The Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet) has been a member of the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity (RIPESS) since 2002. Although not involved in the first two International Meetings on the Globalization of Solidarity (Lima, Peru in 1997 and Quebec City in 2001) CCEDNet played a leadership role in planning the 2005 International Meeting in Dakar, Senegal. It was at the first planning meeting for the event, in 2002, that it was decided the time was ripe to formally create RIPESS. Michael Lewis, who was then a member of CCEDNet’s Board, was in attendance at this planning meeting and took on the responsibility of chairing the Program Committee for the 3rd International Meeting on the Globalization of Solidarity.
Since 2002, CCEDNet members have been constantly involved in RIPESS. CCEDNet has had representation through membership on the Board of RIPESS: Michael Lewis (2004 and 2005), Ethel Côté (2005 to 2009) and Yvon Poirier (2013 to today). CCEDNet has also supported International Meetings, which take place every four years: 2005 (Dakar Senegal), 2009 (Schifflange, Luxemburg) and 2013 (Manila, Philippines).
CCEDNet played an important role in encouraging English-speaking organizations to become involved. In the first years of RIPESS, members were exclusively from French-speaking organizations in France, Québec and Africa, and from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking organizations in South America. In 2007, the cultural and geographic representation of RIPESS was expanded further with the creation of a continental network for Asia, now called the Asia Solidarity Economy Council.
The continental network for North America (RIPESS-NA) is led by CCEDNet, the Chantier de l’économie sociale (Québec), and the US Solidarity Economy Network (US SEN). Canada and the United States both have designated positions on the Board of RIPESS, with CCEDNet and the Chantier alternating who represents Canada.
The Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) has gained recognition at the international level since the creation of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE in September 2013. The Task Force brings together 19 agencies of the United Nations in recognition of the importance of SSE for sustainable development, lifting people out of poverty, creating decent jobs and empowering women. RIPESS is one of the Task Force’s six Observer organizations and since RIPESS is a grassroots network with members in all continents its contribution to the Task Force has been of strategic importance.
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN in September 2015, will be at the core of the work of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force and RIPESS in the next years. Since the SDGs are universal, Canada is also engaged in implementing the 17 SDGs in Canada and internationally. CCEDNet is also advocating Canada to include SSE in its international development programs.
Community economic development has many similarities to Social Solidarity Economy. In renewing its membership, CCEDNet reaffirms its support for RIPESS’ global vision of development, putting people and planet first.