The First National Fairtrade Conference in Litomerice attracted participants from all over the country

On Tuesday, 30 October, the first ever National Fairtrade Conference was held in Litomerice, it attracted 80 participants from all over the country. There were representatives of the public administration, already certified Fairtrade cities and schools, people interested in obtaining this title and coordinators of Healthy cities. Not miss out students, NGOs and other active citizens with an interest in responsible shopping.

„This was the first event of this scale in our country. The main objective was to give participants an opportunity to gain quality information that can be used in practice, and create a space for sharing experiences. “I think both of these goals were met”, said Hana Chorváthová, Deputy, of Fairtrade Czech Republic, which has co-organized the conference; „I’m glad that the effort that has been put into the conference, didn´t go to waste, but turned into a positive atmosphere, sharing and mutual inspiration of participants. “I would like to thank everyone who participated in the conference,“ added the chief organizer of the event, the city of Litoměřice, Marcela Trejbalová, Project Manager of the Municipality of Litomerice.

The conference had the support of the Ministry of Environment, Marie Petrova, the Secretary of the Working Group on Local Agenda 21 of the Government Council for Sustainable Development, she opened the first session and spoke about the context of fair trade and Local Agenda 21. Mrs. Jenny Foster from Great Britain was a special guest at the conference, she has been working as a fair trade programs coordinator in Bristol for six years – in one of the „greenest“ cities in Europe. She was a great inspiration for all participants in ways of involving local businesses to fair trade and gaining public support for their campaigns.

The conference also demonstrated several examples of good practice, performed by pupils of Masarykova school in Litomerice, or Mrs. Romana Šafránková, who teaches at the High School and Language School in Volyne and is also a member of the Steering Group for Fairtrade in Volyně City. In the afternoon session followed by a panel discussion, where participants had the opportunity to clarify issues related to fair trade or their involvement in campaigns. The whole event ended with a fashion show of fairtrade clothes supplied by Ona Fair and was shown by dancers from DMC revolution, the dance and movement school from Litoměřice.

„The conference showed that people join the fairtrade support with enthusiasm. Fair trade can unite all actors of public life, whether politicians, activists, civil servants, students or ordinary citizens.  A few examples of good practice were highlighted at the conference, how to inform effectively about  the working conditions in the countries of the global South or how  to include global issues  in teaching at school, „said Stanislav Komínek, the  Fairtrade towns campaign coordinator and promoter of responsible government purchases from the organization NaZemi.

The conference was also assessed by Mrs. Iveta Ondráčková, the coordinator of Healthy City Project and LA21 from Třebíč: „The program was very varied and inspiring. The event has poured  more strength and conviction into our veins, that what we do has a meaning and that perhaps soon we can expect a Fairtrade city Trebic certification. We have been realizing activities in this area for more than three and a half years, at this moment, we only need to provide a support of the city government. “

Organizers plan to build on this year’s successful event next year. It will be possible to take into an account wishes and concerns of participants of the last conference.  For example, some would welcome greater space for addressing discussed   questions about fair trade.

The main organizer of the conference were, the city of Litoměřice, one of the first Fairtrade cities in the country. The coordinators of Fairtrade Cities campaign also took park in organization: Fairtrade Czech Republic and NGOs NaZemi. The conference was also supported by Ecumenical Academy Prague.

The conference was organized with the financial support of the European Union, the Aware & Fair Project.