Niezwykle istotnym aspektem większości działań w obszarze ekonomii społecznej jest jej lokalny, wspólnotowy charakter. Chodzi nie tylko o pojedyncze przedsięwzięcia i instytucje, ale relacje, które je łączą.
As a precursor to the OSES meetings, the Permanent Social Economy Conference (SKES) organized a meeting for European-wide practitioners, academics and policy-makers in 2004 in Krakow. The first OSES meeting was held in 2006, also in Krakow, and made a powerful statement about the dynamic potential of the developing social economy sector. The second meeting took place in Warsaw in 2007 and focused on the role of the social economy as an instrument in regional and local socio-economic development with particular emphasis on the public-private partnership.
The Gdańsk Social Economy Conference in 2008 was organised on behalf of the Cooperation Fund Foundation by the Foundation for Social and Economic Initiatives and Regional Information, and with cooperation from the Regional Information and Support Centre for NGOs. The conference took place on 26–28 June. Gdańsk was especially chosen to host this event - as the birthplace of the Solidarity movement and witness to the historic negotiations between Solidarity activists and the communist government in 1980, it was an ideal site to discuss new forms of social solidarity. Reflections were also encouraged by the summing up of the European Social Fund’s EQUAL Community Initiative Programme. The end of the three-year programme raised questions on the future of the social economy in Poland, prospects for its development, and creation of a friendly environment at the local, regional, national and international levels. The conference included numerous events, such as a panel discussion with EU and social economy network representatives, speeches by members of the Polish government, a debate at the Gdańsk Shipyard with founders of the Solidarity revolution and a social economy market. See also Gdańsk Social Economy postconference materials >
The third OSES meeting was held in 2009, once again in Warsaw, and attendants were encouraged to benefit from free access to the „Library of Social Economy” – interesting publications, films and other topic-related materials. The representatives of Polish government were present, as well as famous scientists, politicians, activists and experts from the social economy sector and representatives of local governments and business.
The fourth OSES took place in Poznań in 2010, and the most important issues discussed were: the place of social economy in strategies for Poland’s development, chances for the society created by the economical crisis, and the reasons why Poland needs an Act on Social Entrepreneurship. Questions on property, cooperation with local governments and relation to the Church were also raised.
The fifth OSES took place in Lublin in 2011. One of the objectives was to make the idea of social economy more known among the citizens of Lublin and its surrounding areas – therefore, individual persons were also invited to participate, as well as informal groups, schools, culture centers, libraries and entities of social economy sector which are interested in preparing various happenings, publications, performances, topic-concerned meetings, exhibitions etc. The basic criteria for evaluation of the submitted ideas were creativity, innovativeness and promotion of grassroots social activity.
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