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RIPESS EU’s online Extraordinary General Assembly

On 23 April 2020, an exceptional online General Assembly of RIPESS Europe was held, bringing together some thirty members from all over Europe (link to the list of members). Several themes were discussed even if the first half of the GA was entirely devoted to Covid-19 and how everyone was managing this unprecedented crisis.

From Portugal to Germany, via Greece and Russia, each of the members enlightened us on the current situation in their countries but also on how their governments were managing the crisis and on their feelings and actions taken to deal with the crisis as SSE actors. We were thus able to perceive a sort of European “panorama” of the problems linked to the crisis, the obstacles encountered and the solutions provided by SSE organisations.

Certain themes were often mentioned, such as the lack of means and support from the authorities and the advocacy work of certain networks, but also and above all the general development of various solidarity practices, such as helping the most defenceless facing the crisis or the growing demand by populations for local and fair consumption, the resilience of SSE but the enormous degree of uncertainty for the future in the short and medium term. You can find all the interventions of the members, classified by country, in the GA notes.

The discussion then focused on the presentation of Ripess Europe’s Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2022. A three-dimensional strategy with the objectives of :

  • promote territorial ecosystems and support the emergence of new networks;
  • pursue the development and recognition of the solidarity economy ;
  • strengthen existing alliances and create new ones.

You can find more information about the Strategic Plan in the GA notes.

Finally, various cooperation projects between members were announced: the implementation of a questionnaire among members followed by video interviews organized by the communication group of Ripess Europe; the presentation of Smarketplace, a project of the Swiss Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy (Apres-Ge); and the project around the  of measurement of the social utility of SSE presented by APES-France.

Launch of the “Social Impact and Social Utility” group

After several months of discussing this subject with RIPESS Europe’s Coordination Committee members, the confinement had the positive effect of leading to the first meeting between the members on this subject on 23rd April.

Led by Apes (Actors for a Solidarity Economy – France), this group is co-ported with MES (Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire) and the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire Occitanie, all three of which have been involved in this subject for a long time. It brought together 8 members and aimed to initiate discussions around the challenges of working on this subject, to build a vision of who does (or has done) what on this subject (in terms of advocacy, training, academic work …) and the needs identified by each.

In the projects presented on this occasion, mention was made, for example, of “Evalumip” (a method that allows for a qualitative co-evaluation); Fare Rete (training for micro-entrepreneurs) or VISES (a Franco-Belgian research-action project).

The following next steps were agreed:

– the continuation of exchanges on the existing situation within the network, possibly by considering detailed presentations by each member;

– the creation of a common culture, through the intervention of specialists on the subject;

– Reflection on financing that could allow us to go further in this area of work and in the exchange of experience. An application is currently being submitted by the MES in partnership with APES and the MES Occitanie. A meeting is scheduled on this subject on Friday 29 May at 2.30 pm (in visio).

The group wishes to continue exchanges on this subject within RIPESS Europe, but also towards other members, e.g. on the occasion of events such as the WSFTE, in order to make this subject a real issue among SSE actors all over Europe.

For more information on the objectives and functioning of this group, you can access the summary document HERE. If you wish to join this group, please contact Olivia Ruel-Mailfert (Apes): oliviamailfert@apes-hdf.org. Another meeting of the group will be scheduled for next June.

Cresaçor celebrates its 20 years!
Cresacor 20 anos

20 years Promoting Ideas, Realising Wishes, Building the Future.

Years of challenges, of innovation and social entrepreneurship, with many initiatives and projects that sowed seeds, clung to the earth, blossomed and bore fruit.

The present is uncertain and we cannot fail those who count on us.

CRESAÇOR continues, firmly, committed to its Mission, at the service of its Cooperators, the People and the Region. Determined, to fight, to reinvent itself, creating new dynamics and ways of working, committed to contribute and make a difference, with a longing for normality and dreaming of the future.

THANK YOU for believing in the Solidarity Economy movement in the Azores.

Watch the teaser “CRESAÇOR 20 anos”:

The CNLRQ reinforces its presence with the French Overseas Régies

The Comité National de Liaison des Régies de Quartier (CNLRQ) has been thinking for many years about how to strengthen its anchorage and its interventions in Overseas France, where it has been present for more than 20 years (in French Guiana, Martinique and Reunion Island). The need for support is often greater and the political project of the Régies (see description below) responds to many local needs: local economic development; integration; response to uncovered needs; enhancement of spaces of local democracy …

Article of CNLRQ, La Lettre des Régies de Quartier et de Territoire – N°16 – February 2020

For the first time in more than 5 years, the CNLRQ visited Martinique. As part of the “see you again clause”, which allows the CNLRQ to meet with the Régies a few years after their accreditation, a pair of CNLRQ administrators, Marie Chambonneau, and the delegate general, Tarek Daher, spent a week on site. They met with the administrators, teams, elected officials and partners of Acsion Services, the Fort-de-France Regional Health Authority; and discussed potential projects in the surrounding area (Saint-Pierre; Le Lorrain; Saint-Joseph).
At the same time, an agreement was signed between the CNLRQ and the Dieccte Guyane to support the Régies on site for one year (by organizing training, seminars, support initiatives, etc.). The mission, led by Zinn-Din Boukhenaïssi, former delegate general of the CNLRQ, began in December and will mobilise a large part of the National Committee’s teams.

But what is a Régie?
The “Régies de Quartier et de Territoire” (132 structures, 320 priority districts covered, 8,000 employees, 2,500 volunteers) are associations, located in the heart of the most fragile urban and rural areas, which set up systems for welcoming and involving the inhabitants. For 30 years, they have been carrying out a political project with a threefold aim: local economic development and local employment; social development and meeting the needs of the territories; and the mobilisation and participation of the inhabitants. The National Committee, which heads the network, awards the “Régie de Quartier / Régie de Territoire” label to the associations that carry the project; and places its activities and mobilisations at the crossroads of the Régies’ fields of intervention: urban policy, the social and solidarity economy, integration through economic activity (IAE) and popular education.

Local elections in France: citizens get involved.

In France for municipal elections, citizens are trying to thwart the old party system, which they no longer recognize as legitimate and too far removed from the social and ecological emergencies that concern them.

On the initiative of a few at the outset, they are creating alternative lists that no longer bring together the usual nomination candidates but citizens who come together on a project developed through consultations and meetings. In the end, the democratic exercise leads to the accession of a sufficient number of people to validate a list.

The website of the collective Action commune thus lists 157 participatory lists, “one third in villages of less than 2,000 inhabitants, one third in municipalities of 2,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, and one third in cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants”, says Thomas Simon, coordinator of the group, whose mission is to “accompany those who want to engage in citizen participation” (Reporterre 8 January 2020). An interactive map of these lists can be found on the Action commune website.

If these lists are not guaranteed to win the elections, they are an electric shock to the parties. They question the undemocratic methods of governing, by challenging the habits of verticality where the leader decides and surrounds himself with people who are committed to his cause. They highlight themes that the parties feel obliged to include in their programmes.

In addition, several associations have drafted proposals that they circulate in their networks for their members to take up and transmit to their elected officials.

Thus, the Collectif de la Transition citoyenne (Citizen Transition Collective) has drawn up a Pact for Transition inviting local networks to ask candidates to commit to at least 10 of the 32 proposals and to accompany / verify their implementation in the territories. The central objective of these proposals is to respond to the climate emergency and to repair social injustice.

The RTES (Réseau des Territoires pour l’Economie Solidaire) has published a municipal kit’ess containing about twenty sheets to support the initiative of municipalities towards more SSE in their local policy.

The UFISC (Union Fédérale d’Intervention des Structures Culturelles) proposes to the candidates and all those committed to their territories, arts and culture, 3 commitments declined through 20 concrete proposals (…) for a policy of cultural diversity based on cultural rights and a democratic and solidarity organisation.

The MES published : Elections Municipales. 12 questions.

Reporterre has also published its illustrated list of recommendations, this list is not exhaustive.

We are really witnessing an awakening of citizens to the negligence of governments blinded by their subservience to economic powers. The Spanish example and “municipalismo” infuse much of Europe and RIPESS , for whom the co-construction of public policies is a major axis of social transformation, is very happy about it.

Article written by Josette Combes

RIPESS contributes to GSEF’s – Global Social Economy Forum – policy dialogues in Europe and Latin America
GSEF Liverpool UK November 2019

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, and Homebaked 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.

Written by Alfonso Cotera (RIPESS LAC) and Drazen Simlesa (RIPESS EU)

Ripess Europe’s 2020 objectives: back to the main lines of action
A local newspaper headlines "A workshop preparing Tomorrow"

From the 16th to the 18th of January, the Ripess Europe CoCo (Coordination committee) met in Elne, in the beautiful region of the French Eastern Pyrenees. Near the snow-capped mountains, the team (braving the train strikes) spent three days brainstorming about the overall strategy orientations for the network on the long-term and on Ripess Europe’s areas of focus in 2020.

In such a context of climate crisis, where social benchmarks are only hanging by a thread, the role of RIPESS Europe in promoting social solidarity economy at the European level is more important than ever. The strategic axes for 2020 have therefore been established following this observation.

As a first step, Ripess Europe aims at promoting territorial ecosystems and supporting the emergence of new networks.

In order to do so, it will be necessary to support the valorisation of local experiences, the networking at European level, the development of new networks and economic intercooperation.

In addition to this first strategic line, it goes without saying that the promotion of the social and solidarity economy through its development and recognition remains a priority for the year 2020. This objective can be implemented through various actions such as the co-construction of public policies, but also through advocacy and media communication.

The concretisation of these strategic directions will be achieved through different thematic initiatives such as education (Erasmus), impact assessment, the implementation of tools (mapping) or information on the initiatives and local events of the network members.

Alongside their work program, the Coco members did not miss the chance to discover and meet with local initiatives such as André and his team “perm-AMAP 66”, working in a permaculture garden and CSA in Elne and selling delicious veggies! Without forgetting the discovery of Terra del Avis, this eco-museum which should soon open its doors in Elne and whose mission will be to preserve, maintain and transmit the agricultural heritage of Roussillon and to promote a sustainable agriculture of proximity.

A retrospective of the seminar “Building a Solidarity Economy!”

Organised thanks to the support of the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind and the APES, at the Bergerie de Villarceaux from 2 to 4 December 2019, the seminar “Co-constructing the Solidarity Economy! “was an opportunity for the members of the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire (MES France) to launch the first steps of the cooperation action plan around the four national cooperative projects at the heart of the ambitions of the Mouvement pour l’Economie Solidaire for the next three years. The working sessions alternated workshops and round tables on the 4 axes :

  • Social and citizen innovation at the service of territorial development to pool the tools and methods acquired by the members in their participation in territorialized economic development experiences within a space of shared and formative resources allowing systemic reflection on the subject.
  • The evaluation of social utility and social impact in order to establish evaluation as a subject of internal and external democracy within an organization and to integrate it into a continuous improvement process of practices by taking into account market and non-market criteria and the accessibility of existing tools and methods within a space of shared resources.
  • Socio-economic models of small SSE enterprises and organisations to support the creation and development of initiatives in rural and urban territories by establishing a panorama of good practices for the creation and consolidation of small SSE organisations and making accessible the methods and tools that promote the sustainability of their economic models at the territorial level.
  • Strengthen advocacy through the implementation of a communication and action strategy shared and collective between the MES and the member structures around what the national movement defends and its specificity within SSE in order to build collectively its contribution to the national and international SSE work.

These collective working times reinforce the cohesion of the network by reassuring its members in their strategic orientations and ethical foundations and in return give energy to the animators of the national network confronted with a context of hardening of the political authorities with regard to the citizens’ initiative. The meeting was also an opportunity to inform the participants about the WSFTE and to invite them to take part in it. The document resulting from this seminar will soon be available on the MES website.

By Josette Combes

Occitania mobilizes for the WSFTE in Barcelona

In Occitania (France) a 2-day Forum on 22 and 23 November at the Jean Jaurès University in Toulouse brought together about 90 SSE structures, 4 local authorities and 4 SSE networks. The programme included 5 conferences, 4 convergence circles and 16 workshops. About 20 speakers contributed to the conferences, including 7 researchers.

The 1500 or so visitors came from different backgrounds (Political Sciences Bordeaux, Terre de Convergences in the Gard, Delegation of Marseille), a national and an international network and four representatives of local institutions. Forty stands presented SSE actors from Occitania. Twenty volunteers ensured the fluidity of the logistics and three restaurateurs (Ludi Monde, Curupira and the Kasbah) allowed the participants to take their meals, even if the attendance exceeded the forecasts. More than 250 young students took part in the round tables and various workshops. Finally, a concert with a Franco-Brazilian singer offered a joyful interlude. She provided the translation for the speech by Monica Benicio, Mariella Franco’s companion, a militant who was assassinated on 15 March 1918 in Rio de Janeiro (whose assassins are not likely to be prosecuted as long as Bolsonaro is in power).

There was a great participation of volunteers and visitors in this comfortable and accessible place with a lot of available space, a good animation of the actors’ circles, a rich and quality programming. In particular the Flashlab (presentation of initiatives in progress or brand new), its format, its richness, the exchanges were a success.

It is necessary to underline the energy given by the Barcelona perspective, the international dimension, the crossing of the 4 themes, the quality of the conferences. All in all, it was a joyful event, full of emulation, rich in emotion, particularly the speech by Monica Benicio during the conference on eco-feminism presenting the situation in Brazil.

This Forum was part of the mobilization cycle for the Barcelona WSFTE.

The next dates in Occitania related to the convergence towards the WSFTE and transformative economies are the following: two public political events – ex-Languedoc territory with Terre de Convergences, Démocratie Ouverte, La Région Citoyenne – ex-Midi Pyrénées territory; – an economic and feminist event in Toulouse (21 March); an event with the UFISC in Gignac on 30 May; two dates to be fixed in Ariège and Aude; – an agroecological event – ex-Languedoc territory; – an event in Haute-Garonne with FREDD (Film, Research and Sustainable Development).

The MES Occitanie is planning to produce a booklet using materials from FRESS (theory + feedback from the actors) which would promote transformative economies in the Occitanie region.

The creation of an Occitan delegation to represent the region at the WSFTE with citizens, elected local authorities, SSE actors and researchers will be based on a questionnaire with many actors of the transformative economies on the Occitan territory to collect information on their practices, encourage them to come to the FSMET and to propose animations.

You can find the filmed conferences on this link. (in French)

By Josette Combes

RIES: Italian Network for Solidarity Economy established in Rome
RIES Roma founding meeting

On January 18 and 19, 2020, the new Italian national network was founded, bringing together associations, networks and companies from all over the country who identify with Solidarity Economy values and practices.

There are 22 founding members of the new association that on Saturday 18 of January in Rome signed the articles of association of the Italian Network for Solidarity Economy (RIES). The new Network marks a fundamental point of arrival and turning point for the the Italian Solidarity Economy movement, which for about twenty years has operated through an informal network, the RES, and after a long debate has chosen to recognize itself in a single formally constituted entity.

The RIES will thus be the official association of reference and the meeting place of different entities, but moved by common principles and objectives, able both to deal with institutions and public bodies and to relate with civil society, with the aim of promoting and disseminating culture and practices of Solidarity Economy.

The event, saw about forty participants. Saturday afternoon was dedicated to the founding assembly and the composition of the various bodies by elective vote, while the following day the assembly opened the discussion to all the initiatives that are interested in potentially becoming members of the network. The debate was highly participatory and many ideas and expectations emerged, that will form the basis of strategic orientations and work plan of the newborn association in different areas: identity and vision, unitary paths, solidarity development of territories, models of solidarity economy, ethical finance, training, relations with other national and international movements and networks. 

The declared final objective is to promote an alternative to the dominant economic and financial system and a response to the situation of growing economic, environmental, social and cultural crisis.


Here are the 9 members of the newly elected RIES Board of Directors: Jason Nardi, Patrizio Monticelli, Domenico Maffeo, Davide Biolghini, Adanella Rossi, Virginia Meo, Diego Moratti, Pietro Negri, Maria Teresa Pecchini.

Photos by Alberta Cardinali and Riccardo Troisi 

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