Articles

Solidarity Club Meetup in Helsinki

On the 17 October, the Malaysian speakers of the SuSY Speaker Tour (Dr Jun-E Tan and Dr. Welyne Jeffrey Jehom) were invited to dinner at the Oma Maa food cooperative in Helsinki with the Finnish Solidarity Economy Network (FSEN). The website for FSEN is http://commons.fi (but is currently down for maintenance).

Ruby van der Wekken, representative of the FSEN, was the host of the event, attended by about ten members of the network. Some of the organisations participating in the Solidarity Club dinner included:

  • Eetisen Kaupan Puolesta (Eetti), or Pro Ethical Trade Finland, an NGO that promotes equitable global trade, sustainable production and responsible consumption. Eetti is also the Finnish host for the SuSY Project.
  • Stadin Aikapankki – Helsinki Timebank, which facilitates the exchange of services using time (calculated by hours) as a currency.
  • Osuuskunta Oma Maa, or Cooperative Own Land, a local organic food co-operative which runs a community-supported agriculture programme

To give some idea of the activities of the Finnish national network on solidarity economy, here is a record of some of the issues discussed.

The global connection

Updates were given by Ms Wekken on the RIPESS annual meeting held in France in June 2016. During the RIPESS meeting, issues that arose included the cooptation of the solidarity economy space in different countries, the importance of forming alliances with other like-minded actors, and the importance of developing indicators. It was noted that there are different positions on developing legal frameworks (or not), and that funding remains to be a problem. Mapping was also discussed during the annual meeting.

Two initiatives were highlighted on mapping SSE and similar initiatives, including ESS Global and TransforMap.

Mapping the Finnish solidarity economy

On activities at the Finnish Solidarity Economy Network, a mapping effort has begun by identifying SE actors and interviewing them. The current map, which is still a work in progress, can be accessed here and includes the following organisations:

  • Oma Maa (Helsinki)
  • Elävä maa luomupiiri (Helsinki)Stadin aikapankki (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Jalavala (Helsinki)
  • Vaatelainaamo Vaaterekki (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Ehta Raha (Helsinki)
  • Osuuskunta Hyväntekijä (Joensuu)
  • Kirjakahvilan (Turku)
  • Tampereen Annikki (Tampere)
  • Suomen Talkoot ry (Tampere)
  • Uusruukki (Tampere)

Besides geographical mapping, some case studies have already been done through interviewing the organisations within the list above, on their operations and involvement in the solidarity economy. These cases will be uploaded on SDG-SSE.org after being translated from Finnish to English, which a member of the network has volunteered to do.

The interview questionnaire can be accessed here [link to be inserted after the commons.fi website goes up]. Members of the network were encouraged to add to the list of known organisations and initiatives, and to help in the interviewing if possible.

Future activities

An SSE manifesto in Finnish was circulated among the members and proposed to be updated using Google Docs.

In November, the FSEN will participate in the European Commons Assembly organised by the Commons Network. In December there will also be a major event by the FSEN to build a confederation of cooperatives.

#Finland

Latvia Country Overview

The data below provides a quick overview of #Latvia.

Basics
1 Population
  • 1,965,686 (July 2016 est.)
2 Land area
  • total: 64,589 sq km
  • land: 62,249 sq km
  • water: 2,340 sq km
3 Capital
  • Riga
Economy
4 GDP Per Capita
  • $24,700 (2015 est.)
5 Distribution of family income – Gini index
  • 35.2 (2010)
6 GDP composition, by sector of origin
  • agriculture: 3.4%
  • industry: 23.2%
  • services: 73.4% (2015 est.)
Social
7 Urbanisation
  • urban population: 67.4% of total population (2015)
  • rate of urbanization: -0.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
8 Unemployment
  • 8.7% (2015 est.)
  • Youth unemployment: 19.6% (2014 est)
9 No. of population below poverty line
  • NA%
Environment
10 Natural resources
  • peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land
11 Land use
  • agricultural land: 29.2%
    arable land 18.6%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 10.5%
  • forest: 54.1%
  • other: 16.7% (2011 est.)
12 Environmental issues
  • Latvia’s environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution

Background Info

Several eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 – an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone in 2014.

Note 1: Data in this page is extracted from The World Factbook because of their comprehensiveness covering all countries in the world, for the ease of data comparison. Free usage of this data is permitted, click here for more information.

Note 2: The information above was accessed on August 23, 2016. The country page on The World Factbook for Latvia can be accessed here.

Spain Country Overview

The data below provides a quick overview of #Spain.

Basics
1 Population
  • 48,563,476 (July 2016 est.)
2 Land area
  • total: 505,370 sq km
  • land: 498,980 sq km
  • water: 6,390 sq km
    note: there are two autonomous cities – Ceuta and Melilla – and 17 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco – Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera
3 Capital
  • Madrid
Economy
4 GDP Per Capita
  • $34,800 (2015 est.)
5 Distribution of family income – Gini index
  • 35.9 (2012)
6 GDP composition, by sector of origin
  • agriculture: 2.5%
  • industry: 22.7%
  • services: 74.8% (2015 est.)
Social
7 Urbanisation
  • urban population: 79.6% of total population (2015)
  • rate of urbanization: 0.52% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
8 Unemployment
  • 22.5% (2015 est.)
  • Youth unemployment: 53.2% (2014 est)
9 No. of population below poverty line
  • 21.1% (2012 est.)
Environment
10 Natural resources
  • coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
11 Land use
  • agricultural land: 54.1%
    arable land 24.9%; permanent crops 9.1%; permanent pasture 20.1%
  • forest: 36.8%
  • other: 9.1% (2011 est.)
12 Environmental issues
  • pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification

Background Info

Spain’s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World War I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently the government has focused on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008. Austerity measures implemented to reduce a large budget deficit and reassure foreign investors have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe. Spain assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.

Note 1: Data in this page is extracted from The World Factbook because of their comprehensiveness covering all countries in the world, for the ease of data comparison. Free usage of this data is permitted,click here for more information.

Note 2: The information above was accessed on August 23, 2016. The country page on The World Factbook for Spain can be accessed here.

Finland Country Overview

The data below provides a quick overview of #Finland.

Basics
1 Population
  • 5,498,211 (July 2016 est.)
2 Land area
  • total: 338,145 sq km
  • land: 303,815 sq km
  • water: 34,330 sq km
3 Capital
  • Helsinki
Economy
4 GDP Per Capita
  • $41,100 (2015 est.)
5 Distribution of family income – Gini index
  • 26.8 (2008)
6 GDP composition, by sector of origin
  • agriculture: 2.9%
  • industry: 26.9%
  • services: 70.2% (2015 est.)
Social
7 Urbanisation
  • urban population: 84.2% of total population (2015)
  • rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
8 Unemployment
  • 9.4% (2015 est.)
  • Youth unemployment: 20.5% (2014 est)
9 No. of population below poverty line
  • N/A%
Environment
10 Natural resources
  • timber, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, silver, limestone
11 Land use
  • agricultural land: 7.5%
    arable land 7.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0.1%
  • forest: 72.9%
  • other: 19.6% (2011 est.)
12 Environmental issues
  • air pollution from manufacturing and power plants contributing to acid rain; water pollution from industrial wastes, agricultural chemicals; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations

Background Info

Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It gained complete independence in 1917. During World War II, Finland successfully defended its independence through cooperation with Germany and resisted subsequent invasions by the Soviet Union – albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, Finland transformed from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the EU since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro single currency at its initiation in January 1999. In the 21st century, the key features of Finland’s modern welfare state are high quality education, promotion of equality, and a national social welfare system – currently challenged by an aging population and the fluctuations of an export-driven economy.

Note 1: Data in this page is extracted from The World Factbook because of their comprehensiveness covering all countries in the world, for the ease of data comparison. Free usage of this data is permitted,click here for more information.

Note 2: The information above was accessed on August 23, 2016. The country page on The World Factbook for Finland can be accessed here.

France Country Overview

The data below provides a quick overview of #France.

Basics
1 Population
  • 66,836,154
    note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233 (July 2016 est.)
2 Land area
  • total: 643,801 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)
  • land: 640,427 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)
  • water: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)
  • note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion
3 Capital
  • Paris
Economy
4 GDP Per Capita
  • $41,200 (2015 est.)
5 Distribution of family income – Gini index
  • 30.1 (2013)
6 GDP composition, by sector of origin
  • agriculture: 1.7%
  • industry: 19.3%
  • services: 79% (2015 est.)
Social
7 Urbanisation
  • urban population: 79.5% of total population (2015)
  • rate of urbanization: 0.84% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
8 Unemployment
  • 9.9% (2015 est.)
  • Youth unemployment: 23.2% (2014 est)
9 No. of population below poverty line
  • 8.1% (2012 est.)
Environment
10 Natural resources
  • metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, arable land, fish
  • French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay
11 Land use
  • agricultural land: 52.7%
    arable land 33.4%; permanent crops 1.8%; permanent pasture 17.5%
  • forest: 29.2%
  • other: 18.1% (2011 est.)
12 Environmental issues
  • some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

Background Info

France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU, and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO’s integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing DE GAULLE’s 1966 decision to withdraw French forces from NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities – French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion – became French regions and were made part of France proper.

Note 1: Data in this page is extracted from The World Factbook because of their comprehensiveness covering all countries in the world, for the ease of data comparison. Free usage of this data is permitted,click here for more information.

Note 2: The information above was accessed on August 23, 2016. The country page on The World Factbook for France can be accessed here.

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Sustainable Development Goals + Social and Solidarity Economy

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