Report from the Asia Solidarity Economy Forum

October 23, 2012

Yvon Poirier, Chair of CCEDNet’s International Committee and co-author of the monthly International Newsletter on Sustainable Local Development, attended the Asia Solidarity Economy Forum in Indonesia earlier this month.  This is his report.

Report on ASEF Indonesia: Manado, October 1-3, 2012

Last year, at the 3rd Asia Solidarity Economy Forum in Kuala Lumpur, the Asia Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC) was set up as the Asian «network» of RIPESS. It was then decided to promote the idea of national networking, eventually with organising or developing national networks.  Some countries were identified such as Malaysia, Philippines, Nepal, and Indonesia.

The ASEF Indonesia meeting brought together different Indonesian organisations, researchers and academics, from different parts of the country. Alongside an international delegation of 15-20, an important knowledge sharing on concepts, practices and experiences at the grass roots filled the 3 day event.

One particular aspect of the meeting needs to be pointed out. About 2/3 of the 300 participants were university students, mainly form IBA (International Business Administration) of Sam Rutilangi University. Madano, North Salawesi province.. It was very inspiring, being a retired college teacher, to be able to speak to all these young people, who hold the future in their hands.

Miguel Hirota from Japan, now doing a Masters in Valencia University in Spain, wrote a detailed account of the forum (below). Thanks to Miguel for writing the report.

My proposal that to speak about the different concepts (social economy, solidarity economy, social enterprise, CED, etc.), was agreed upon and afterwards a formal invitation was sent.

The participation was possible because of support from COMMACT international, Chaired by David Thompson from Australia, also a member of the RIPESS Board.

Besides the plenaries and the workshops, many informal meetings were made, including with great Indonesian NGO’s.  The similarities with approaches to working in communities to improve the lives of the people are astounding.

Yvon Poirier
Report to CCEDNet and to COMMACT

October 15, 2012

Asia Solidarity Economy Forum Indonesia – 2012
Manado, Indonesia

Original posted on October 3, 2012

The Asian Solidarity Economy Forum 2012 took place from Mon, 01st to Wed, 03rd October at International Business Administration (IBA), Sam Ratulangi University, Manado, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Hundreds of people from 17 countries (including Canada and 5 European countries) joined this event to share and learn different experiences that have been happening in different parts of this continent.

The day 1 (Mon, 01st October) began with the opening ceremony with a message from Dr. Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, Governor of North Sulawesi. After four Indonesian researchers commented about their visit to Germany thanks to the invitation from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to learn how the social market economy is working there, Drs. Bambang Ismawan of Bina Swadaya (Indonesia) presented his perspective on solidarity economy. He mentioned the definition on solidarity economy given by Dr. Benjamin Quiñones Jr. (ASEC’s chairman, to be referred to later) as “economy developed by social enterprise”, showed the 3P (People, Planet and Profit) by Dr. Quiñones and underscored that 99.2% of businesses in Indonesia are small or micro enterprises. He also located the solidarity economy for those “economically active but poor,” excluding who are too old or too young and who are the poorest or feasible as conventional small businesses. After accentuating the importance of microcredit on enabling microenterprises’ existence, he explained that the best form of community institutions is self-reliance with “active membership”, “elected leaders”, “Economic + (social & educational)” activities and “democratically participative.” He said that such institutions are “vehicle for mutual learning and teaching, problem identification, decision-making, resource mobilization and communication with 3rd parties” and pointed out their features as “income generating orientation”, “open mindness” and “democratic”.

Then followed Dr. Benjamin Quiñones, Chairman of Asian Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC) from the Philippines who added further information on his definition of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). After defining it as something out of the public and private sector, he underscored “people’s participation in ownership & management of resources” and “profit sharing” as co-owners. He identified “solidarity”, “interdependence” and “people-to-people connectivity” as “edifying values” and showed the framework for evaluating SSE from the viewpoint of governance, ethical values, provided social development services, ecological conservation measures and sustainability. Prof. Dato Mohammad Yusof Kasim from University Utara, Malaysia underscored the importance of coops, Prof. Dr. Denison Jayasooria from University Kebangsaan, Malaysia explained that coops and microcredit are one of the key points on the civil society, along with CSR for sustainable development.

In the afternoon five workshops took place (Economic Security, Socially Responsible Governance, Enhanced Social Wellbeing, Healthy Climate and Environment and Edifying Value). Then another plenary took place and Prof. Dr. Paulus Kindangen from Sam Ratulangi University told that the competition by the capitalism has excluded many people, underscored the importance to empower that impoverished people and defined solidarity economy as “way out from the unfairness economic practice of capitalism” while trying not to abolish capitalism but to coexist with it. He mentioned the Article 33 of the Indonesian Constitution to tell that coops’ role is determined as “very important institution in creating or establishing economic democracy in Indonesia”, presented the word “gotong-royong” or “mapalus” as community mutual help, criticized the political intervention as “among the reasons of the cooperative failure”. Ir. Suhaedi from Bank of Indonesia talked about the financial inclusion as one of the biggest challenges of the Indonesian economy and Ms. Vivi George shared her experience of microcredit for women’s productive activities.

The day 2 (Tue, 02nd Oct) started with the presentation by Reiko Inoue, PARCIC Japan, about the hard task of community rebuilding in those coastline regions severely damaged by the tsunami in March 2011 which killed almost 20,000 people. She underlined social capital, market and management skill as most needed factors to develop solidarity economy. Then followed Prof. Wim Poli, professor at Hasanuddin University, Makassar, Indonesia told the need to go beyond the sympathy on building solidarity economy. Then Mr. Jay Lacsamana from the Foundation for a Sustainable Society (the Philippines) explained about this foundation, created as a result from the debt-for-development swap, arranged between