After attending the RIPESS Congress in Athens with participants from many of the College’s SUSY partner organisations, including an update on the final “Transformative Economy: Opportunities and Challenges of the Social and Solidarity Economy” research, it was time to get down to the serious business of the SUSY meeting. In a building in the Plaka district of Athens, squeezed between the Ancient Agora and the Tower of the Winds, and presided over by the Parthenon, it felt like very auspicious surroundings to be debating the progress of the project.
It’s not until you get in a room with all of the partners of the SUSY project that you realise the breadth and variety of organisations and activities involved; 26 partner organisations from 23 European territories, making this a mammoth project to co-ordinate. Having had a very successful SUSY speaker tour earlier in the year highlighting projects in Palestine and India, it was great to get the opportunity to hear about other events and activities that have been happening around Europe as part of the project. Speakers from Malaysia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador talking on a range of topics such as agroecology, food sovereignty, Fair Trade, recycling and sustainability, to name but a few.
The next step for the SUSY project is to focus on international advocacy activities, and so we had a great session where we worked on building the common demands and positions of the various partner organisations, as well as suggesting who the targets of the advocacy campaign will be. For other EU partners there was a lot of focus on piggy-backing on existing activities in the European Parliament, and also on influencing and campaigning with EU contacts. For the UK, this will also be important, but primarily the strategy should consider how to influence the debate around Brexit and how ensure the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is promoted as part of any changes to business and trade relations.
Watch this space for news of SUSY activities in the Autumn! Along with the film festival to showcase a global selection of films about the SSE, there will be events and training sessions with guest speakers and the opportunity to get involved with spreading the word and promoting the SSE where you live, work and beyond.