Latin America and the Caribbean

Who we are

RIPESS LAC is a continental network that brings together various community-based, associative, co-operative and mutual organisations as well as citizens’ movements that work towards the implementation of solidarity economy in Latin America. We contribute the production and sharing of resources and knowledge that creates the basis of an alternative movement to the current capitalist system.

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Our History

The solidarity economy and fair trade movement in Latin America is an important emerging force in the democratic transformation of existing economic and social relations.

It was here that RIPESS was born. The international network of solidarity economy initiatives began in July 1997 in Lima (Peru), with a gathering of over 200 projects from 32 countries and spanning five continents. At this first meeting of the Globalisation of Solidarity, a joint declaration was published to protest the hegemony of the neoliberal development model. It proposed the recognition and development of solidarity in our economy as well as committing to building networks of solidarity economy in all countries.

Since then, networks and platforms of SSE have been built in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. There are also coordinating bodies in Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia as well as in some Central American and Caribbean countries. Five Latin American solidarity economy and fair trade meetings have been organised (Cochabamba in 2005, Havana in 2007, Montevideo in 2008, Medellin in 2010, Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and Managua in 2015).

The objective of RIPESS LAC is the coordination of these networks and articulation of shared interests within an overall programme.

What we believe in

The mission of RIPESS LAC is to build and promote solidarity economy including the social and ethical dimensions in all economic activities. RIPESS LAC is convinced that the development of human capacities is essential to change the world and that it is possible to do so through the creation of solidarity-based networks.

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This involves producing, exchanging and consuming goods and services that meet the economic and social needs of both the local and the international communities and building harmonious relationships between economic actors. Social and solidarity economy thus reinstates the value of work rather than that of capital. It meets peoples’ and communities’ needs in a way that reaches beyond profit-making.

Solidarity economy models are based on democratic decision-making processes and a system of participatory management that is transparent and aimed at collective sharing of economic results as well as motivation, participation and long-lasting success.

The contribution of the this economy can be measured by its impact on local, national and international development, especially through the creation of permanent jobs, development of new services, improved quality of life, the contribution it makes to gender equity, environmental protection and ethical creation of wealth.

Areas of work


RIPESS LAC work focuses on six main themes:

  • Solidarity finance
  • Fair trade and responsible consumption
  • Advocacy and building public policies
  • Development of coordination and economic inclusion mechanisms
  • Gender Equality in SSE
  • Local development

This is linked to the following objectives:

  • Contribute to strengthening SSE as a sustainable alternative and systemic change
  • Influence and jointly build public policy with social movements and thus put forward proposals for important socio-economic and cultural change at national and regional level
  • Communicate information from all SSE network actors and beyond
  • Strengthen reflection on and dissemination of SSE.

Some Actions

Solidarity economy and fair trade meetings

RIPESS LAC has participated in the organisation of several meetings that brought together many SSE actors in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 7 solidarity economy and fair trade meetings:

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These meetings, as well as evaluating the context, taking positions on important issues and defining potential joint actions enabled the network to:

  • Build alternative markets, aimed at supporting the emergence of harmonious relations between producers, consumers and the environment (fair trade)
  • Develop and strengthen savings and loans adapted to family and community interests (solidarity finance)
  • Promote the development of economic activities at local level (local economic development)
  • Encourage dialogue and discussion with the State to build favourable public policies to support solidarity economy (political impact)
  • Work to achieve greater visibility and recognition of the role of women in the economy (gender equity)
  • Build alliances with all social movements fighting for food sovereignty, the respect of human rights and the preservation of respect of the environment and resources.


All networks and national coordination bodies of solidarity economy and fair trade can become members of RIPESS LAC. This includes la Mesa de Coordinación Latinoamericana de Comercio Justo, la Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo, la Rel UITA)

Thus far 13 countries have member networks in RIPESS LAC. In Central America: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Salvador. In South America: Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

Pecosol – Plataforma de Economía Solidaria de Centro América

Countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica


Fórum Brasileiro de Economía Solidaria

Country: Brazil


Messe – Movimiento de Economía Social Solidaria de Ecuador

Country: Ecuador

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Grupo Red de Economía Solidaria del Perú (GRESP)

Country: Peru


Red de economía Solidaria de Republica Dominicana

Country: the Dominican Republic


Movimiento de Economía Solidaria y Comercio Justo de Bolivia

Country: Bolivia

Red Economía Solidaria Santiago

Country: Chile


Mesa Nacional de Trabajo cooperativo y solidario de Colombia

Country: Colombia

Mesa de Coordinación Latinoaméricana de Comercio Justo (MCLCJ)

Espacio ECOSOL

Country: Mexico




Executive Committee

The regional management committee of RIPESS LAC is made up of:

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Social networks:


If your territorial, sectorial or inter-sectorial network or initiative would like to join RIPESS LAC, you are more than welcome to join. Your membership would strengthen the visibility of your organisation at continental level and would enable you to share your experience and practice with others.

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