Problems and purposes
The Forum is a place that informally brings together associations and people who care about solidarity, ecology, participation, democracy and all good practices that can contribute to increasing people's well-being (link 1). The main objectives are:
- a proposal for an agenda to be submitted to the Councils of the Local Authorities of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in which they undertake to implement a coordinated set of best practices to encourage the participation of citizens in the policies of their competence, for responsible management of the territory and to promote solidarity economy practices in support of local businesses and employment.
- a regional law proposal aimed at encouraging the establishment of solidarity economy districts within which to organize production chains capable of satisfying the essential needs of the various communities with a view to saving materials and energy, ecological sustainability, social equity.
- the construction of supply chains and districts of solidarity economy on the bioregional territory, through the creation of a mapping and a training and self-training course for district promoters, and through the establishment of territorial working groups (link 1 - About us) .
History and geography
In 2012, numerous associations operating in Friuli Venezia Giulia decided to set up the Forum for the Common Goods and the Solidarity Economy of Friuli Venezia Giulia and to adhere to a common charter.
The aim is to implement a coordinated set of best practices to encourage citizen participation in policies for responsible management of the territory and to encourage solidarity economy practices in support of local businesses and employment and to encourage the establishment of districts of solidarity economy within which to organize production chains aimed at satisfying the essential needs of the various communities with a view to saving materials and energy, ecological sustainability, social equity (link 1 - Who we are). About 35 associations based in Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) join the forum. The activity that can be seen from the blog (link 1 - news) takes the form of conferences such as the one on solidarity economy and common goods and the workshop "Good practices and local supply chains in comparison, towards the establishment of solidarity economy districts" of 4 / 5/2013 or the regional festival of collective ownership, on 28-29 September 2013 in San Gervasio. Projects dedicated to short supply chains, to the recovery of ancient varieties of cereals, such as that of the Municipality of Tramonti di Sotto, one of the municipalities adhering to the agenda of the forum, are launched. On 4/10/13 the presentation of the “Flours and bread of San Marc” project was held, where some groups adhering to the forum sowed and then harvested the wheat grown on the collective property up to the production of bread in their own oven. On 11/30/2013 the first training course for promoters of solidarity economy districts (ecosol) also starts, among the speakers, Mauro Bonaiuti (bioeconomist) and Serge Latouche (famous economist of happy degrowth), Davide Biolghini, expert in networks and participatory processes and Sergio Venezia, one of the founders of the Brianza solidarity economy district); about 70 participants (link 1 - news). The course is repeated from March to May 2014 with a more practical phase, to weave in the various districts a network of citizens and producers capable of promoting solidarity economy chains (Link 1 - Training for DES promoters). A general mapping phase followed, involving about 700 subjects (agricultural or processing companies, restaurateurs, tourist facilities, social cooperatives, fair trade shops, ethical finance actors, NGOs and cultural associations of various types, collective properties, universities , etc ...) which served to make contact, detect good practices and pieces of the supply chain and start networking these elements to create more complete supply chains and more cohesive districts that exchange resources (Link 1. Districts of solidarity economy) . Currently, 4 supply chains have been identified and are in the process of being completed (see below> Effects, influence and results).
On 6/2/14 the Forum is organizing a conference to be held in the main hall of the University of Udine. In addition to the periodic meetings of the forum, territorial working groups are formed, divided into provincial areas, on a monthly basis.
The groups organize safeguards against GMO sowing, promotion of supply chain projects, conferences on food sovereignty. The courses for district promoters are continuing and participation in the regional participatory process dedicated to the regional landscape plan is being promoted.
Since 2013, the Forum for Common Goods and Solidarity Economy of Friuli Venezia Giulia has started a participatory process that has led to the drafting of a proposal for a Regional Law aimed at promoting and developing the solidarity economy in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
This work was carried out in the belief that the current economic crisis is the symptom of a wider crisis than the current model based on the principles of development at all costs and infinite growth. And the possible responses to this crisis must be identified in different social and economic models, based on the principles of sustainability, cooperation, solidarity and participation of people and local communities.
For this reason the Forum has elaborated some documents, among which, in fact, a proposal for a Regional Law which should constitute the starting point for a new legislation, to be built in collaboration between the regional institution and the civil society involved in these issues. This legislative hypothesis is aimed at encouraging the establishment of solidarity economy districts within which to organize production chains capable of satisfying the essential needs of the various local communities, with a view to saving materials and energy, ecological sustainability, social equity. In the elaboration of the draft of the Regional Law proposal, the Forum involved the main stakeholders operating in the various supply chains. This draft was then presented to the regional councilors and in four public meetings, one for each province of the FVG, and was finally modified thanks to the contribution of some experts in regional law and administrative procedures. The presentation of the final version took place on Thursday 6 February 2014 during a public meeting which also coincided with the conclusion of the training for DES animators / promoters. The last steps took place in the II Permanent Commission (productive activities) and then landed in the Regional Council (Link 1 - Proposal for a regional law).
Promoters and lenders
Forum of common goods and solidarity economy of Friuli Venezia Giulia . It is a coordination, active since 2012, of 35 associations including WWF FVG, Slow Food FVG, Radiè Resch Udine Network, Citizenship Rights Network FVG, Italian Voluntary Movement (Mo.Vi.) FVG, Legambiente FVG, various groups of Solidarity Purchase (GAS), Development Cooperation Volunteer Center (CVCS) Gorizia, AIAB FVG, some Fair Trade Shops, various local associations and committees . Hold meetings in the territory of the FVG but also participate in the initiatives of the Italian Solidarity Economy Network such as the annual National Meeting of the Solidarity Economy (INES). There is no information on the sources of (self) financing (Link 1 - About us).
Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. Regional Council . It is the legislative assembly body of the region. 27 of the 49 regional councilors supported and jointly presented the bill no. 152 of 15/9/16. The party groups are PD, Movimento 5 Stelle and Mixed Group. The II Commission took care of the first discussion and then moved on to the discussion in the Council. In the approved law, 20,000 Euros were allocated for the year 2017 as financial support made available to the Region (Article 10), in addition to the provision towards ATER (public housing) to offer vacant premises on free loan, always as support to the activities of the bodies of the solidarity economy (art. 8).
Selection of participants
Forum of common goods . Membership of the Forum and its initiatives is open to all. The meetings are held on a monthly basis in often different places (no fixed location is given). Its tools are the site whose blog is however controlled exclusively by the administrator. The online forum where, however, there is a semi-deserted discussion. The You Tube channel recently opened (Nov 2017), the Facebook page.
DES promoter training. Almost all of the training meetings were held in Zugliano, a hamlet on the southern agricultural outskirts of Udine, on weekends. A last meeting was held in Tramonti di Sotto, a small town in the Friulian Dolomites (Province of Pordenone). There were no registration costs but only a written and signed expression of interest in which you declare that you have read the fundamental documents of the project: Charter of common goods and bill (Link 1 - Ecosol Districts - Training for DES promoters).
Bill on the promotion of the solidarity economy . In the first draft, the bill was drawn up by the members of the Forum, in periodic meetings. All other meetings were open to the public. Therefore, first of all in the elaboration of the draft of the Regional Law proposal, the Forum involved the main stakeholders operating in the various supply chains. Other meetings are reserved for regional councilors, but it is not known how they were contacted, whether individually or in groups (Link 1 - Relations with institutions - Bill), where and when and if the meetings were public. After that, the bill was presented in four public meetings, one for each province of the FVG, but where and when and with what kind of advertising is not given. Finally, the proposal was modified thanks to the contribution of some experts in regional law and administrative procedures. Also in this case it is not given who the experts are. The presentation of the final version took place on Thursday 6 February 2014 during a public meeting which also coincided with the conclusion of the training for DES animators / promoters.
Assemblies of solidarity economy communities . All natural persons residing in the area who undertake to respect the principles of solidarity, reciprocity, environmental sustainability, social cohesion, care of the common goods are admitted to the meetings. The operating regulations have yet to be drawn up by the Region (ril. 10/2/18).
Methods and tools
Forum is a generic term that in Italy takes on different meanings. Generally these are assemblies or meetings of representatives of actors, or a plenary meeting of delegates of a participatory process differentiated into working groups. In this case it is also part of the name of the umbrella organization that brings together the actors involved in the solidarity economy. As part of the proposal which later became law no. 4 of 23/3/17, the term “ Forum of the solidarity economy of the FVG ” means the assembly of the representatives of the communities of the solidarity economy of the region (art. 3, c. 1, let. B); " Community of solidarity economy " means the set of residents in a given territory who, in the network of mutual social ties and activities aimed at satisfying the well-being of its members, actively pursue the implementation of the principles of solidarity, reciprocity, gift, respect for the environment (art. 3, c. 1, let. a). The methods of convening the Forum are regulated by the Region through a specific regulation (art. 8).
Assemblies of solidarity economy communities (Regional Law 4/2017, art.4). The Solidarity Economy Community meets in assembly to: make proposals and approve programs, elect two representatives every three years to be appointed to the Solidarity Economy Forum. The territory of the solidarity economy communities coincides with that of the inter-municipal territorial unions (UTI) established by Regional Law 26/2014. The assemblies are convened every year, within the month of February, by the President of each UTI. The methods of convocation are decided by regulation issued by the Region (art. 8).
Permanent regional table for the solidarity economy (regional law 4/2017, art. 6) is the institutional instrument delegated to
formulate opinions and proposals to the regional council relating to interventions to support the solidarity economy: activate shared paths for the promotion of programs and actions and support measures for the development of the solidarity economy; promote the development of supply chains and related supply chain agreements also through administrative simplification measures; verify that the management methods ensure compliance and implementation, along all production chains, of the principles and organizational methods of the solidarity economy. The table is formed by the competent regional councilor or his delegate; by a person designated by the Council of local autonomies; by a person designated by the ANCI of the FVG; by 6 members designated by the Forum. Participation in meetings does not give the right to any compensation or reimbursement of expenses (art. 6). Also for the table it is always the Region that regulates its functioning with a specific regulation (art. 8).
Deliberation, decisions and interaction with the public
The bill for the promotion and development of the solidarity economy in FVG was drafted by the Forum group. After that it was presented to the Regional Councilors, but it is not given how they were contacted, whether individually or in groups (Link 1 - Relations with institutions - Bill). After that, the bill was presented in four public meetings, one for each province of the FVG, and was finally modified thanks to the contribution of some experts in regional law and administrative procedures. The presentation of the final version took place on Thursday 6 February 2014 during a public meeting which also coincided with the conclusion of the training for DES animators / promoters. In the last stages, the proposal was deposited by 27 regional councilors and its discussion was put on the agenda in the II Commission with the title of Regional Law Proposal "Rules for the enhancement and promotion of the solidarity economy" n. 152 of 15/9/2016. From there she went to the Regional Council for discussion and final approval on 23/3/17. The result of the vote is not given.
Agenda for Local Authorities.
The Forum has developed a draft agenda in support of the common goods and the solidarity economy intended for the Municipal Councils of the local authorities who will undertake to implement a coordinated set of best practices to encourage the participation of citizens in the policies of own competence (eg participatory budgeting, participatory urban planning, local economy initiatives), for a responsible management of the territory, to favor solidarity economy practices in support of local businesses and employment.
Influence, results and effects
Agenda for Local Authorities . To date (10/2/2018) the document has been adopted, as a resolution or as an agenda, by 3 Municipalities of the Region: Cormons (Del. Cons. N.41 of 18/6/13), Romans d'Isonzo (Del. Cons. N. 17 of 18/4/2013 and Tramonti di Sotto (Del. Cons. N. 6 of 6/5/13). It seems that this type of initiative has stopped.
The bill "Rules for the enhancement and promotion of the solidarity economy" n.152 of 15/9/2016, after approval by the II Commission, was approved by the Regional Council of the FVG as regional law n.4 of 23 March 2017 and published in the Official Gazette 42 of 21/10/2017. Currently the solidarity economy portal provided for by the support measures identified by art. 7 of the law, has not yet been opened (ril. 10/2/18). In addition to this, ATER (Territorial companies for residential construction) is expected to grant free loan of vacant premises, suitable for residential or commercial use for the performance of non-profit activities aimed at developing the solidarity economy, even if all maintenance and operation costs are borne by the borrower. The Region must within 120 days from the entry into force of the law, adopt a regulation to govern the functioning of the governance bodies of its policy for the solidarity economy (Article 8): a) the methods of convening and conducting the Assembly communities of solidarity economy, according to the principles of democracy and social responsibility; b) the procedures for convening the Forum; c) the procedures for convening and functioning of the permanent regional table of the solidarity economy; d) the methods and criteria for implementing the planned initiatives, giving priority to those involving solidarity economy education in schools (art. 8). The Regional Council exercises control over the implementation of the law and evaluates the results obtained (art. 9). For the envisaged purposes, the expenditure of 20,000 Euros for the year 2017 is authorized (Article 10).
Course for DES promoters - Districts of solidarity economy
The course for promoters ended in 2014 and has not been repeated. There is no precise data on the number of people trained. It is also not clear how many district contacts are active at the moment. Another more recent course, dedicated to deliberative democracy, was held on the first day of December 2017, also in Zugliano, with prof. Rodolfo Lewanski of the University of Bologna.
There are 4 supply chains, those actions that give substance to DES, identified and nearing completion so far:
- Consortium of the Friulian Valleys and Dolomites, is a multi-actor network that operates in a part of the mountain territory included in 9 municipalities of the Province of Pordenone. 21 consortium companies, but residents are also involved. In addition to the production of local supply chain products, the consortium, in collaboration with the Health District Area, deals with actions for social and work inclusion (Link 2);
- Municipality of Mereto di Tomba is a municipality of 2,600 inhabitants in the agricultural plain of western Udine, a few km from the Tagliamento. The mayor Moretuzzo has taken some initiatives that go in the sense of the solidarity economy. The creation of an inter-municipal chain of companies (15 farms, 40 ha, old mills, a drying room, and some bakers) for the cultivation and processing of cereals; economic support for families (70 households responded to the call) through the distribution of vouchers that can be spent in the network of small local shops (vouchers of 10 Euros, up to 30,000 Euros per year);
- The Alture di Polazzo rural park is a project of a family business that breeds cattle grazing in the Karst Land. It is about the adoption of a young bovine head until its slaughter;
- Molino Tuzzi Dolegna del Collio, Pact for flour, is a project conceived by the Forum that was proposed to the ecosol districts of Gorizia and Udine. 4 categories of actors (farmers, millers, bakers and consumers) have created a complete supply chain from sowing wheat to bread. Each actor signs commitments, a price range is established within which the products will then be exchanged, to contribute with a minimum amount to the project management costs (Link 1 - Supply chain).
Analysis and lessons learned
The project is worthy for the values that guide it and the promotion of participatory democracy itself, however it is not sufficiently accurate on the side of transparency and communication of what has been achieved. There are no statistics, archives, precise lists of the meetings held up to now, let alone the minutes. There is no list of trained DES promoters and those active in the area. The project had an incubation of more than 5 years, still prior to 2012, but the events and the previous history of the promoters of the project are not reported, the names of the regional or local referents are not reported. There is also a lack of data on financing, the origin of resources and budgets.
The developed path is a niche path and probably could have groped, without the risk of being contaminated, in a more inclusive way, to contaminate the traditional economic actors of the territory. However, it seems to us that the solidarity actors are numerous and complete and the path, also including the governance structure resulting from the law, has been built in a shared way. The logic of dialogue and harmony - also given the scarce resources required - prevail in these cases, it never seems necessary to vote, however even the citizenship requested by the project has a representation that is always confined to a few interested parties, which could have been expanded with suitable tools (surveys, questionnaires). Different speech would apply to the Regional Forum which will be activated with the law.
Link 1. Forum of common goods and solidarity economy of Friuli Venezia Giulia> http://www.forumbenicomunifvg.org/chisiamobces/ (ril. 10/2/18).
Link 2. Consortium of the Friulian Valleys and Dolomites> http://www.consorziovallidolomitifriulane.it/chi-siamo/ (ril. 10/2/18).
 List of members of the forum of common goods> https://forumbenicomunifvg.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/lista-aderenti-forum2.pdf (ril. 10/2/18).