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UniverSSE2017
Video
Urban Alternatives: a new map to share transformative municipalist initiatives
urban alternatives

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.

Go to the website: www.urbanalternatives.org

A cartoon video on the European Investment Bank (EIB)
Call to reform the EIB

Counter Balance has produced a cartoon video on the European Investment Bank (EIB), aimed at raising awareness among EU citizens about the bank, its challenges and room for improvements. The video also contains a call for action, to collect citizens’ support on our EIB Reform Manifesto, addressed to the EU election candidates and the next European Parliament.

The video is in English and has so far been subtitled in 8 EU languages.

10th ILO SSE Academy, Torino, June 2019
10th ILO SSE Academy

Social and Solidarity Economy . A Human-Centred Agenda for the Future of Work

The ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation (2008) states that “productive, profitable and sustainable enterprises, together with a strong social economy and a viable public sector, are critical to sustainable economic development and employment opportunities”.

Today, the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is
a reality in many people ́s lives because it promotes values and principles that focus on people’s needs and on their communities. In a spirit of voluntary participation, self-help and self-reliance, and through enterprises and organizations, it seeks to balance economic success with fairness and social justice, from the local level to the global level.

The concept of SSE cuts across all four dimensions of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. A high-level capacity building programme on SSE was proposed by more than 200 participants on the occasion of the ILO Regional Conference on Social Economy held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October 2009.

Since then, nine editions of the Academy were organized by the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITCILO) in Turin (Italy) in 2010, in Montreal (Canada) in 2011, in Agadir (Morocco) in 2013, in Campinas (Brazil) in 2014, in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Puebla (Mexico) in 2015, in San José (Costa Rica) in 2016, in Seoul (South Korea) and in Luxembourg City (Luxembourg) in 2017.

Known as the “ILO Social and Solidarity Economy Academy (SSE Academy)”, this inter-regional
training event has gathered together more than 500 practitioners and policy-makers from around the world, to share their experiences and meet leading SSE specialists.

In its 10th edition, the SSE Academy will have a special focus on the future of work, namely the challenges and opportunities posed by the rapidly changing world of work.

This Academy will be of great contribution to the ILO’s Future of Work’ centenary initiative.

Go to bit.ly/2XAyQTz to find the course. Deadline for registration: 30 April 2019

More farmers, better food: Nyéléni ECA releases CAP publication
More farmers better food CAP

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 [1]. 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 [2], 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.

Download the report (in English) here.

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