Explore territorial politics in order to combat inequality

The V World Forum on Local Economic Development has some really inspiring statements in the fight against inequality. In a space sponsored by the UNDP, Christian Felber, the promoter of the Concept of the Economy of Good Common, and Donnie Maclurcan of the Post-Growth Institute attended the conference entitled "Facilitating territorial responses to local needs and inequalities amplified by the crisis: the strategic value of alternative economic models" . 

Felber, from Austria, explained that the Economy of the common interest is an equidistant approach between capitalism and socialism. “Almost all the constitutions consider the economy in some parameters of the “common interest”. However, the Capitalist practice destroys this “goodwill”. Professor Felber agrees with a holistic approach which is to reposition the economy by subordinating it to social life, while it is subordinated to the Ecosphere now. He defends ethical markets, work in cooperatives and a tax or subsidy policy that supports the economy of the common interest.

Donnie Maclurcan, from Australia, explained that there is the possibility of a circular economy in the face of a linear economy that goes from extractivism to pollution and waste. He argued that this circularity was related to not only environmental processes, but also to purely economic processes. “We are in an economy that creates an accumulation and a superlative debt at the same time. We defend an economy where money circulates”. He explained that 20% of the world economy operates in social and cooperative economy parameters. He defended the need to increase this percentage and to establish companies that have a purpose.

During the preparation of the Forum where there was a large space dedicated to the future work, ORU Fogar identified some areas with great potential to create jobs: the digitization, the energy transition, tourism and the organic farming.

The digitalization

ORU Fogar members with different situations spoke about the economic possibilities presented by the digital revolution. The Director of External Relations of the Basque Government, Myriam Larroulet, advocated a multilevel collaborative governance, which allows facing the technological and environmental social challenges. Leyre Madariaga, Director of Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship of the Basque Government presented the "Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Euskadi 2025" which aims to accelerate the technological-digital transition, which will support the transition of energy-environmental, sociaty and health in the meantime. The Basque government plans to support this strategy with an investment of 1,400 million euros.

From Africa, without so many means, but it was aimed in the same direction. Issiaka Sanon, director of cooperation of the Regional Council of Hauts Bassins, Burkina Faso, stated that his region is making an effort to position itself in this regard because "digitization makes the region visible at the international level and facilitates the procedures to create companies". He added that the region is putting all possible means so that the digitization can offer solutions to entrepreneurs and companies. Kenyan Governors such as Peter Anyang 'Nyong'o, Governor of Kisumu, and Ndiritu Muriithi, Governor of Laikipia, backed the collaboration between all levels of government. The governor of Laikipia mentioned that it was necessary for technologies to reach all corners of the territory and spoke of the revolution for development that, in Africa, credit can be used through the mobile phone. "Our obligation is that these technologies are available to the inhabitants of cities and towns." Candelaria del Pino, from the Province of Santa Fe, explained that, in December of last year, the three governors of the Central Argentine Region (Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Córdoba) signed an agreement (Federal Common Agenda) that established joint priorities at the regional level, which basically intended to create quality jobs. To achieve this objective, she pointed out the need to train human resources related to the knowledge economy.

Tourism

ORU Fogar organized the space "Sustainable tourism with a territorial base: strategies for recovery". The forum had never dealt with tourism, despite the significant potential of this sector to trigger development processes. It’s quite clear for all the panelists that once the health problem has been overcome, this sector - greatly affected by the pandemic - is going to explode. And there was also an agreement that it should be led positively and avoid some situations before the pandemic in which tourism was exceeding the carrying capacity in some territories.

The statement of the governor of Cusco, Peru, Jean Paúl Benavente is notable, who is manager of an international tourist space such as Machu Pichu. He stated that in the past "there are many things that were not done well. He also stated that, for tourism, not only health security is essential. So is education. “To offer quality service to tourists, we must improve the general educational level.”

During the panel, they mentioned the processes in which environmental or social saturation has generated the rejection of tourism. The governor of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, Gustavo Adrián Melella, conveyed that in his territory there were some sectors not involved in tourism, before the pandemic, there was even a certain disdain for the those sectors. He explained that, everyone was affected by the pandemic, thus, there was a process of raising awareness about the importance of tourism. Considering that tourism is essential for job creation in his province, he was in favor of rethinking the provision of tourism services, with standards of guaranteed quality and a responsible and sustainable approach. “We are,” he explained, “the door to Antarctica and the End of the World. We want to take advantage of this asset”.

Food

Several members of ORU Fogar addressed food issues. The governors of Huancavelica, Peru, Macistes Díaz, and of the State of Paraná, Brazil, Carlos Massa Ratinho Junior, attened the space entitled "Mechanisms of productive diversification and new productive models for a sustainable and cohesive reactivation". Both of them showed the commitment of their territory in favor of organic and quality food.

The Peruvian affirmed that his region, Huancavelica, is going to become the first organic region in Peru. He explained that it is possible because currently this region is one of the few regions in the country and on the continent, where agriculture has not been contaminated. In this way, the governor believes that Huancavelica can stop being one of the underdeveloped regions in the world thanks to the advantage of having "maintained our biodiversity."

Governor Carlos Massa Ratinho Junior explained that since the world demands sustainability and healthy food production, the State of Parana has been giving complementary support to producers. He affirmed to bet on an administrative debureaucratization that facilitates the start-up of food companies.

Martín Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions, went deep into this issue when he stated that cross-border projects could establish circular economy dynamics, thus, territories could be more resilient. He said that ARFE could promote cross-border plans and alliances to create emergency services related to climate change and risk management. He finally affirmed that there was a cross-border potential to work in the field of renewable energies and energy transition, and work in transformations that allow progress on recycling issues.

 

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