The GSEF Regional Policy Dialogues are organized to promote the exchange of knowledge between policy-makers and key SSE actors. RIPESS has participated in both dialogues with the objective of contributing to the promotion of SSE and bringing the vision of local SSE projects to international fora.
RIPESS EU joined the 3rd edition of the European Policy Dialogue organised by Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), our long term partners and collaborators.
This year, the Dialogue took place in Liverpool, United Kingdom, between the 18th and 19th of November 2019, around the theme ‘Building diversity and inclusion through the social solidarity economy’. A rich and open debate took place around this theme with a specific focus on 3 major topics:
How local governments must proceed with new approaches to create true inclusion
Moving beyond inclusion through innovative work-integration practices and policies
Social and Solidarity Economy: a driving force in enabling diverse future leaders
As RIPESS EU, we presented our work based mostly on the third topic, but of course with connection to all important SSE areas. Regarding the location of this year GSEF event, it was organized in partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and the University of Liverpool. And they were quite amazing hosts.
The day after the conference they organized an SSE actors tour across the city. Liverpool City Region is indeed a dynamic and vibrant SSE scene where they employ over 40,000 people in SSE organizations. We visited Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre, main local spot for community activism, Baltic Creative CIC ,a unique area for gathering start-up and creative industries with huge focus on ownership and sharing, andHomebaked Bakery and Community Land Trust, a place of inspiration, with the best pie in the world and an amazing struggle against gentrification and speculative capital assault on land and houses.
On the 4th of July 2019, in Lyon (France), RIPESS Europe with the support of the Municipality of Lyon organised a round table meeting on “Cities and SSE: practical policies to transform the economy”. In preparation of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies to be held in Barcelona in 2020, it marked the beginning of the RIPESS Europe General Assembly which took place from the 4th to the 6th of July in Lyon. Given the fact that public authorities play a key role in defining policies which impact communities at different levels (housing, tourism, health, finance…) the occasion was given to highlight major practical trans-local and open, participatory policies which transform the economy.
The three-session event brought together RIPESS Europe members and partners, policy makers, local actors who shared their experience. The first panel on “Transforming cities through SSE practices and public policies” facilitated by Jason Nardi, the RIPESS Europe General Delegate was composed of Dounia Besson, Deputy Mayor of Lyon and representative of RTES (SSE Mayors network), Jeanine Verna, Director of the Arobase Vocational training centre and Julie Maisonhaute of Commerce equitable France (Fair trade movement).
For Dounia Besson, the strength of SSE is determined by its territorial anchoring and it is more than crucial to place the “inhabitants at the centre of all preoccupations regarding SSE initiative before shareholders”. In the dynamic of valorising and reinforcing SSE initiatives, the label LVED (Lyon ville equitable et durable / Lyon fair and sustainable city) was put in place. With regards to environmental protection, health, citizens’ participation, education, cultural development, the LVED SSE organisation of Lyon plays an active role in transforming economic practices and building a human society.
Jeanine Verna sees in the sustainability of SSE actions a vocational training dimension based on SSE values and principles. The Arobase vocational training centre created 30 years ago has trained more than 2000 SSE professional and promoted the convergence of different SSE families, in partnership with the XES Catalonia network and REVES network, through a recent European project. Therefore, training SSE local actors constitutes an essential resource which needs to be popularized and supported by local authorities.
Sustainable production and consumption has been at the heart of Fair trade movements and is today more necessary than ever. Julie Maisonhaute outlays an optimist view of a modern society bringing together citizens, civil society organisations, enterprises, local authorities with a common objective of mainstreaming fair-trade practices. Commerce equitable France has as its main mission to transform consumption modes, promote effective fair-trade skills, promote equality in public policies and help structure the fair-trade sector, therefore developing a strong alliance with local authorities is inevitable, which is what the Fair Trade Towns network is trying to do.
Josette Combes of MES (the French Solidarity economy Mouvement) facilitated the second session on “Citizens movements – Transformative cities”, with Melissa Koutouzis of the Transnational institute (TNI) and Geneviève Brichet of Mouvement Utopia as guest speakers.
The Transformative Cities Initiative, explains Melissa Koutouzis seeks to learn from cities and collectives working on solutions to ensure access to water, food, energy and housing. These basic human rights are threatened by the ongoing climate crisis and our increasingly dysfunctional political and economic structures, and the states, international institutions and transnational corporations that support them. “Strengthening local initiatives can induce a radical change at the global level” says Melissa. That is why TNI in partnership with several other networks, including RIPESS, is promoting the Transformative Cities Award and the Atlas of Utopias, which showcases inspiring stories of communities challenging entrenched power and boldly developing alternatives. These range from grassroots movements in Zimbabwe and Palestine to international cities like Paris or Barcelona that have defeated transnational corporations and hostile national governments to deliver democratic, people-powered solutions for access to basic human rights.
By putting in place a space of dialogue in between elected authorities and citizens, citizens participation is reinforced to induce endogenous change at the level of the society. This is the essence of the Citizens’ Transition Pact (Pacte pour la Transition Cityoenne), as Geneviève Brichet explains, a tool to promote and organize citizen participation to enable change in all municipalities, by encouraging dialogue between citizens and elected officials in the context of the campaigns for the 2020 Municipal Elections in France. The Citizens’ Transition Pact is at the same time: a list of 3 principles and 32 concrete and applicable measures in favour of the ecological, solidarity and democratic transition; the support by the transition network, through 50 partner organisations (Emmaus, Greenpeace, Enercoop, France Nature Environnement, etc.); a digital platform to connect, train and support participants.
Finally, the last session on “Convergence between initiatives to transform the economy and to free humanity” facilitated by Drazen Simlesa, RIPESS Europe Coordinator, had in its panel Elisabeth Voss from NETZ für Selbstverwaltung und Selbstorganisation (Germany), Iris Avinoa from the organising committee of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies in Barcelona, Jean Roussiaud of APRES-GE and Geneviève Ancel, Coordinator of the Dialogues en Humanité.
Despite the plurality of SSE movements in Germany, a difficulty exists in federating these actors with the need to set up a concert space for common action. Therefore, “by supporting grassroot initiatives and Solidarity Economy, NETZ helps put in place a network of different actors to engage collectively”, says Elisabeth Voss. Regarding this, issues like climate change, and the future of work need to be approached in a sustainable way considering future generations.
The World Social Forum on Transformative Economies to be held in Barcelona in 2020, is another means of convergence between initiatives to transform the economy. Actors from all around the world will have the opportunity to meet and share their experience of major practices transforming the economy as wells as diverse approaches. Iris Avinoa made an overview of the preparation of this forum and the process behind it.
Jean Rossiaud presented the Jai Jagat initiative led by Rajagopal (which some are calling the new Gandhi) of the Ekta Parishad Movement in India. Starting on the 2nd of October 2019, it is a 10 000 km march from Gandhi’s resting place in New Delhi, crossing through 15 countries (Pakistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Italy and the Switzerland) and will promote the nonviolent economy movement’s perspective.
Geneviève Ancel concluded with a presentation of the Dialogues en Humanité, an international event where people from different origins, cultures, convictions all around the world meet to discuss about the practice of community building. The theme this year was let’s talked about tomorrow around 3 major themes: “All responsible for the rights of every one”, “Tomorrow, all nomads, tomorrow, all migrants” and “Inventing tomorrow by questioning the stories that shape our lives”, which and took place also in Lyon from the 5th to the 7th of July 2019.
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
Urban Alternatives is a collaboration that brings together municipalist activists, academics, local governments, think-tanks and NGOs. The founding collaborators include participants from: Madrid 129, European Alternatives, Transnational Institute, Habitat International Coalition, MISTRA Urban Futures, Sheffield University Urban Institute, University of Aalborg, RIPESS Europe, P2P Foundation, Commons Network and the Global Platform for the Right to the City.
This mapping project looks to understand and map those initiatives that are emerging from the many urban social movements that are claiming the right to the city, occupying urban space, demanding social justice, democratic participation, cultural spaces and economic transformations. Largely hidden from our collective consciousness, this distributed and emergent set of actions demonstrated that it is not only possible to think of alternatives to the neoliberal paradigm, but that these alternatives are already happening. Our collaboration has two sets of goals:
1. To create the greatest possible visibility of positive urban transformation, revealing common dimensions of an emerging urban movement. We want to document – and to prove – that change is possible;
2. To create an ongoing process for developing common perspectives and understandings, supporting knowledge transfer between a diverse pool of actors, and providing opportunities for shared projects and common campaigns.
Brought into focus by the squares movement and the occupation of public space (from Tahrir to Puerta del Sol and Plaça de Catalunya, Taksim or Mong Kok), we’re witnessing a wave of initiatives ‘from below’ and ‘from the side’ that are looking to transform our urban environment. These initiatives – from the democratic remunicipalisation of energy production or the development of citizen policy-making mechanisms, through to the establishment of worker cooperatives to help meaningfully welcome refugees – all share a common thread. Not only do they pose a challenge to the increasing financialization of economy and commodification of urban space, they do so through putting faith in our own capacity to generate innovative projects, policies and prototypes that move us towards living our lives in common.
Sustainable small farmers should be put at the core of EU agricultural policy, according to a new paper by the Nyeleni Europe and Central Asia Platform for Food Sovereignty . The strongly documented publication comes ahead of a key vote in the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee in early April, and represents the position of a pan-European coalition of farmers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples and environmental organizations in regards to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The report highlights the alarming situation in rural areas and in the food system in the EU:
Between 2005 and 2016, the number of farm holdings under 50 hectares fell by 29.4%. Over 4 million holdings disappeared in just 10 years.
Increased numbers of seasonal, and often migrant workers suffer appalling working and living conditions.
Pollution linked to agrochemicals continues to have a negative impact on public health – chemical residues are found in food, nitrate and phosphorus run-off pollutes water and soil.
High levels of antibiotic use in animal farming leads to antimicrobial resistance.
Around 88 million tons of food waste is generated per year, as a result of the industrial food chain.
CAP has made the EU extremely dependent on cheap imports from regions with far lower environmental and social standards.
Stanka Becheva, food sovereignty campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“With the world facing multiple environmental and social crises, many of which are directly linked to how we feed ourselves, EU politicians need to listen to small-scale sustainable farmers who can help fix the climate crisis and the breakdown of the natural world. The food systems they create provide healthy, affordable, and local food for consumers, respects nature and climate, and create safe and dignified employment.”
Laying out the part of the report focused on what is needed from the CAP for this transition to be successful, Genevieve Savigny, farmer and representative of the European Coordination Via Campesina , says “the CAP must provide small-scale sustainable producers with the adequate political, economic and social support they need. This implies fair prices, setting a capping for direct payments and a redistribution of aid. Currently, less than 2% of CAP beneficiaries receive 30% of the total budget of direct payments. This must change. More money for rural development and a collective approach of projects where peasant agroecology is promoted must be put forth. And for our youth? Support to new farmers during the first years of their activity is essential.”
“This report also shows the environmental and social benefits of new, local partnerships between producers and consumers. It comes right in time to show that a new social contract between food producers and the societies they feed is highly awaited and urgently needed”, says Judith Hitchman from URGENCI, the international network of Community Supported Agriculture movements.
We invite you to apply to the 2019 “Transformative Cities Award”; this open call being a great opportunity to highlight grassroot initiatives that have made a difference in their community onHousing, Energy, Water and Food Systems
RIPESS joined a group of organizations that are promoting the 2nd edition of the “Transformative Cities Award” aiming to highlight political practices and solutions that can serve as inspiration for others – See related information HERE.
In this second edition, the award is looking for initiatives that have succeeded in articulating an inclusive vision for a social majority to transform their city or defined environment. The prize aspires to create a new model of awards, which is participatory, inspirational, and rooted in exchanges and learning; the idea would be to highlight practices that can be replicated in other regions and places.
“Transformative Cities Award”: all you need to know!
You can find all the information of the prize here.
This initiative is open to collectives not individuals. A collective can have the form of a social movement with recognizable structures and goals without a formal legal recognition, a legally existing civil society organization, a citizens platform seeking to gain institutional power at municipal and/or city level via a political candidacy, an established city council, or other forms of collective action that centre their practices in a specific location that is not generally recognized as a region, state or similar delimitations.
Transformative… doing what?
The second edition of the award (2019) will look at the three issues of the first edition: Energy, Water and Housing plus an additional one: Food systems. Each initiative can also apply to several issues simultaneously under the same application.
Ok… but what do you mean by “transformative”?
“Transformative” recognizes that these struggles have succeeded in articulating an inclusive vision for a social majority to transform their city or defined environment. These practices will have measurable results, since they have been implemented successfully, and they will be practices that can be replicated in other regions and places.
They can submit their application until the 15th of March 2019 at 23.59h CET.
What is the selection criteria?
These are the key elements of a Transformative Practice:
Equity and participation
Capacity to inspire collective action
Transferability and replicability
Accountability and Transparency
Solidarity and Public ethos
Sustainability and efficiency
Fairness of labour conditions and the recognition of care and domestic work
It is just for “cities”?
The concept of “city” is a highly contested one, scientifically or politically. For the purpose of the award, they define cities in very broad terms as the locations for place-based struggles for basic rights. They understand that cities have certain strategic advantages to advance social, environmental and gender justice – in terms of combining critical masses of people as well as potential for more accountable governance. This will encompass transformative practices happening in urban and rural areas and in areas that could be described as both.
Who is behind this award?
The Transformative Cities initiative is launched by a group of regional and international organizations (in alphabetical order): European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability (Ecolise), Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), Global network of continental networks committed to the promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), the Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C) and the Transnational Institute (TNI).
Watch (and share and comment) this 2 minute video (English only for now – other languages coming soon):
In the face of #water, #energy, #food and #housing crises, communities worldwide are finding inspiring solutions. Are you working on transforming your community from below? Apply for the 2019 #TransformativeCities https://transformativecities.org/open-call-201
The Global Social Economy Forum was held in Bilbao (1-3 October 2018). This is the fourth edition after Seoul 2 times and Montreal 2016. It brought together more than 1700 people from 84 countries. It should be noted that a significant number of representatives of local authorities had made the trip to testify to their involvement in the SSE. It is one of the strong points of the GSEF, to link the evolution of the development of cities to the Social Economy. It should be noted in passing that the title “social economy” has largely predominated in the discourse, the term solidarity being considered superfluous in some cultures because it is included. Nevertheless, the term SSE has also been used in several instances, either in plenary or in workshops. This point can and has given rise to some controversy. We know that for RIPESS, the term solidarity is central because it refers to a philosophy of radical contestation of the ultra-liberal model in force in the globalized economy. The title of the Forum, “Values and competitiveness for inclusive and sustainable local development”, strongly advocated by the Bilbao government, was also discussed.
Mondragon, a partner of the event, is an emblematic example of cooperativism, and of the social economy conceived as a systemic complex aiming at autonomy in a context of resistance, at the time of its creation, to Francoism. Mr. Iñigo Ucin, President of the Mondragon County Council, presented his global experience (production, finance, training, distribution) and invited people to field visits.
The workshops on a wide range of themes offered a wide range of experiences, which is always a time to stimulate optimism and an opportunity for meetings that can be extended over time through fruitful collaborations. RIPESS was present with several members from all continents. The opportunity to get in direct contact with representatives of local authorities and the European Commission was well taken.
During a dedicated session, a Declaration on Transformative SSE which aims at real systemic change was read. During the ceremony, people from several cultures and continents read the text in 4 languages.
During the same session, Jason Nardi for RIPESS, Julia Grannel for XES and Carlos Askunze, coordinator of REAS Euskadi, announced the preparation of the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies. A first preparatory phase will take place in April 2019 in Barcelona and the final edition of this Global Forum is scheduled for 2020. The session ended with a “picoteo” (a kind of aperitif dinner) invited by REAS to Hika Ateneo, an alternative place in Bilbao.
In the closing session Margeritte Mendell (Concordia University, Montreal) used an oxymoron to signify that political and also academic research staff should relax the frameworks and rules that stifle the field initiative. She recommended the “institutionalization of flexibility”.
IPES FOOD (International Panel of Food Experts on Sustainable Food Systems) has been working for some time to establish a European Common Food Policy; There has been a complex methodology, that involves various members of different European Directorate General (Health, Environment, Agriculture…) and a wide process. This process initially consisted of Food Policy Labs on specific subjects and in various locations. Urgenci participated in two Food Policy Labs, including as a contributor in the one on social inclusion.
The next step fo the process was to collectively develop a ‘Sustainable Food Scoreboard’ document. Forr this stage RIPESS was included with a view to high-lighting the alternative that solidarity economy can provide to the economic sector, and distinguish solidarity economy from the ‘private sector’ involved in mainstream agribusiness.
Dražen Šimleša and Gaelle Bigler thus represented RIPESS, alongside Judith Hitchman from Urgenci. Various aspects of a Scoreboard were co-contructed by sixth teams, with Dražen and Judith actively participating in team 5 “Building sustainable farm livelihoods and functional supply chains” and Gaelle in team 3 “Harnessing the potential of urban food policies, city-region planning and alternative food systems”.
The final document will be publicly presented and debated in Brussels on 29-30 May 2018, at a major event called the EU Food and Farming Forum (EU3F). The main goal will be to carry forward “policy proposals addressed to the EU for a comprehensive ‘Common Food Policy’”.
IPES FOOD and RIPESS signed Letter of Agreement as partners in this process, where RIPESS and Urgenci jointly made sure that the practice of SSE and its values are well embedded in the Scoreboard document.
It is with great enthusiasm that Bilbao City Council announces that the registration for GSEF2018 is open. The Forum is meant to be a dynamic and participatory gathering, constructed in collaboration with local and International partners. It will be a unique opportunity to share visions and experiences through cross-border collaboration and cooperation. The Forum’s central theme is: Social Economy and Cities: Values and competitiveness for inclusive and sustainable local development.
We look forward to your participation, as this is your chance to contribute to this 4th edition of the Global Social Economy Forum, bringing together regional and local governments, Social Economy agents, civil society, universities and social organizations.
With nearly 170 participants and high density debates, the conference “Europe and SSE, the time has come!” organised by RTES and REVES was a success and a strong impulse to follow up the committed work.
A dense morning allowed to draw the landscape of the question of social and solidarity economy at a European level. The presentation of a mapping to highlight the different SSE approaches in the Union countries, the presentation of a report from the experts group with the European Commission, the testimonies of the local authorities committed in social and solidarity economy projects with a European dimension or financing, the presentation of the position of RIPESS Europe on the co-construction of public policies (see here) and finally the strong words of experts on these questions and of the Commission representative, Ulla Engelmann and of European MEP, Marie-Christine Vergiat, allowed to tackle the issues around this thematic.