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Croatia: 4th Conference on Good Economy
April 25, 2017

The 4th Conference on Good Economy lasted for three full days with many lectures, open discussions and one practical workshop. There were almost 200 people participating at the conference, with ZMAG members, conference guests and speakers, journalist and partners, as well as 140 paying participants – making it the biggest event of that kind in Croatia open to everyone. At the conference, there were many guests from the Balkan region and 11 international keynote speakers. Besides the main program, we also organised one practical workshop about bio-architecture at our place, the Educational Eco-social centre Recycled Estate. Likewise, as every year, we published a new report “Good Economy in Good Stories” with nine new best case practices from Croatia.

Main topics of this year’s conference were in line with the current trends in Croatia: “collaborative economy” practices, the concept of an “open factory” owned by its workers, ecological social enterprises, hotels run by former immigrants and refugees, inspiring examples of participatory governance within the city as a commons concept, and platform cooperativism – a movement for democratic governance, collective ownership, and a fairer future work sector, based on the rich tradition of cooperatives and new technologies of the 21st century.

The Conference once more positioned itself as a central place for the gathering, sharing, collaboration among all interested in solidarity and good economy models. It is well worthy to mention how people from other cities in Croatia and from the Balkans region have attended in higher numbers every year.

The Good Economy Conference doesn’t have only the goal to inform and gather people, but also to emphasize practical solutions to everyday problems or challenges by ordinary citizens.

In fact, more than any previous edition, this year the number of “ordinary citizens” was significant: people who consider the Conference as it wants to be: open to anyone who is interesting in a “good economy”. With that impact, the event not only fulfilled the usual task of connecting the “usual suspects” in one place, but became a space for actors that are not currently part of the scene to be informed and educated, and to meet up with new people and future partners.

More informations in croatian here!

Zagreb, The second conference on Good Economy

The Second Conference on Good Economy was organised in Zagreb by ZMAG, the Green Network of Activist Groups & Cooperatives for Good Economy from 19th – 21st March 2015.

It brought together a slightly eclectic but highly successful mixture of speakers, whose differences actually sparked a very creative mix, under the guidance of the quietly insightful and humorous Drazen Simlesa, the key figure behind this interesting initiative.

The three main themes were all anchored in their own meaningful way in solidarity economy: alternative finance, participatory budgeting and food sovereignty, and the keynote speakers all complementary, with each in his or own way showing the path forward.

Carlos de Freitas, gave a passionate talk about the potentials for alternative banking and power of local currencies, based on clear illustrations from the Banca Palmas. There were also interventions on ethical banking in various parts of Europe, including Goran  Matic from Croatia. Carlos intervened on both the first and the third day, providing a ray of hope a on how another finance is possible.

Giovanni Allegretti, the global expert on participatory budgeting clearly explained how communities can become empowered through the use of participatory democracy. This includes the key aspect of youth participatory budgeting, that trains young people in civic-mindedness. This talk was complemented by the concrete illustrations from the town of Cascais, just outside Lisbon, given by Isabel Xavier Canning.

On the second day, John Restakis, who is deeply involved in advising on restructuring the Greek economy, after spending over 20 years in Canada, gave a mesmerising talk on the way forward for economies and the State: a combination of a suitably sustainable framework, and civil society empowered cooperatives and social enterprises. And while we had some small disagreements and deep exchange over dinners, there is no way to fault the overall picture he presents!

Judith Hitchman then presented the ways in which solidarity economy does effectively present the lever for paradigm change, using various illustrations, and especially the case study of food sovereignty and Community Supported Agriculture as an illustration (Urgenci has Croatian members). This was further extended in presenting the Good Food local initiatives the following day.

The conference was well attended, well prepared and a rich experience. We look forward to welcoming the members of the newly formed Croatian collective that brings together over a dozen different groups and projects in Croatia into the RIPESS Europe network!

For more information see the official website (in Croatian!)

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