experiences from Croatia, the Balkan region and the rest of Europe.

The dinner party in Zmag’s Recycled Estate Farm – 30 km out of Zagreb – was the most welcoming, convivial and social networking evening there could be, where new members got to know the rest of the RIPESS crowd as well as the great Zmag team.  Pizza and local craft beer, as well as reggae music, helped create a true multicultural atmosphere.

One of the oldest schools in Zagreb, in the old part of town, was the setting for the actual Genera Assembly for an intense day and a half of strategy discussions (on convergence with other alter-economic movements, public policies and SSE, education, peer training and cultural change), elections for the renewal of the coordination committee and admission of new members.  Three new members joined the network: Bio Fair coop from the Czech Republic, Fair Trade Poland and Good Earth cooperative from Macedonia.

One of the main issues discussed was the promotion of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies, a three year process of alliances and convergence with two main events planned to take place in Barcelona in Spring 2019 and 2020.  More to come about it…

The last day was dedicated to foster the inter-cooperation among members, sharing ideas, projects and areas of work where new exchanges and common actions can be discussed and help advance SSE concretely all over Europe as well as at the international level, connecting with the other continental networks of RIPESS.

Last but not least, lunch and dinner were assured by the excellent food prepared by two catering cooperatives, Taste of Home (whose main worker-members are refugees and asylum seekers) and Avocado, with the participation of local “Food not bombs” food recyclers…

No Agroecology without farmers and Conscious Consumers !
April 19, 2018
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The 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology took place at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) headquarters in Rome, 3-5 April 2018.

700 participants, representing Member States, FAO agencies, farmers’ unions, civil society organisations and social movements as well as researchers from all over the world exchanged on their practices and visions of agroecology.

Urgenci, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) raised the voice and the visibility of local solidarity alliances between producers and consumers from all parts of the world. Jointly with the other Civil Society actors from the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, Urgenci supported a clear common message: without women, there is no Agroecology, without small-scale food producers, there is no Agroecology, without conscious consumers, there is no Agroecology.

In their various interventions, Urgenci delegates stressed the importance of the role of conscious consumers in scaling up agroecology:

“A global consumers’ movement exists today. This movement is creative and diverse and stands for a vision of agroecology that is clearly connected to food sovereignty and solidarity economy , said Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, during one of the plenaries.”

Shi Yan, President of the Chinese CSA movement and Vice President of Urgenci shared her experience as a CSA farmer outside Beijing as one of the keynote speakers during the opening session.

Community Supported Agriculture and other types of local solidarity based partnerships between producers and consumers all contribute to many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They should be considered as a central element of the Scaling Up of Agroecology initiative that was unveiled by the FAO.

Nevertheless, several aspects of the implementation of this Scaling up initiative require caution on Urgenci’s part. Especially, that of major investors and large private sector operators who lay claim to agroecology, coopting the principles of peasant agroecology without transparency and accountability. Most importantly, there is a need to tirelessly refer to the fundamental systemic, social, environmental and political changes implied by peasant agroecology.

As the Forum was closing, Simon Todzro, an Urgenci International Committee member from Togo, declared: « Although the FAO scaling up initiative shows a clear paradigm shift, we will continue our own daily work of scaling out, farmer-to-farmer, eater-to-eater dissemination of alternative food partnerships and practicing peasant agroecology on the ground in Africa and around the world ».

By Urgenci, Rome, 5 April 2018.

Farewell professor Paul Singer, promoter of Solidarity Economy
Foto: Agência Brasil
Professor Paul Singer, Austrian economist and tireless promotor of the Solidarity economy in Brazil, died at age 86.  He published several books on the subject and is a reference for studies on local development. His performance in Brazil and his intellectual production yielded him the honored Grand Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria, received in 2009..
From Austria Paul Singer arrived in Brazil in 1940, at the age of eight. At age 20, he worked as an electrotechnician, was affiliated to the Metalworkers Union of São Paulo and had active participation in the 300,000 strike that paralyzed the city in 1953. He graduated in Economics from the University of São Paulo (USP) , he received his doctorate in Sociology, he became a free teacher in Demography and a professor in Economics at the same university. He was one of the founders of Cebrap (which brought together intellectuals against the military dictatorship), of the PT in 1980 and of the Technological Incubator of Popular Cooperatives in USP.

From 2003 to 2016, he was National Secretary of Solidarity Economy, where he worked in close collaboration with the FBES (Foro Brasileiro de Economia Solidaria) and where he defended, among others, the creation of community banks as an instrument for the eradication of poverty.

In the month that Paul Singer completed 86 years, the book “Ensaios sobre Economia Solidária” organized by Rui Namorado of Editora Almeidina was launched in Portugal. The book integrates a theoretical perspective of solidarity economy, which values ​​its historical depth, with its anchorage in Brazilian reality. It is divided into two parts, each of which comprises eight texts. The first is predominantly constituted by essays in which Singer shows how he conceives solidarity economy theoretically, valuing it as a struggle against the exclusion of the exploited and as a possible emancipatory opportunity, towards a future that consubstantizes full humanism. The second one leads us through experiences of the solidarity economy in Brazil, in interaction with the political position of Singer, as a member of the federal government, taking as a backdrop his fraternal closeness with the organizations involved.

See his site for this book, documents, interviews, articles and videos: (in Portuguese): http://paulsinger.com.br/

See socioeco.org documents, interviews and videos in Spanish, Portuguese, English, German and French: http://www.socioeco.org/bdf_auteur-71_fr.html, among others:

RIPESS at the WSF2018
FSM / WSF 2018

The World Social Forum 2018, will be held from March 13 to 17, 2018, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, where several members of RIPESS LAC will be attending, as well as members from RIPESS Europe and XES, who will be presenting the Thematic Social Forum on Economies of Change, which is planned to be held in Barcelona in 2019.

The World Social Forum (WSF), which began in Brazil, is one of the largest gatheringswhere civil society experiences are shared and solutions are agreed on solutions, in terms of solidarity and democratic perspectives. The event brings together tens of thousands of participants from around the world, who will be debating various topics, from social development, to the solidarity economy, the environment, human rights and democratization, among other themes.

The slogan of the WSF 2018 is “Resist is to Create, Resist is to Transform” and it points to the need for alternatives for another possible world.

As mentioned in the forum application letter, strong resistance movements are once again emerging in Brazil due to the Neo-liberal reforms being implemented in the country. This context will be sure to generate opportunities for cooperation between the alternatives that already exist both there and in the world.

RIPESS LAC, the RIPESS network of Social Solidarity Economy of Latin America and the Caribbean seek to consolidate alliances and facilitate the convergence of alternative practices at a continental level.

We invite you to join the conference: The Solidarity Economy Movement in Latin America and the Caribbean: cooperate in the network! (on 15 March from 9.am- UFBA – Faculdade de Comunicação – Room 3), in which several members of RIPESS LAC will be present: Luciano Mina and Rosemary Gomez (from the Brazilian Forum of Solid Economics – FBES) and Alicia Canaviri Mallcu (The Solidarity Economy and Fair Trade Movement of Bolivia). To contact RIPESS LAC write to: americalatinacaribe@ripess.org

The event will also be an occasion to present the project for the Thematic Social Forum on Economies of Change, which is currently being promoted by RIPESS Europe, the XES(the Catalan Social and Solidarity Economy Network) and RIPESS Intercontinental, and which is planned to take place in Barcelona, Spain, in April 2019.

Besides bringing together networks of public authorities, universities and social movements, this forum aims at strengthening alliances and strategic actions in the whole range of today’s transformative alternatives (SSE, the commons economy, feminist economy, collaborative economy, fair trade, ethical finances, degrowth, food sovereignty, etc.), by focusing on creating practical solutions for a resilient, co-operative and solidarity-based society.

You are invited to participate in the construction of this forum, contributing with your experience and skills. You can contact the organizing team at: forum2019@ripess.org; and for those who will be at the forum, to also attend the presentation event (on March 15 from 1.pm – UFBA – Faculdade de Farmácia – room 1)) where Jason Nardi and Josette Combes from RIPESS Europe will be present, as well as Fernando Paniagua from XES.

Finally, RIPESS has been invited to participate in several conferences, among which are (dates to be confirmed – See the final programme):

 

We hope to see you at WSF 2018!

European Solidarity Corps
February 21, 2018
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What is the European Solidarity Corps?

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

The young people who participate in the European Solidarity Corps will all agree with and uphold its Mission and Principles.

You can register for the European Solidarity Corps when you are 17 years old, but you cannot start a project until you are over 18. European Solidarity Corps projects will be available to people up to the age of 30 years old.

After completing a simple registration process, European Solidarity Corps participants could be selected and invited to join a wide range of projects, such as helping to prevent natural disasters or rebuild afterwards, assisting in centres for asylum seekers, or addressing different social issues in communities.

Projects supported by the European Solidarity Corps can last from two to twelve months. They will usually be located within the European Union Member States.

More information here.

The Commons Transition Primer
December 22, 2017
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The P2P Foundation is happy to share its recently completed project, the Commons Transition Primer website, with new and adapted texts by P2P Foundation Members, including Michel Bauwens. With illustrations, infographics, key concepts definitions and case studies , the Primer emphazises the value of P2P and Commons approaches to work, politics, economic, environment and culture. Read more

What if the alternative to supermarkets was cooperative supermarkets?
December 22, 2017
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  • Democratizing the access to agrocological food engages us to go towards more ambitious models, bigger and more complex, that can also be more inclusive.
  • and if big can also be beautiful? And if to build a cooperative supermarket represented a part of the solution? Are we able to identify positive aspects for supermarkets and translate them into the logic and values of solidarity economy?

Read more

Urgenci signed MoU with the FAO
December 20, 2017
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In October Urgenci signed a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding with the FAO. This will allow the international network to map, exchange experiences and build capacity in many parts of the world, supported by the South-South Co-operation of the FAO.  Read more

The European Pillar of Social rights: RIPESS Europe’s contribution

On the occasion of the Social Summit in Goteborg (16-18 Novembre 2017), the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, which was first announced by President Juncker in his 2015 State of the Union Address and presented by the Commission in April 2017. Its proclamation underlines the joint commitment of EU-leaders to stand by and promote the 20 principles and rights enshrined under the Pillar.

In September 2015, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced the establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights, during his speech on the state of the Union to the European Parliament. The European Pillar is part of an economic and monetary union. This initiative is part of the Commission’s work towards a deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the framework of the 2016 work program of the Commission. In this perspective, a public consultation was opened all the year 2016, to which  RIPESS Europe participated by sending to the Commission a written contribution which you will find here: RIPESS EU Contribution to the public consultation on EU social pilar.

Following the series of consultations and works set up in 2016 and 2017, the European Commission, on the 17th of November, 2017, the Presidents of the EU Institutions, EU Heads of State or Government, social partners and other key stakeholders gathered at the Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, to have an open discussion amongst all participants on how to promote fair jobs and growth in the European Union. The Pillar of Social Rights is about delivering new and more effective rights for citizens. It builds upon 20 key principles, structured around three categories:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

  • Fair working conditions

  • Social protection and inclusion

To learn more about the European Pillar of Social Rights:

Finland: “Local and Decentralised” Pixelache 2017
October 5, 2017
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[by Ruby Van der Wekken]
Commons.fi and visiting RIPESS coordination team participated at the Pixelache 2017 Local and Decentralised Festival. For Commons.fi already having the intention to participate the Pixelache Festival, the possibility to have the RIPESS team over was a great opportunity to share on all and strengthen own objectives. Read more

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