Third International Fair Trade Towns Newsletter - December 2011
December 8th 2011
2011 has been a great year for the international Fair Trade Towns movement that saw the celebration of 1,000 Fair Trade Towns worldwide, Differdange as the first Fair Trade Town in Luxembourg, New Koforidua as the first Fair Trade Town in Ghana and Africa, Kumamoto as the first Fair Trade Town in Japan and Asia and Litomerice and Vsetin as the first Fair Trade Towns in the Czech Republic. As the year draws to an end there are now 1,074 Fair Trade Towns in 23 countries that lie across all six major continents with Poland and Hungary expected to start their own Fair Trade Town initiatives in 2012.
Next year will be the UN international year of cooperatives and as producer cooperatives lie at the heart of Fairtrade, 2012 should proove to be another good year that will see Fair Trade Towns go from strength to strength.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year!
Fairtrade Towns Advisor
1. Beyond 1,000 Fair Trade Towns – 5th International Fair Trade Towns conference in Malmö, Sweden.
The 5th annual Fair Trade Towns conference was held in the beautiful city of Malmö, which 5 years earlier became the first Fairtrade City in Sweden. The conference also took place in the same week Garstang in the UK celebrated 10 years since being awarded its world’s first Fair Trade Town status by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Over 200 delegates from 23 countries explored the way forward now that we have moved beyond 1,000 Fair Trade Towns. Joyce and Ebenezer from Kenya and Ghana respectively, provided the essential voice of the producers, which served to remind us why the Fair Trade Towns movement was founded and continues to exist today.
Developing direct links between Fair Trade Towns in the North and producers in the South was a topic that attracted much support and interest during the conference. Walter Alifo from Ghana spoke about how New Koforidua became the first Fair Trade Town in Africa, following ten years of promoting Fairtrade alongside their friends in Garstang, the world’s first Fair Trade Town (see below).
The conference also saw the international Fair Trade Towns movement unite behind a joint statement calling for trade justice that will be presented to the European Parliament and the Rio +20 UN conference in 2012.
On behalf of Fair Trade Towns everywhere I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the hosts of the conference from Fairtrade Sweden and the City of Malmö and especially the Deputy Mayor of Malmö, Lari Pitka-Kangas for his warm and compassionate participation throughout the conference.
2. Fair Trade Towns in the South
In December 2008 coffee producers in Alfenas came together to declare themselves as the first Fair Trade Town in Brazil. The following year farmers in Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica declared their town a Fair Trade Town and as part of the 1,000 Fair Trade Towns celebrations in June this year the people of New Koforidua, Ghana declared themselves the first Fair Trade Town in Africa. In each case the five goals used by Fair Trade Towns in the North to promote the sale of fair trade products were adapted to promote fair trade in a predominantly producer community.
Although these declarations in the South present many difficult challenges ahead, all agree that we should embrace and welcome them into the international Fair Trade Towns family. The first task is to develop flexible guidelines based on the five goals that will enable Fair Trade Town campaigns to set up in any country across the globe. There are already moves to start up a national Fair Trade Towns campaign in Brazil where the FAIRTRADE Mark will soon be launched.
3. An East-West-South-North partnership to promote fair trade and the Millennium Development Goals
In 2011 the Agenda 21 office in Hanover initiated the project “Aware & Fair’ – city games and campaigns as a local reaction to the Millennium Development Goals”. This formed part of an EU program to raise awareness on international development policy linked to the MDG’s through specific action such as Fair Trade.
Hanover’s partners included their twin towns of Poznan (Poland) and Blantyre (Malawi) as well as Litomerice (Czech Republic) and Miskolc (Hungary) which had been involved in the international city network ICLEI for sustainable development for many years.
One of the aims of this 2 year project is to establish and expand the fair trade market in all the cities, in particular for products from Malawi e.g. nuts, tea, rice. This gained the support of Fairtrade Germany and the Polish Fair Trade Association as important cooperation partners.
The promotion of fair trade within the project has already helped contribute to the following achievements:
• Litomerice becoming one of the first Fair Trade Towns in the Czech Republic earlier this year.
• The opening of the first Fair Trade shop in Poland on 6th December.
• The launch of the Fair Trade Town campaign in Poznan expected to become the first Fair Trade Town in Poland in November 2012.
• The future launch of Fair Trade Towns in Hungary with Miskolc expected to become their first Fair Trade Town.
• During the project seminar in Blantyre in October the Fair Trade Towns concept was presented to representatives from the Local Authority and FLO certified small growers associations who showed a strong interest in developing a Fair Trade Town campaign in Blantyre.
4. The world’s first International Fair Trade Visitor Centre opens in Garstang, UK
On Monday 21st November, almost ten years to the day since Garstang was awarded its status as the world’s fir Fair Trade Town, The FIG Tree opened in Garstang as the world’s first international Fair Trade visitor Centre. The FIG Tree will celebrate Garstang’s unique achievement and the international Fair Trade Towns movement by providing:
• A Fair Trade Exhibition - exploring the four interrelated themes; Fair Trade, The British Atlantic Slave Trade and its abolition, Quaker Heritage in North West England where Quakers were founded and Chocolate.
• A Fair Trade Café and Gift Shop - providing a community hub for both residents and visitors to Garstang using our triangular link with New Koforidua, the first Fair Trade Town in Africa and Media, PA, America’s first Fair Trade Town.
• Chocolate Making Events - using cocoa from New Koforidua and live video links.
• Fair Trade Way - Fairtrade refreshments, souvenirs and information for ramblers at the start of the Fair Trade Way; the world’s first long-distance fair trade heritage trail that links Fairtrade Towns between Garstang and Keswick.