The REAS Spanish solidarity economy network congress takes place every two years. This year it was held in Bilbao, capital of the Spanish Basque country. The theme was “Transformar los territorios desde la Economía Solidaria”: Transforming territories through solidarity economy. It was attended by about 400 people from all over Spain.
The Spanish Basque country is possibly the most advanced region I know in terms of the duality of solidarity economy and food sovereignty. It is indeed one of the original birthplaces of food sovereignty, as Ehne Biskaya was one of the founding members of the food sovereignty movement in the late 1990s. So the fact that transition and food sovereignty was one of the main strands of the congress was no surprise.
The organisation of the whole 3 days was characterised by delegation of the themes to various members of REAS and interactivity. Participants chose a strand, and followed the series of workshops and dialogues on their chosen subject. As well as transitions and food sovereignty, there was a feminist economy strand, a strand on the Commons, on democratic, inclusive economy, reaching beyond existing limits, and citizen’s role in solidarity economy. The full programme can be found here.
Keynote speakers were Jean-Louis Laville, who also emphasized the importance of RIPESS contribution at global and European level, and Magdalena Léon, from Ecuador from the Red de Mujeres Transformando la Economía.
As this was the Spanish national congress, there was no interpretation, which was a positive and enriching challenge! But I was hugely impressed and touched by the tolerance and support I received from all the other participants whenever I wanted to contribute. Solidarity was a genuine reality! So many thanks to all those who made it possible for RIPESS Europe to fully participate in this great event.
By Judith Hitchman, Urgenci
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