International Association of Investors in the Social Economy
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AGM May 2015

Malcom

AGM 13 May 2015 in Lima -Peru
The day previous to the International Conference "Cumbre de Finanzas Solidarias", INAISE held its annual general assembly.
Malcom Hayday was there and reports:

As has become habit, the INAISE annual general meeting was held just before the conference, La Cumbre Mundiale de Finanzas Solidarias. This year in Lima, Peru.

As I tapped the keyboard it would have been too easy to say that the AGM was the precursor to  the conference. In matters of timing it was but that is to overlook the universal nature of the meetings. Some years ago now INAISE took the then momentous but, in hindsight, obvious decision to become truly international. Since then it has met as a network in Quebec, Ethiopia, Mexico, and now Lima, as well its original stomping ground of Europe.

"The Spanish defeat of the Inca Empire was more than simply another conquest. It did not just impose another set of rulers in the succession of Andean civilisations. It tore up by the roots the cooperative agrarian society of the Andean ayllus. The old heart of the Inca Empire in what is now Peru and Bolivia was reorganised for the extraction of precious metals. A way of life that today we would call 'sustainable' was destroyed". (From The Andes: a Quest for Justice by Neil Macdonald).

That very battle continues to day in the form of the development of the Tia Maria copper mine and the consequences for rural farming. But it also
symbolises the failure of a financial system that has become extractive and exclusive rather than one that wears a human face and has a moral compass. At its heart INAISE is a network whose focus is rooted in social and environmental justice. Increasingly this draws people from all over the world with like values. The annual meeting provides a unique opportunity for members to come together to share ideas and experience and to be visible together. People overcome many barriers to meet together en la cumbre: not only barriers thrown up by geography, but by officialdom and the sheer hassle of getting visas, by issues affecting members, be they climate change or ebola or regulatory pressures.

As more and more people begin to question why we do not have a financial system that serves society and is inclusive, so there is a need for INAISE members, individually and collectively, to participate in local and national debates able to draw upon a solidarity model that is both international and viable. Members use different models of corporate form and governance although cooperatives predominate. This is one of the four areas of study that the network focuses upon: the others being rural agriculture, solidarity activities and climate change/renewable energies.

This year's AGM provided a new landmark: a changing of the guard, not only amongst board members but also with the end of Dominique Lesaffre's presidency. It is not only the members but interested stakeholders beyond who owe a vote of thanks to each of them for their commitment of time, energy and belief in our values, and to their host organisations who enable them to commit not inconsiderable amounts of time to develop INAISE. This has been especially true of SIDI in support of Dominique. In driving the members' wish to become more international, Dominique was essentially a more executive president, as the Board of INAISE urged him to be in times of change. A welcome newcomer to the board is Denise Fatoumata
Ndour ('Fatou') from Fondation Sen'Finances in Senegal. INAISE's incoming President, Milder Villegas intends to be more the President of the Board. At the same time coordination will move from Paris to Montreal, Quebec which will once more host the conference in 2016. Very properly the network has some ambitious plans to develop as a truly international network and to ensure cohesion with other social economy networks and organisations. It is the only network that brings together the spectrum of social and solidarity values based organisations, practitioners as well as apex organisations. This also brings challenges; to recommit ourselves to our mission and values, to harness the disruptive power of new technologies and younger leaders and to grow within our capabilities. With coordination and the locus moving to Quebec, there will be an opportunity to re energise INAISE in Europe as well as to expand in Africa and develop in Asia and the Middle East while consolidating the growth experienced in Latin America. This will have governance implications whose review is well underway. There have been some teething problems and in future AGMs the basic standing agenda items need to be dealt with seamlessly. But a start has been made. Montreal 2016 will see how much progress has been made, not least in membership numbers to 70.  

Malcolm Hayday CBE