Barcelona, October 2017 – The FESC (Fira,d’Economia Solidaria de Catalunya) took place in Barcelona on October 20-21 2017. RIPESS Europe was present alongside with representatives of other continents (ASEC / Asia, RAESS / Africa, RIPESS LAC / Latin and Central America, RIPESS NA / North America). The RIPESS Intercontinental decided to hold the annual meeting of the Board of Directors (the others are all online, for obvious reasons of cost) just after, at the headquarters of the Catalan network XES.
The FESC was very well attended as usual: SSE is very dynamic in Catalonia as the profusion of stalls and activities demonstrates. The fair has been busy despite the exceptional closing Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m., to allow those who wished to participate in the peaceful protest against the Spanish Government, Rajoy and his muscular ways of «dialogue» with the Catalan supporters of independence.
The main theme was about the “Procomun” (the Commons) and SSE: a debate between players of the two movements took place, stressing the complementarity of the two approaches.
Saturday night – in a demonstration of how cooperation and solidarity can be very effective – after a meal served in a large room, tables were removed at a glance thanks to all the guests and transformed in a dance hall, with an orchestra that has enchanted the participants, alternating pop music and political songs.
After the closing on Sunday, RIPESS intercontinental board met for three days, facilitated by Laure Jongejans, executive secretary and Alexandre Durrande, in charge of communication. Thanks to the facilitation, a day was devoted to the acquaintanceship among the representatives of each continent and the emergence of the issues and challenges unique to each network. This sequence has been very beneficial to deepen the international cooperation between the continents that pass especially by better communication and sharing of methods and tools.
It is clear that the networks’ maturity levels are variable and the continents are so vast that the development of a dynamic between actors is rather complex. Each coordination network strives to develop interactions and tools to advance the SSE for the benefit of the inhabitants of the territories, because finally the local level is considered by everyone as the relevant registry for the development of the solidarity economy. Nevertheless, RIPESS is involved in international bodies such as the inter-agencies Task Force of the United Nations or FAO.
A number of important decisions was taken during this meeting, as the reinforcement of the working group on education, with pilot training sessions which could then be multiplied in each continent and the launch of activities of the women and SSE working group.
The major decision regarding RIPESS Europe was the appointment of Jason Nardi as general coordinator of RIPESS Interncontinental for a period of two years. This means, among other things, that RIPESS Europe will support the organization of an international meeting after that of Manila in 2013, co-organized with other networks.
That meeting was supposed to take place this year in South America, but the RIPESS LAC has finally given up due to internal difficulties, but also because of a relatively unstable political situation in South America. The RIPESS Europe coordination will meet in January to consider all the potential strategies and to make it possible.