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This guest post is written by Pedro Martían and Leina Mestrovic, from Asociación Commonomia, organisers of Tenerife Colaborativa 2017. 

Here at Asociación Commonomia, we are excited to soon be holding the third edition of Tenerife Colaborativa 2017 from the 23rd to 27th November.

We launched the event back in 2015 with four objectives:

  • To transfer knowledge and experiences about new economies – including the collaborative economy and commons-based economy – Tenerife, with the hope of inspiring the development of new community initiatives.
  • To connect the Canary Islands with organisations and experts around the world in the collaborative and commons-based economy, and to learn from their experiences.
  • To give visibility to the ecosystem of existing community initiatives in the Canary Islands and encourage collaboration between them.
  • To serve as a starting point for the development of a concrete community and real projects in the Canary Islands after the event.

TFC has become the reference event here in the Canaries for new economic models, and has become one of the most important events in the areaat the national – and even European – level. It has connected the Island with the most relevant experts and projects worldwide while increasing the visibility of the Canary Islands in the field of new economic models.

However, we have been less successful in fostering concrete local projects. One of the reasons for this was the lack of involvement from local public administrations.

Therefore, we decided this year to focus on bringing together the right expertise and facilitating encounters between local initiatives and citizens. We are working with the local University and the local municipal administration’s Citizen Participation team.

We have chosen three main topics to explore at TFC 2017, which we believe form the basis for developing and supporting a truly collaborative region:

  1. platform cooperatives (collaborative platforms owned by their users, rather than a small number of investors or individuals), which form the basis for economic relations;
  2. sharing cities, which are the framework for basic public decisions that lead to a sharing territory;
  3. digital democracy, which would outline the model of governance and citizen participation and draw upon the collective intelligence of the population.

At the event, we’ll be exploring these themes and learning from the experiences of sharing cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam, Ghent. We’ll be thinking about how those experiences can be transferred to island territories.

Furthermore, we’re starting to prototype a network of platform cooperatives on the islands, called the Red Canaria de Cooperativas de plataforma (RCCP), which aims to elaborate a model for a citizen-led economy in the Canary Islands which can be replicated in other places.

The RCCP is a cooperative collaborative system that combines physical and digital resources. It is formed by a large virtual market of 12 digital cooperative platforms, a complimentary local currency (NEXOS), a network of community physical spaces (Civic Factory) and a team of sectorial and territorial connectors.

The RCCP Digital Platforms form a network of local collaborative platforms that are owned and governed by their users, who we call “prosumers” (producers/consuemers). These “prosumers” provide platforms with their resources, skills, and experience, but also access them, thereby forming a large digital market that facilitates access food, spaces, care, mobility, training and much more.

  • These platform cooperatives all share a set of principles and characteristics:
  • They are owned by those who produce value by sharing their resources and capabilities. The wealth generated in the territory remains in the territory.
  • They only charge the commission necessary for maintenance, rather than to make a profit. Theefore, products and services can be accessed more cheaply thatn on other platforms.
  • They help strengthen community ties by favouring connections to the closests neighbours
  • They distribute their benefits equitably among their members
  • They are managed democratically.
  • They only use the data generated by users in ways which align with the objectives, conditions and procedures decided by the users themselves.

Furthermore, the RCCP allows for the use of our own complementary currency, NEXOS, for financial transactions. Thanks to the combination of local platforms and a community currency, we can:

  • Reduce the cost (in euros) of services and products offered by fixing a part of the price in NEXOS as a discount. In other words, you pay a discount through NEXOS, so the cost in euros is cheaper. In turn, the recipient of money can use the NEXOS to make transactions with other users. In time, this lowers prices without undermining the ability to trade, and helps these local platforms compete with larger businesses.
  • Generate a complementary economic flow in local currency that reinforces the dynamism of the local economies that create the platforms. NEXOS can only be used in the Canary Islands, and accumulating them is meaningless because they lose value over time.
  • Increase the purchasing power of users. The scarcity of euros will not be an impediment to participate in the exchanges. In addition, the NEXOS incorporates a basic income community which increases citizens’ purchasing power.

We’re really excited to be welcoming a community of interested participants to TFC at the end of the week. As a region which is often left out of European discussions and debates, we are glad to be establishing our name as a leading community delivering new economic models and supporting the wellbeing of local citizens. Some of the leading figures in this area, such as Michel Bauwens and Trebor Scholz, will be joining us, and we can’t wait to discuss some of these important issues and plot a way forward.

We still have a few tickets left, and if you can’t join us please do follow our work on Twitter @commonomia.