BRIEF REPORT ON THE ASIAN SOLIDARITY ECONOMY FORUM

Brief Reflections by ASEF KL2011 Chair
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria
November 5, 2011

We very successfully hosted the 3rd Asian Solidarity Economy Forum from Oct 31 to Nov 2, 2011 at Kuala Lumpur. I am deeply grateful to all the volunteers who worked hard and the 100 over people who served as moderators, speakers, taking notes and providing summary of the key discussions. We had a packed program and a very interesting range of speakers and moderators who facilitated discussions and interactions.
We were deeply honored by the presence of Mr Pierre Calame who devoted three full days with us sharing his views in so many formal sessions and spending hours with different people in informal discussions. I am personally impressed with his vast knowledge and humility as he does not talk down on us but encouraged, motive and inspired us to think big. That solidarity economy is not in the sideline line or a complementary to market capitalism but must be the dominant economic model which can foster the solutions to current global crises.

Participation
A total of 351 people participated at ASEFKL2011 from 33 countries from around the world. Seventeen Asian countries were represented with the largest delegation of 123 from Malaysia, 70 from Singapore, 40 from Indonesia, 36 from Philippines and 18 from India
We had the strong support of regional and national organizations such as the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO-Asia), APPEND from Philippines and COMMACT International to cit some examples. This is a very a very positive development as we had people from different streams now identifying under the solidarity economy agenda such as micro finance, cooperatives, fair trade and community based initiatives.
For the first time in solidarity economy forum, we have introduced faith based initiatives. Asia is rich in religious and spiritual traditions and people’s trust and confidence in these institutions is high. We had a special workshop on Islamic Initiatives as this approach has not been introduced to the solidarity forum.
There was a very good representation of young people from 4 universities in the region namely Binary University College, University Kelantan Malaysia, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore and the Sam Ratulangi University from Indonesia. This is one dimension that we need to strengthen for the future as the networking with universities will be very essential. Students in economy, business and entrepreneurship schools including social sciences could have interest in solidarity economy
Immediate Follow up to ASEF KL2011
Ms Valerie A Siganga (of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Binary University College) has agreed with her team of Binary student volunteers to set up a Face Book page and establish email links with all. They agreed to create special groups/pages by workshop groups so as to continue the discussions and sharing. This is one cost effective way of networking and keeping in touch. We are really hoping that all the young people especially from the four universities in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia will continue this forum and learning journey.
The DVD’s on all the plenary sessions and some selected workshops sessions has come out very well and serves as a very good record of the ASEF KL2011 even. We are sorry that the DVD’s arrived late and many were unable to collect your set. Please liase with Ms Valerie (email- valerie@binary.edu.my) on this. The quality is good. We are exploring the possibility of down loading all of the major presentations in the u-tube and will keep u informed. We have a CD of photos. This will be down loaded in the Facebook
We also plan to print a book on ASEF KL2011 by February 2012. Therefore we encourage all paper writers to write a 4 page essay of your presentation in the light of the Asian Forum. We cannot use power point presentation as the text. Please link all writings:
• To the theme of solidarity economy, namely how do you see your project or thoughts linked to solidarity economy and
• To how your project/ thoughts is a vehicle for socio-economic transformation.
We give you four weeks from now. Due date is Dec 5, 2011. Please email me your write up for publication to : asefkl2011@gmail.com

Beyond KL2011 towards Manila 2013
Eighteen organizations undertook the signing of the Kuala Lumpur – Memorandum of Agreement to institutionalize the Asian Solidarity Economy Coalition (ASEC). Earlier it was more a lose group of individuals, however during the 2011 Asian forum this partnership and friendship was formalized through the signing of a MOA among the organizations.
This is a commitment pledge to work through the as Partner organizations for concerted and collective action towards advancing solidarity economy in Asia. ASEC is open for more organizations/institutions to pledge support for the common course.
In a discussion with Mr Ben Quinones we have agreed to focus attending on strengthening national setups in Asia through our regional partners and universities. We are asking all our partners in Asia to give us major dates of their national workshops or forums so that we can encourage solidarity leaders from with Asian to participate.
For 2012 we already know that India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea are hosting National events. Please email details early so that we could encourage partners from within Asia to join. Between Ben and myself we will also try and visit. In the case of Malaysia we will be hosting a national meeting of our major partners to consolidate the Malaysian national coalition. In a similar way we will seek to support the formation or strengthening of national coalitions.
We hold to target Asia from three geographical grouping namely South Asia, South East Asia/ASEAN and the Far East. We will work closely with existing networks such as WFTO and COMMACT International and others like Ethons Asian and China, Beyond Network and PARC, Pacific Asia Resource Centre Japan. We also have strong partners in Indonesia like Bina Swadaya and ASKI- Association of Social Enterprises in Indonesia. In Philippines we got both CSRSME Asia and APPEND and Work Together Foundation, South Korea
We will need to strengthen our networks in India and South Asian countries and also in China. Our new partner, Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises could assist us to enhance links with mainland China, Taiwan and Macaw
On the final plenary of Day Three, we heard Mr Brigido Simion, Chair of the National Organising committee of Manila 2013 speak. He announced that the next Global and Asian regional gathering will be held together in Manila. He also called for joint partnership and collaboration.
Another major development was the passing of the baton of leadership from North America to Asia as Mr Benjamin Quiones becomes the next RIPESS Coordinator taking over from Ms Nancy Neamtan. RIPESS is the Inter-continental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy.
At the last Asian meeting (held on Nov. 1, 2011) I was also selected to be the second Asian representative along with Mr Ben Quiones to RIPESS Inter-continental Board taking over from Mr Sunil Chitrakar of Nepal.
Ben and I have been friends for a longtime and it was he to introduced me firstly to micro finance network via Banking for the poor conference and later to solidarity economy. We have a major task not just in Asia but also at a global level.
The global coordination of RIPESS has now shifted to Kuala Lumpur with the establishment of RIPESS Sdn Bhd. A company incorporated in Malaysia to undertake coordination work. Based on the RIPESS Board decision held on Oct 31, 2011 the following were appointed as Director namely Mr Ben Quiones, Ms Nancy Neamtan, Ms Emily Kawano, Mr Eric Lavilluniere, Mr David Thompson and two Malaysian Directors Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria and Prof Dr Chris Shun.
It is indeed timely for Malaysia, ASEAN and Asia to play a global role as these is also a global shift of the economy to Asia. We hope to work very closely with Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (our ASEF KL2011 Patron/Advisor and deputy Higher Education Minister, Government of Malaysia) together with Dato Dr Michael Yeoh (of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and Malaysian representative to Asian Higher level Task Force on ASEAN Connectivity) for policy advocacy to secure the support of the Malaysian and ASEAN governments.
We have appointed Prof Dr John Clammer (Institute for Sustainability & Peace, UN University, Japan) to head an academic research committee to undertake a study of terms and concepts including indicators, characteristic and distinctive of solidarity economy from other forms of social development projects including drafting a social solidarity economy curriculum for university education. A core group of academics will meet in early March 2012. Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has agreed to host this three day workshop for academics in Malaysia.

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