One of the main objectives of this Erasmus+ VET-2 project is to develop a competence profile for SSE trainers in different disciplines of VET studies. This report explores the possibility of integrating VET trainers’ competences in existing training programs. In order to do so, the organisations and networks part of the project – from Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania – participated to a survey to explore elements that will be introduced in trainers competence profile adjusted to SSE requirement.
Thus, in this report “Mapping of trainers’ competences and existing SSE training programs”, partners proceeded to an in depth analysis of the situation, with the help and answers of the people most fitted to answer: the trainers themselves. Interviews and desk research were used for data collection. Unveiling opportunities and constraints to develop SSE VET curricula, this report is an important contribution for the partners and RIPESS Europe to help overcome the inadequacy of the Occupational Standard, reaching out for all potential trainees.
SSE vision and practices opens a new pathway on many issues such as nature and future of work, local development, social responsibility, education, training, etc. In that context, there are many opportunities for further SSE integration in VET trainings.
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.
On 15, 16 and 17 May, the Réseau Interuniversitaire de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire held its conference, this time hosted by the Université Paris – Est Marne la Vallée. This was the nineteenth edition of this event, which brings together SSE researchers and actors every year, this year under the title SSE of culture, culture of SSE. More than 200 participants were able to exchange ideas within a renovated university, in very good conditions of comfort and accompanied by a team of staff and students of the Chair of Social and Solidarity Economy, under the kind responsibility of Hervé Defalvard.
The opening conference was given by Farida Shaheed, Executive Director of the Shirkat Gah-Women Resource Centre (Pakistan) and former and first UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights. Laura Aufrère, who initiated this invitation, introduced Farida and stressed the importance of her work in understanding the multiple dimensions of cultural rights.
Farida Shaheed, while saying she knew little about SSE, said in the preamble that respect for human rights is an unfailing foundation of an economy that claims to be inclusive. Cultural rights allow the development of specific worldviews and the resulting ways of life. According to the United Nations definition, it is “the right of everyone to take part in cultural life and to benefit from scientific progress and its applications”. Culture is never static, it is always evolving. Similarly, no community can be referred to a single culture knowing that there is always a dominant culture that power imposes to the detriment of so-called minority cultures, including those of women, youth, ethnic minorities, etc. Cultural rights include the right to criticize, contradict and reformulate the parameters of the dominant culture.
According to Farida, one cannot talk about cultural rights without addressing the issue of gender. While women play a fundamental role in cultural transmission, their influence in decision-making is limited and rules are defined little or not at all by women. They face different forms of violence for acts as simple as choosing whether and with whom they want to marry, how to dress and where they are allowed to go. When they violate these rules, enacted without their advice, they are sentenced on the pretext of treason. This is why it is urgent to change the paradigm and place women on an equal footing in their role as spokespersons for what must be transmitted or abandoned from a culture undergoing renovation. Similarly, young people or the marginalized must regain their right to expression and influence.
In her presentation, Farida Shaheed also addresses the issue of access to technologies and the problem of transferring the results of research conducted in public laboratories to the public interest. It also highlights the danger faced by artists whose expression can be censored because it is perceived as threatening to the cultural status quo and thus the right to artistic expression is linked to the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association including the right to form trade unions, the right to benefit from the moral and material protections related to their production and the right to leisure.
There is also a real demand for the restoration of historical truths that have been abused by “official history, especially for the peoples who have suffered colonization. In conclusion, Farida emphasizes the importance of respecting diversity by using the metaphor of the damage caused by monoculture in agroecology. Human ecology needs space and time for multidimensional exchanges.
Two upcoming events were announced in plenary: the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies in May 2020, with which RIUESS will be associated, and the 2nd International SSE Forum “Co-constructing reciprocity in North-South relations”, which will take place in Carthage (Tunisia) on 15-17 April.
There were 10 workshops or 30 contributors in two sessions, according to 5 main axes: the modes of organization of SSE in and through culture, SSE cultures between pluralism, isomorphism and new paths, alliances between culture and SSE, interculturality in SSE, minority, diversity at the crossroads of SSE and culture. (contributions will soon be available on the website as well as on socioeco.org.)
The round table moderated by Patricia Coler (UFISC) Culture and Territory examined the place of local agreements in the dynamics of territories. Finally, the students had organized the gala evening with film screenings and music for dancing, a very cheerful evening. The twentieth meeting is scheduled for May 27,28,29 2020 in Clermont-Ferrand.
Independent media are close to the SSE, often by their status and
especially by the values they defend. But how do they approach it? Here
is a selection of independent media articles from the last three months.
You can also find them on the map of socioeco.org: Journalism of Solutions
(the articles are located in the city where the experience is taking
place or, in the case of a general article, in the city where the media
As you will see, the articles are in their original language, due to the diversity of European countries. For Greek, for which the Efsyn journal is particularly present with sometimes several articles per week on SSE, an English summary is included. This will allow you to perceive which themes are covered by these media: sustainable development, refugees, self-management, cooperatives, organic agriculture, etc. Feel free to send us an article or a media site to improve the map and our knowledge of SSE. Write to Françoise Wautiez: fwautiez[at]socioeco.org
Our Commons by Sophie Bloemen and Thomas de Groot features reflections on the enclosure of knowledge and the monopolisation of the digital sphere, stories about renewable energy cooperatives and community foodwaste initiatives and urgent pleas to see the city as a commons and to treat health as a common good. Published by the Institute of Network Cultures, the book is first published online as an e-book, free for all to download and share and as a printable PDF. The book will also be available on a wide variety of print-on-demand platforms.
Translation of the article in Italian “Il cibo buono fa bene all’Europa” by Manlio Masucci, in Comune.info, 6 May 2019
A common agricultural policy that focuses on food quality, agroecology and the social rights of those who work can relaunch the EU in crisis. Olivier De Shutter, president of Ipes-Food, speaks to us.
A common agricultural policy could make a decisive contribution to the development of sustainable food systems and the relaunch of the EU’s integration project. An ambitious proposal, destined to face the numerous challenges that characterize the sector: from the low-cost junk food that floods our markets to the new generation of commercial treaties, from the widespread illegality to the exploitation of workers to the system of public subsidies that facilitate the large standardized mass production. We asked Olivier De Shutter, co-chairman of Ipes-Food, former UN Special Commissioner for the Right to Food and current member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, how to address these problems at a time when public confidence in the EU seems to be at an all-time low.
De Shutter, citizens are harassed by the economic crisis and often choose to save money by buying bad quality food at low cost. How to convince them that this is not the best solution? The solution is not just to tell people to eat healthier food. We need to make the health option easier for everyone, especially for low-income groups. This means using a range of tools – urban planning, tax incentives (e.g. taxes on sodas or zero VAT on fruits and vegetables) and public procurement – to build healthy food environments. We need an adequate social safety net. Cheap calories can no longer replace social policies, which need to be rebuilt and redesigned to address the root causes of poverty and promote access to healthy food for all. Europe is approving new trade treaties that open the door to waves of junk food and feed unsustainable production systems. What is your position? The EU’s business model promotes trade in goods at ever-increasing volumes, despite contradictions with health and sustainability objectives. For example, the FTA with Japan is based on increased export opportunities in the high-emission meat and dairy sectors. Simply put, the EU and its Member States must completely rethink this model.
The report supports the need to rebuild confidence in the EU. Could a new food policy be the vehicle for relaunching the proEuropean project? Food is a source of great concern for citizens. By acting in this area and responding to what citizens want – healthy, sustainable and locally produced food – the EU can assert its relevance and importance. The idea of a food policy is inherently more democratic than current sectoral policies. By shifting the focus from agriculture to food, a wider range of stakeholders can be significantly involved in policy design and evaluation. How can a new food policy benefit workers in the sector? In Italy there is the phenomenon of immigrants forced to work in the fields in conditions of similar slavery. How to deal with widespread illegality? The most powerful actors in the food sector are able to put pressure on wages and working conditions. The cost of this is borne by farm labourers, fast food personnel and delivery personnel. This is happening in the EU and around the world. A common food policy would address this problem on three fronts. First, as well as applying due diligence to food importers, it would accelerate the reforms already underway at European level to crack down on unfair trade practices and abuses of buyer power in supply chains. Secondly, it would oblige operators to disclose the true costs of food production, allowing negative impacts on workers’ welfare to be made visible.Third, a common food policy would refocus EU policies in support of the alternative food system and short supply chain initiatives to ensure fair revenues for farmers and food workers.
In Italy 15% of the cultivated area is organic but about 97% of public incentives go to conventional agriculture. We are also well above the European average for pesticide consumption. Could a common policy help to improve this situation? A common food policy would reduce dangerous pesticides and chemical exposures by using various policy instruments, with increasing ambition over time. Steps to enhance the environmental vocation of the CAP would be combined with measures needed to develop diversified, low-input agroecological systems through research, better soil monitoring and a crackdown on endocrine disrupters (EDCs) in food packaging. With more stringent regulations, and demonstrating the benefits of agroecological alternatives, the EU would no longer be held hostage by short-term solutions. Therefore, in the long term, the EU could gradually phase out the systematic use of harmful pesticides such as glyphosate.
Young Italians are looking with increasing interest at the land for job opportunities while farmers’ markets are growing even in large cities. How can a common food policy support this process? Building shorter and fairer supply chains is one of the five key objectives of a common food policy. Tools already exist to support direct sales and short supply chains (e.g. in rural development), but they are rarely adopted by Member States and poorly implemented. Under a common food policy, more funding would be allocated to these initiatives and to local structures to support them through, for example, local food policy councils and urban food policies. Member States would be obliged to develop coherent strategies to support short supply chains and territorial initiatives. EU support instruments would also be redefined to be more accessible to small farmers and local food initiatives.
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
URGENCI, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)1 network and its national members from 12 European countries held an advocacy capacity building session in Brussels. This training session took place on the 14th, 15th, 16th of May. CSA advocates had an unprecedented opportunity to share experience and to refine their key messages.
and its members believe it is high time to raise the voices of CSA. In
the run up to the European elections, candidates should listen carefully
to the voices of this grassroots movements. “The specificity of CSA is that it is a concrete step towards a new social contract between producers and the societies they feed” explains
Mathias von Mirbach, a CSA farmer from Germany. CSA is one of the most
effective tools to help sustainable family farmers and conscious
consumers regain control of local and territorial food systems.The
CSA model is highly efficient when it comes to fighting food waste,
preserving cultivated agro-biodiversity and consolidating local
economies and employment. The nutrition provided by fresh, local
agroecologically grown fruit and vegetables is now recognised as
essential in fighting Non Communicable Disesases (NCDs) such as
diabetes, obesity and heart problems and cancer. CSA initiatives
therefore make a direct contribution to improving the health of European
citizens. Its social and environmental contributions should be more
clearly recognised. Direct payments and other measures of direct support
should be directed towards producers who sell locally through CSA and
other direct schemes.
These voices join the vibrant call for a Common Food Policy:
there is a urgent need to repair the lack of coherence between policies
implemented by the different DGs of the European Commission. We need to
connect agriculture with health and nutrition, social inclusion and the
environment. It is vital for thousands of CSA farms across Europe to
ensure that agroecology and sustainability are promoted as overarching
principles, and are prioritised over industrial agriculture, competition
and corporate profits. “As
part of the Nyeleni Europe Movement for Food Sovereignty, we in URGENCI
are convinced that it is equally essential to ensure small-scale
agroecological producers are at the core of this radical change towards a
Common Food Policy, and ensure European citizens have access to
healthy, nutritious food”, stresses Isabel Alvarez, Vice-President of URGENCI.
Now is the time for radical change. A change that is already well under way in the CSA. movement.
1Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct partnership between people and one or severalproducer(s), whereby the risks, responsibilities and rewards of farming are shared, through a long-term, binding agreement.