Friday, May 10, 2013

International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development

Newsletter #98

May 1st 2013


WSF 2013, Declaration of the Assembly of Convergence for Social and Solidarity Economy


Social and Solidarity Economy at the WSF 2013 in Tunisia.


Editorial message

Message from the editorial team

All three of us participated to varying degress in the WSF that took place in Tunis from March 26th – 31st. Yvon represented the Canadian Community Economic Devlopment Netword (CCEDNET), as well as the RIPESS North America (Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social and Solidarity Economy). Judith was there to represent Urgneci, and RIPESS Europe (of which Urgenci is a member). Judith had also particpated in thee preparatory meetings of the WSF as member of the Babels coordination team (Babels is the the network of volunteer interpreters who have been invovled in the WSF for many years). Finally, the European P’actes that Martine coordinates, were represented by the President, France Joubert.

The fact that the WSF took place in Tunisia was of great interest, because the country is going thrugh a democratic revolution that began on January 14th 2011, as well as echoing the many developments in the Arab world. The fact that both Tunisians and people from the other Maghreb-Mashrek region as well as Sub-Saharan Africa participated in great numbers was highly significant, as was the massive presence of youth, who can to express their hopes for a better future and decent work.

Rather than write any new articles, we are publishing you two documents that were written and shared by RIPESS, following the WSF. They mention some of the contributions to the general programme made by the members involved in the RIPESS.

Judith Hitchman

Yvon Poirier

Martine Theveniaut

WSF 2013, Declaration of the Assembly of Convergence for Social and Solidarity Economy


The participants in the Assembly of Convergence Another World already exists here and now declare that social solidarity economy in its various forms throughout the world represents the alternative to the global capitalist system. It is an economy conceived by citizens for citizens; the objective is to democratically ensure a decent life and food sovereignty for all people, and to preserve the natural resources that are currently being destroyed and wasted.

Social solidarity economy emancipates all people, but especially women who are the key actors. It allows them to gain control over their lives by eradicating poverty and re-establishing the right to a dignified life for all.

Here and now citizens around the world are organising to structure possibilities and networks for exchanging tools, ideas and goods in short circuits and alliances between producers and consumers as well as supporting solidarity between all peoples of the world. This wealth is not merely material, it is based on that of relationships built between people, a key value to protecting the future of humankind. The assembly calls for all people to organise collectively and bring pressure to bear on public authorities from local to international level, to shifting their economic policy to a people- rather than capital-centred economy.

Specifically this should aim to:

·         Jointly work with civil society and SSE organisations to build policies that enable SSE to develop from local to national level

·         Guarantee decent income for all people as well as universal access to basic services such as healthcare and education

·         Encourage participatory, cooperative teaching methods from an early age and throughout the learning process as well as in production processes in order to promote solidarity and cooperation in all activities

·         Develop the activities of social and solidarity economy through procurement practice and use of services that include transparent criteria, good governance and the ecological criteria of SSE.

·         Encourage young people in solidarity entrepreneurship and useful economic activities, particularly in the sector of essential goods and services (organic agriculture, renewable energies, equitable sharing of water, forestry and other natural resources). SSE provides an efficient means of fighting unemployment in countries such as Tunisia and of creating jobs for young graduates 

·         Establish a legal framework, particularly at international level that will support solidarity finance, citizens’ investment cooperatives, and local solidarity currencies.

·         Provide active support for research and development, international and national exchange of good practice and advocacy in the United Nations’ agencies as well as all other international institutions to meet the urgent transition to an economy that respects both humankind and the planet.


The Assembly calls upon all civil society actors to network their actions at global level in order to enable people all over the world to assert their rights, and to replace the current system that is based on individual selfishness, over-consumption of resources, competition, male hegemony and war, by a peaceful, fraternal sober economy of cooperation and peace between all humankind.


Social solidarity economy at the 2013 WSF in Tunisia.

Press release

The 12th edition of the World Social Forum (WSF), held in Tunis from March 26 to 30, presents itself as a true consecration of struggles by social movements and civil society in Tunisia, who identify themselves as the main actors of the Arab Spring, and a broad representation of global social movements in support of the Tunisian people. Tens of thousands of people attended the opening march on the 26th, after morning meeting of women in a crowded auditorium. Subsequently, a series of workshops and conferences, 1200 in total, were in the program. The WSF ended on March 30 with a march in support of the Palestinian people.

The social solidarity economy had a good place in the programming. The initiative presented in the printed program is the case of a cooperative, the cooperative NOMAD 08. This coop brings together a group of eight young unemployed graduates from Redeyef City in southern Tunisia that is specialized in manufacturing electronics interpretation, which served in the WSF. While Tunisia has tens of thousands of unemployed youth, the NOMAD cooperative appears as a great example and explains the choice of the organizers of presenting in the forefront NOMAD to participants to implement the historic Forum motto: another world is possible.

RIPESS, including RIPESS Europe, RIPESS North America and the African Network of Social Solidarity Economy (RAESS) organized seven workshops, attended by nearly 300 people. Several regional organizations joined our efforts to facilitate the workshops and discussed the role of SSE in Africa, food sovereignty, the informal economy, and economic democracy as an alternative to capitalism and neoliberal globalization. We heard many testimonies of participants from sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa or South America, by organizations that develop activities with women, youth, fighting against land grabbing or unemployment. We also insisted that the SSE is not an economy of repair but the construction of a new worldview and applicable alternatives to neoliberal economic devastation.

The RIPESS member organizations at the WSF were able to converge their efforts and work together to promote the SSE as an alternative, and in collaboration with Tunisian organizations interested in the SSE.

In our workshops, and outside, we found strong support for the idea that the SSE can be a suitable approach for the Tunisian people, and especially young people, to organize in different regions of the country, in order to develop activities for a better life.

We wish to testify to the warm welcome from the Tunisians. We also want to share our feeling that the SSE is already alive and well in Tunisia.


Josette Combes

Mouvement d’économie solidaire (MES) France

Member RIPESS Europe


Maude Brossard

Chantier de l’économie sociale du Québec

Member RIPESS North America


Yvon Poirier

Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNET)

Member RIPESS North America


Noureddine EL HARRAK

Morocco SSE network (REMESS)

Member of Africa SSE network (RAESS)


April 2013



About the Newsletter

This Newsletter is published in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia and in Japanese. It has been produced on a voluntary basis since the first issue in 2003.

The Editorial team wishes to thank the following volunteers for their support in translation and revision:

Michel Colin (Brazil)

Paula Garuz Naval (Ireland)

Évéline Poirier (Canada)

Brunilda Rafael (France)

We also wish to thank the Civil Policy Research Institute (CPRI) of Seikatsu Club in Japan for the Japanese translation and AKSI UI for the translation to Bahasa Indonesia.

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Yvon Poirier



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