European dialogue platform on ethical and solidarity-based initiatives for combating poverty and social exclusion
Seminar: " Ethical and solidarity-based initiatives : unlocking their potential for a sustainably inclusive society"
29-30 November 2007, Trento, Italy

This seminar had a threefold aim:

a. To reflect the results of the year's work of the two European pilot projects started in 2007 i.e.; “Authorities with responsibility for social cohesion” and “the Multipartite Social Contract for the reintegration of vulnerable groups”.  Where the responsible authorities are concerned, the aim was to present the results of the method for renewing synergies between public authorities and citizens as well as the more direct involvement of citizens in combating exclusion through ethical and solidarity-based activities. Where the Multipartite Social Contract (MSC) is concerned, the results, especially in connection with over-indebted persons, have been presented and a description has been  given of the extension of the proposed approach to other integration paths, and particularly to the long-term unemployed.  These experiments lead to new forms of contribution by authorities and ethical and solidarity-based initiatives to anti-exclusion strategies, particularly national action programmes for inclusion and other experiments initiated in countries non-members of the European Union but members of the Council of Europe.

b. To consider the strengthening of the ethical and solidarity-based economy as a means of combating exclusion, while exploring the synergies and potentially complementary aspects of the various families of ethical and solidarity-based initiatives to construct a shared vision of their contribution to the fight against poverty.  In the first part of the session, working groups have been set up, each dealing with one of three themes, namely: i. Ethical finance and social integration enterprises based on economic solidarity; ii. Local production and fair trade with a view to a cohesive society; and iii. Responsible consumption as a tool for creating a cohesive society.  The second part has dealt with citizens' responsibilities and solidarity in today's world.  The discussion about the tools and prospects of citizen solidarity has been be interlinked with a presentation of the concept of well-being for all and of the social cohesion indicators built up by citizens, so as to explore the links and make this concept a fundamental instrument of social inclusion.

c. To consider increasing citizens’ responsibility, during discussions in four interest groups: i. Social integration enterprises in European regulations; ii. Creation of a European label for ethical and alternative finance; iii. Structuring and strengthening responsible consumption networks: objectives, visions, tools; and iv. Fair trade: an environmental force for social cohesion, next steps to improve conformity and advocacy.  The aim was to study in greater detail, and to come up with responses to, the cross-cutting theme of integrating those who are most vulnerable through ethical and solidarity-based initiatives.

Provisionnal programme





 Social Cohesion Development Division of the Council of Europe
Provincia autonoma di Trento