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UniverSSE2017
Video
Round tables in Lyon – “Cities and SSE: practical policies to transform the economy”

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.

UFISC and its members look forward to seeing you in Avignon in July 2019

This year again during the Avignon Festival, UFISC is offering several highlights, meetings, workshops and training sessions on July 11, 15 and 17 in the ISTS room, as part of the Maison des professionnels du Spectacle Vivant and the Village des professionnels du OFF, including a special event organized in conjunction with the Collectif pour démarche de progrès par les droits culturels and Opale CRDLA-Culture.

Read more 

International conference launched by UNTFSSE on the role of SSE in the implementation of the SDGs
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From 24 to 26 June 2019, RIPESS was in Geneva (Switzerland) to attend this important international conference where participants discussed the results and role of the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

How can the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs)? Can local SSE projects have an impact on global development? The answers to these and many other questions were discussed at the International Conference RIPESS members presented several papers and organized the parallel session “Building the SSE movement from local to global”.

It was an opportunity to explain the alternative development model advocated by RIPESS, as well as the process of global convergence that is currently being promoted with the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies 2020.

And then we had two presentations from RIPESS members. First, Yvon Poirier of RIPESS North America presented the case study “Association for Sarva Seva Farms – ASSEFA-India: 50 Years of Sustainable Development”. You can consult the complete document here

Then, Denison Jayasooria, President of ASEC – RIPESS Asia, presented “Community Forestry Projects in Malaysia: People’s Participation in the Implementation of the ISF”. The full document is available here

The second day began with a presentation by Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, Community Supported Agriculture around the world and member of the RIPESS Board of Directors, entitled “How Community Supported Agriculture contributes to the realisation of Solidarity Economy in the SDGs”. It showed the deep ramifications that are possible in the specific sector of agriculture supported by the community and SWM. The full text of the article can be found here.

In the closing session, RIPESS members Judith, Denison and Laura Cicciarelli highlighted the main messages of the past two days with the OECD and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

Overall, the evaluation made at the closing session was that, throughout the two-day conference, the contribution of SSE to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was highlighted in the case studies presented.

For the future, it was agreed that the UNTFSSE, to which RIPESS actively contributes, should transmit messages from the field and prepare to work on a UN resolution on #ESS.

You can find the videos of the various sessions #SSE4SDGS on the Facebook page of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).

10th ILO Academy : from the Future of Work to changing the economy through SSE

By Nora Inwinkl / Solidarius Italia

The 10th International Labour Organisation Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Turin from the 3rd to the 7th June. It was been co-organised by the International Labour Organisation, celebrating its first century of existence this year. Looking at the Future of Work, it was an opportunity given to people interested or already engaged in the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of workers and employers’ organisations to exchange on the need to impact the economy through SSE in a sustainable perspective. More than 100 people from all the world were involved (except for Oceania), carrying their different knowledge, traditions, cultures, frameworks and needs. Thanks to an agreement with the organisers, four members of the RIPESS Europe network from Portugal, Greece and Italy were able to attend, as well as Beatrice Alain (Chantier de l’Economie sociale, Quebec) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS coordinator) who were among the invited speakers.

The core of the Academy reflected our market and labour situation, focusing on the challenges we are facing in several fields: economy, technology, environment, climate change, democracy, participation, and others. Despite the diversity of participants, both in terms of origins and in terms of career orientations, everybody agreed on one specific and essential point: the system we are living in is not sustainable at all and the solutions promoted by various governments and the main stakeholders are not relevant. For this reason, the Academy put forward several important issues comprising different form of enterprises and/or organisations of the SSE (SSEEOs – Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organisations), the legal framework existing or that could be promoted in the different countries both at the local and national level, financial mechanisms and tools, and many others.

The report entitled « Work for a Brighter Future » written by the Global Commission on the Future of Work served as an illustration of the advocated work model. That is is a « human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice».

It is important to move from the local scale and, particularly, from the local expertise and practices, highlighting the specificities of each territory. During these five days, many practitioners presented their initiatives and their experiences, sharing knowledge and different form of innovation and receiving several comments and suggestions. Different experiences developed in different territories but all guided from similar values and principals, those of the SSE paradigm, enhanced in contrast with the neoliberal one.

The importance of the “practices” has been highlighted together with the study fields, organised during the second day in the cities of Turin, Ivrea and Cuneo. It gave the opportunity to the participants to discover the implementation of SSE through virtuous experiences.

There is still a long way to go and probably one of the things that have to be improved is the construction of a common vocabulary and a common framework to implement and develop SSE in a transversal and transectorial way. It is important to work in both direction: the bottom-up, implementing and supporting local initiatives, and the top down, working with the local and national authorities in promoting SSE laws and policies. Thus, as a participant said during the closing plenary, we need to work on “SSE in all policies”.

« Moving towards a new economic system » : RIPESS Europe at the 7th CIRIEC International Research Conference

This year’s conference of CIRIEC took place in Bucharest, Romania from the 6th-9th June 2019 with an ambitious title : « Moving towards a new Economic system ». CIRIEC  (International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy) is a network of international scientific and research organizations, set up in 1947.

Dražen Šimleša, our network coordinator, represented RIPESS Europe in several sessions as well as in the International Scientific Commission “Social and Cooperative Economy” of CIRIEC and participated in the meeting that took place before the official opening of the conference.

It was a special occasion since for the first time the conference was organised in Central Eastern Europe, a region of the continent which has its own historical challenges and opportunities for SSE, given the fact that Social and Solidarity Economy brings in a new paradigm of governance founded on democracy and participation.

The participants discussed about the role of SSE and the current global challenges, with a ‘transformational vision’, focusing on themes such as workers owned enterprises and the future of decent work, providing food sustainability, sovereignty and access , SSE eco-systems-governance, networks, visibility and policies. Thus, a good place for RIPESS to be among other 250 participants from all over the world.

Hopefully this will bring closer practitioners and social movements activists for SSE with scientific sector that can support us with their researches and analyses.

See the programme and some contributions here.

The World Social Forum of Transformative Economies. Promoting synergies

By Josette Combes

The preparatory meeting for the WSFTE was held in Barcelona on 5, 6 and 7 April 2019. It brought together more than 300 people from all over the world, more than half of whom came naturally from Catalonia and Spain. For RIPESS international members from Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and more from Europe (18 countries represented), this meeting was an excellent opportunity to share their experiences with people working in other parts of the world and in very diverse fields.

There were representatives of structures dedicated to the development of municipalities, the defence of agro-ecology, the promotion of eco-feminism, ecohousing, social currencies and ethical finance, popular education, alternative media and, of course, social and solidarity economy networks.
The place was well suited for this meeting. The Aula Magna University in Barcelona offered suitable rooms and above all an outdoor space conducive to informal exchanges during meals. The animation of the many workshops was very structured and but too vague at times. The participants sometimes considered that what was proposed for reflection pre-formatted the course of the debates a little too much. It must be recognized that the ambition of the meeting required that it be planned. The whole thing gave the impression of a promising potential but one that lacked the space and time to deploy further.

This test run augurs well for a series of rich interactions but also shows the difficulties in establishing the convergences that are essential to ensure a future for the species living on the planet, an increasingly important part of which is threatened with extinction, and ultimately the human species itself. Even if a certain awareness is beginning to grow, especially among the younger generations, it is urgent to gather all the energies to shift the current economic paradigms from a mad rush to profit towards a rational management of resources and a better social and ecological balance. All the parameters mentioned above will allow this fundamental change of direction.
All these dimensions, worked on by groups in a way that is still too often considered marginal or experimental, are still fragmented. Together, they form a coherent holistic approach in which each party can consider itself a legitimate actor. It is not only a question of fighting against but also of proposing concrete, current and effective actions, capable, through their demonstration, of attracting the support of a larger mass of people who will themselves become actors of change. Finally, these meetings, by providing an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and know-how, contribute to strengthening the determination of the activists of all these networks and in a context where threats from authoritarian governments are increasing, this last point is far from being superfluous.
To achieve its objective, the WSFTE must adopt a more “intercultural” approach that better articulates the networks that were present this spring in Barcelona, so that all those who have visited it feel really empowered.

Renewable energy cooperatives and local authorities
REScoop Zagreb may 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

More info

NESI Forum 2019: from 2030 to today
NESI Forum_ giant_map

RIPESS supported and participated in the Second NESI Forum, which took place from 24 to 26 April in Malaga, Spain. The event focused on the UN’s SDGs and how to create a world where they will be effectively implemented by 2030.

Six main axes were developed during the Forum: the future of finance, the future of energy, the future of urban planning and housing, food sovereignty and agro-ecology, the future of work, sustainable textiles.

Drazen Simlesa participated as a representative of RIPESS Europe and was one of the main contributors in the field of food sovereignty and agro-ecology.

With 500 participants from all over the world, the NESI Forum is one of the most important gatherings of individuals and organizations involved in the development of new economies.

The workshops were particularly interesting as a Horizon model, so that each sector could map the current challenges, determine the direction we want to give by 2030 and finally what we need to achieve it.

More info: NESI Forum

Euro-Mediterranean meeting of the “Workers’ Economy” network
April 20, 2019
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Phptp Article Association Autogestion

Authors : Benoît Borrits, Bruno Della Sudda, Christian Mahieux et Richard Neuville | 25 Apr 2019 | Événements, Vie de l’association

Article of Association Auogestion

The articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism at the heart of the 3rd meeting of the “Workers’Economy”.

From 12 to 14 April, the third Euro-Mediterranean meeting “The Workers’ Economy” was held in Milan. About 200 people participated, with parity between men and women and a fair number of young people. This process was initiated about ten years ago by the Faculta Abierta program of the University of Buenos Aires, which studies and supports companies that are recovered by their workers. By denying the owners the right to close a company or to dispose of the production tool and by resuming production without a boss in a self-managed form, these workers prefigure another economy, democratic and without shareholders. The objective of these meetings is to bring together workers from these companies, researchers and activists from different countries over a few days.

Having started from Latin America, this process is now being translated into continental and global meetings. This Euro-Mediterranean edition is the third after Marseille (Fralib/scop-Ti) in 2014 and Thessaloniki (Vio.me) in 2016. It was held in Rimaflow, a former automotive supplier factory converted into various ecological and social activities. It brought together participants from about ten countries: Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kurdistan, Germany, Russia (and also Brazil and Argentina). These meetings made it possible to discuss various themes such as the notion of conflict mutualism, promoted by the Rimaflows and the Fuori Mercato network (Outside the market), a trade unionism without borders and embracing the whole social field; agroecology and the relations between rural and urban movements; social reproduction in self-managed experiences and union work; the recovery of the “public”, the “commons” from a self-management perspective; self-managed production and self-management of distribution; the articulation between self-management, ecology and feminism; welfare from below; economic autonomy to overcome gender violence.

Prefiguring an economy free of bosses and shareholders, we can consider that the presence of trade union organisations would be obvious: should the outcome of social demands not lead to this perspective? From this point of view, the presence of organisations such as the Union Syndicale Solidaires or the Spanish CGT is an essential support in the development of this process. It is regrettable that too few self-managed companies are currently included in these meetings. It will undoubtedly be essential to redefine the objectives so that they are more present; this is an issue, particularly in France.

Euro-Mediterranean meetings, a prefiguration of a Europe of workers, a Europe turned towards the southern shore of the Mediterranean? The next edition should take place in 2021 in Andalusia, organised in particular by the comrades of SOC/SAT and CGT; in September 2019, the 7th international meeting will be held in Sao Paulo.

L’Association pour l’autogestion, le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologieet leféminisme (AAAEF) et l’Union syndicale Solidaires were present in Milan, as part of the joint work within the Network Getting Together for Empowerment1.

1 This Network brings together l’Association Autogestion (AA), l’Association des communistes unitaires (ACU), les Amis de Tribune socialiste (ATS), Cerises la coopérative, l’Observatoire des mouvements de la société (OMOS), le Réseau pour l’autogestion, les alternatives, l’altermondialisme, l’écologie et le féminisme (AAAEF), le Temps des lilas et l’Union syndicale Solidaires.

Are Corporations and SSE Organizations Meeting the SDG Challenge?

Sustainability measurement and reporting has much improved in recent decades, but is it fit for purpose for 21st century challenges and for the SDGs? This international conference held on June 3 and 4, in Geneva, will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders from UN agencies, national policy making bodies and practitioners in the measurement and reporting fields to discuss best practices, key concerns, and ways forward that take better account of the social dimensions of sustainable development.

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