History and International Meetings

Since 1997, RIPESS has organised international meetings to promote Social Solidarity Economy every four years. This has provided the network with a space to learn, exchange information and cooperate. These meetings have marked the two first decades of the promotion and international growth of RIPESS as well as helping the continental networks to grow progressively stronger.

 

LIMA 1997 • QUEBEC 2001 • DAKAR 2005 • LUXEMBURG 2009 • MANILA 2013

See below the last RIPESS achievements at an international level.

LIMA 1997

In March 1997, in Ostende in Belgium, the Conference on Social Economy in the North and the South took place. This meeting mainly brought together organisations and university researchers involved in research on solidarity economy. The universities expressed the need to hold an international conference in order to develop a more concrete solidarity economy movement.

The first International meeting for the globalization of solidarity was held in Lima, Peru. It allowed various networks and activists of the social solidarity economy on a global scale to meet and exchange their experiences and practices on the matter. The Social Solidarity Economy was then defined as all economic activities and practices with a social finality, which contribute to build a new economic paradigm.

See the Lima Declaration

QUEBEC 2001

In January 2000, several people from Quebec who had participated in the Lima meeting came together and created the Groupe d’Économie Solidaire du Québec (GESQ). This group planned to host the second meeting that was held in 2001 in Quebec. The other objective was to provide the network with a legal structure that could raise funds.

The second meeting was held in Quebec, under the slogan “Resist and Build”. At the end of this meeting, the International Liaison Commission (ILC) was established. This is an instrument for sustainable dialogue between continents in order to induce the creation of a resisting rally against neo-liberal globalization management and strategies, and to create effective and sustainable alternatives. The ILC then decided on its first internal meeting to name the process: the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS).

See the Quebec Declaration

DAKAR 2005

The Groupe d’économie sociale et solidaire du Sénégal (GSESS) was created to organise a meeting in Dakar in 2005, with the support of the CECI, an organisation of Canadian volunteers and the Canadian international solidarity network Développement et Paix. In January 2004, RIPESS was registered in Quebec as a non-profit-making organisation (equivalent to an association). This led to the first RIPESS General Assembly that was held in Trois-Rivières. The Rules of Procedure (Bye-laws) were adopted, and a first Board of Directors designated.

The third International Meeting on the Globalization of Solidarity was held in Dakar, November 22-26, in 2005, under the slogan « Empowering People ». It was jointly organized by RIPESS and the Senegalese Social Solidarity Economy Group (GSESS). This meeting provided a space for social actors and public decision-makers on Social Solidarity Economy from all over the world to converge. It was also a space that enabled African SSE movements to share their vision of SSE with those of other continents.

See the Dakar Declaration

LUXEMBURG 2009

Since 2005, RIPESS has implemented a decentralised model, with two people per continent sitting on the Board of Directors. As well as the change in governance model, RIPESS wanted to enlarge the network that had thus far been essentially present in Latin America and the French-speaking countries. This also empowered more inclusive, legitimate and influential activities at international level.

In June 2007, during the first US Social Forum, the US Solidarity Economy Network was created. In the same year, the first Asian Forum on solidarity economy took place in Manila, thanks to the support of the Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH). During this meeting, the organisers agreed to join RIPESS.

The fourth International Meeting on the Globalization of Solidarity was held in Luxemburg in April 2009, under the slogan «Another economy exists: the innovations of the social and solidarity economy». It was jointly organized by RIPESS and the Institut Européen de l’Économie Solidaire (INEES). The meeting allowed the participants, from all continents, to Illustrate, Debate, and make Proposals on thirteen specific themes such as public policies, responsible production and consumption, environment and food sovereignty.

See the Lux’09 Declaration

MANILA 2013

In October 2010, at the African social economy meeting that was held in Kenitra, in Morocco, the African Social Solidarity Economy network (RAÉSS) was born. RIPESS Europe was formally constituted at a meeting in Barcelona in September 2011. Since 2012 RIPESS has received financial support from the FPH.

The 5th International Meeting on the Globalization of Solidarity took place in Quezon City, Philippines, from October 15 to 18, 2013. Featuring various conferences, workshops and plenary sessions aroung the theme of “Building Social Solidarity Economy as an Alternative Model of Development”, the global forum brought together 650 participants from 31 countries of all continents. The event, co-organized by RIPESS and ASEC (Asian Solidarity Economy Council – RIPESS-Asia), also provided the participants with the opportunity to contribute to the definition of the Global Vision of RIPESS.

Three documents represent the outcomes of the collective process started in Manila:

See also the video presentation of Manila 2013

 

INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Successfully promoting SSE at global level, even if the global meetings have helped, is also the outcome of all the regular work carried out by RIPESS at international level, especially since 2009. The global crises, especially that of 2008, have increased interest in SSE in general and RIPESS in particular as an alternative approach to the economy. Here are some of the achievements (up to 2016):

  • 2009: RIPESS coordination was invited to address the ILO in Geneva (June) and also in Johannesburg.
  • 2011: The FIESS event in October in Montreal brought together governments and international institutions such as multilateral development banks.
  • 2013 marked a turning point in the recognition of SSE and of RIPESS:
  • The UNRISD conference that was held in May 2013 in Geneva represented a very important stage. Several of the key speakers were RIPESS members, including Ben Quinones (the Philippines, ASEC), who was then coordinator, and Emily Kawano (USA, RIPESS N. America) spoke about our vision of SSE.
  • The most important turning point was the creation of the United Nations SSE working group on 30th September, the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Social Solidarity Economy (TFSSE). RIPESS was granted formal observer status from the outset.
  • It is also important to list all the work carried out by RIPESS on the SDGs with Daniel Tygel, who was then Executive Secretary, and who intervened in the consultative phase in the United Nations HQ on the basis of our recommendations on SSE, as well as the intervention made by Madani Coumaré (Mali, RAÉSS) in September 2015 in the UN General Assembly.
  • RIPESS has consultative status accreditation for UNCTAD (received in 2015) and ECOSOC (2016).
  • RIPESS fully participated in the Habitat III process.
  • RIPESS was also member of the organising committee for the GSEF in 2016. It is now a member of the GSEF, and vice versa. RIPESS is also on the GSEF Board.