Article by Andrea Echeverría, Ripess Intercontinental
RIPESS LAC concluded its “Latin American meeting” on 25 November with a presentation by the coordinator, Karin Berlien, on 7 December at the Webinar on Decent Work and the Social and Solidarity Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Advances and challenges from the Resolution of the 110th International Labour Conference of the ILO.
The webinar (information only available in Spanish), organised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) together with the United Nations Development Coordination Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (DCO LAC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Task Force for the Social Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE), of which Ripess Intercontinental is an active member, discussed the challenges and opportunities of the social and solidarity economy as a tool to promote decent work and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The webinar served as climax to a gathering, which took place in Quito, the centre of the world, and in which ECLAC also took part together with almost 100 participants from Latin American grassroots communities that practice, perform and work for a real and current transformation in the continent. Since 2009, the Central and South American network has brought together 24 organisations in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting a social and solidarity economy in the region as a new way of life, generating political influence, strengthening solidarity and intercultural economic circuits, disseminating diverse experiences and creating spaces for meeting and construction. With the support of Ripess Intercontinental and WSM, Ripess LAC hosted in the Ecuadorian capital, the centre of the world, representatives and delegations from Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala and, of course, Ecuador. During the 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th of November, the community finally met, embraced, listened and exchanged practices, knowledge, experiences and learning. This community is made up of organisations that work in networks and share the values of solidarity, associativism, redistribution, reciprocity, decent work in harmony with the environment, autonomy and equality, and that manage their territories through non-capitalist economic practices, whose aim is not the accumulation of wealth but the good living of all and respect for the planet.
Thus, a few days after this special meeting, the coordinator and representative of RipessLAC, Karin Berlien, emphasised during her intervention in this webinar the transversal importance of food sovereignty in the region, which involves caring for nature and the limited resources of the earth, as well as the philosophy of good living that the native Latin American peoples instilled in the new generations: “we point out that the social solidarity economy (SSE) is recognised in Latin America as working towards the objectives of Good Living”.
Together with the promotion of ancestral knowledge, a vertebral topic along the gathering, the importance of political advocacy as a tool for change in social policies, legal frameworks and bigger institutions was also highlighted: “The creation of public policies for the SSE should be recognising the contribution and situated knowledge generated by SSE organisations in operation, and supporting their integration processes chosen by SSE communities as systems of exchange of products and knowledge; support in processes of local self-managed certifications; food circuits that can have different scales, barter, local fairs, baskets, as well as supplying public establishments (schools, hospitals, prisons); participatory mapping for community areas that should have environmental and cultural protection, for the safeguarding of socio-ecological zones and local cultures. “
To conclude, and as a challenge, Karin pointed out that “educational models must train for peace and cooperation, for collective articulation and respect for nature, from the diversity of ancient and modern local knowledge”.
“SSE has the capacity to use the best practices of the present system (such as efficiency, use of technology and knowledge) and to channel them towards the benefit of the community, based on the values and objectives of good living”.
You can watch the full webinar (in Spanish) here.
And download full Karin’s intervention (in English) here.