After the first international preparatory meeting held in Barcelona last April, the process towards the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies 2020 (WSFTE 2020) begins. Therefore, RIPESS has considered interesting to publish the reactions of several of the participants from different parts of the world. 

The first international preparatory meeting for the World Social Forum on Transformative Economies 2020 (WSFTE 2020) took place in Barcelona from April 5th to 7th. It brought together more than 300 people from 46 countries, who represented organizations linked to transforming economies, networks and movements at local and international level.

The meeting was the first step in the process of convergence between the movements and the transformative actions of the economy. The different actors met and established the challenges to be discussed and the path towards the WSFTE 2020.

Now that the meeting is over, RIPESS believes it is interesting to publish the reactions of several of the participants from different parts of the world. They come from different movements and experiences, but share the same objective: to work and converge for transformative economies that show that another world already exists. And this is only possible by joining forces, solutions and practices that build an Inclusive Global Agenda from the local level up, and overcoming the great challenges of today.

In this article, each of these people presents their experience during the preparatory forum, as well as why they consider that a space such as the WSFTE 2020 and the dynamics of convergence are necessary. Finally, several of them express the ultimate objective of this process, which began in April 2019 and is already on its way to the 2020 meeting in Barcelona.

Josette Combes, RIPESS Europe

This preparatory meeting prefigures a rich continuation of interactions. It also highlights the difficulties that exist to establish the convergences that are essential to securing the future of the species living on the planet, many threatened by extinction, and ultimately for humankind as well. Although there is increased awareness, especially in youth, it is urgent to bring energies together to change the current economic paradigms from a mad race for profit to a rational management of resources and to build a better social and ecological balance.

These dimensions jointly create a coherent holistic approach in which all actors can be considered legitimate. It is not only a question of fighting against existing issues, but also of proposing concrete, everyday, effective actions that can attract the support of a greater number of people who will in turn become the agents of change.

Prof. Dr. Denison Jayasooria, Chair of ASEC – RIPESS Asia

In my opinion, the theme and agenda of this global process is much needed, and WSFTE 2020 is providing the space for this global conversation. We really need more sessions on the context of the struggle as well as the practical ways people are addressing this on the ground in innovative and creative ways.

I must confess that I was impressed with the movement of people involved from Europe, especially Spain. They are not just project driven or programme driven. They share the values of SSE and one could see this in team work, food and the way they behaved. From the Asian side I am seeing more organisations that are not yet really movements, and therefore for May 2020 we must enlarge the movements from other parts of the world. Some regional meetings are critical to build the momentum for WSFTE 2020.

The WSFTE 2020 must be a truly global picture in terms of visibility, voices and concerns including the speakers & moderators. While volunteers might be mostly from Europe due to cost, a concerted effort must be made to see both gender balance as well as continental balance.

Claudia Álvarez, Campaign for a Global Curriculum for SSE*.

The WSFTE 2020 is building a political scenario that is based on participatory dialogue and debate structures in the construction of a public agenda. This forum for socio-economic convergence is a priority: it takes the diversity of meaning and research in account. It is a forum that takes the financialisation of capitalism into account, and allows us to make community and self-managing approaches more visible, to denounce the predatory logics of capitalism to nature, to provide visibility to non-colonial, non-patriarchal patterns of consumption, production and exchange, as well as the collective search for meeting the urgent challenges facing our society.

My understanding is that the final objective of a process such as the This requires the recognition of different forms and logics of work, reciprocal exchange, social relations on which norms and rules are established and reflected in laws, regulations and social institutions.

*The Campaign is a movement that works on education and research.

Natalia Resimont, Quartiers du Monde*

During the preparatory meeting for the WSFTE 2020 we were able to participate in many spaces for reflection and from a feminist economy position, it was nice to see that the proposals were taken in account. The challenge for 2020 will be to integrate new actors and networks from different horizons, such as eco-feminists, new masculinities that question the social construction of patriarchy as a system of male domination and its link with the dominant economy of exploitation and accumulation of wealth. Another challenge will be to integrate the proposals that emerged during this preparatory meeting.

In general we believe it is necessary to increase the representativeness of the social organizations and individuals mobilized at the WSFTE 2020, beyond the important territorial diversity already resent.  The objective is to have more diversity from socioeconomic and political contexts that would allow a South-North dialogue on the issues raised in the forum.

Quartiers du Monde supports the position and proposals of the feminist economic group: there can be no transformation without rethinking the dominant systems (capitalist and patriarchal) and their mechanisms to reproduce inequality, exclusion and violence. To be truly transformative, it seems essential to us that an economy needs an inclusive and participatory governance, a break with the sexual division of labour, the value of care, and  fight against all types of violence.

*Quartiers du Monde focuses its work on feminism and gender perspective.

Xavier Rubio, Head of the Department of Social Economy and Urban Food Care and Policies, Barcelona City Council.

The preparatory meeting in April 2019 was an important moment in the process to create a World Social Forum of Transformative Economies. In fact, it was a significant and necessary first step that now needs to be intensified to ensure that the WSFTE 2020 brings together the local and global movements that are the creators of transformative alternatives in Barcelona.

We want to build a public policy agenda at global level that calls on governments to promote and strengthen transformative economies. This will be anchored in the actions that we consider necessary to transform public policies, working jointly with social movements.

The goal of our outcome (rather than “end”) of the WSFTE 2020 should be the co-construction of an agenda for change that will be decided by all movements. It will include actions and the process of selecting instruments and governance to develop both this agenda and the process of monitoring and re-construction of the economy.

*Xavier Rubio contributes with his vision and experience on public policies.

Erinch Sahan, Chief Executive, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)*

The World Social Forum on Transformative Economies will be a historic moment. It is pivotal in the struggle for economies that works for people and planet. The preparatory meeting was my first experience of a World Social Forum process and I left energised, and as a believer in the process. There are many voices, experiences and ideas that must shape the journey of transforming our economies. This can only happen through a bottom-up, authentically grassroots process. The preparatory meeting achieved just this. It was genuinely an inclusive space where there was no pre-determined political agenda.

The task ahead is vast. Entrenched interests will fight for the status quo and argue that their efforts are sufficient, and that an alternative is not viable. But another world already exists, one that is both viable and desirable. Within our Fair Trade movement, we already have enterprises built to put people and planet before profit. These are joined by examples from across the social and solidarity economy, and indeed the agroecology and food sovereignty, feminist economics and the commons movements. It will be our job in Barcelona in 2020 to become ready to expand the transformations that are already underway. We will be ready.

*The WFTO is a movement working for fair trade.