Congratulations to the 2023 Silver Rose Award winners, Justiça Ambiental (JA!) for the Just Transition Award, and Margot Wallström for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
On October 11th, SOLIDAR, in collaboration with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D), and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), co-hosted the 2023 Silver Rose Awards Ceremony.
This annual event, presented by SOLIDAR and the progressive family, recognizes civil society organizations, trade unions, exceptional individuals, and activists for their work at all levels of society.
This year's Silver Rose Ceremony took place at La Tricoterie in Brussels, marking a pivotal moment for championing the causes of social justice, gender equality, and a just transition.
The event was a source of inspiration, demonstrating that, through collective action, systemic change is attainable. The ceremony began with opening statements from both SOLIDAR President Anne Van Lancker and FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues.
Anne Van Lancker, SOLIDAR President, stressed the importance of collective effort to achieve a fair and equitable transition. She emphasized the importance of the progressive movement's unity, stating,
"We are the many; let's never forget that. And Silver Rose is our reward. As Progressives, we recognize and defend both individual and collective struggles. We will succeed if we remain united."
Maria João Rodrigues, President of FEPS, drew attention to the ongoing challenges faced by local communities in the Global South due to the actions of multinational companies.
"There's something deeply wrong about global fossil fuel companies. Their power and devastating impact on local communities shows that colonialism is not over."
Numerous MEPs and representatives from the Progressive political family, civil society and trade unions joined the ceremony.
MEP Margarida Marques, from the S&D Group, gave the keynote speech and called for a social and just transition towards carbon neutrality, particularly in regions heavily reliant on fossil fuels. This transition must also align with the values of a progressive and solidary Europe, as she stated,
"Citizens and regions most dependent on fossil fuels need support. Europe's path to a greener future must also be a path towards social justice. Only then will we be able to fulfill the values of a progressive Europe based on solidarity"
This year's thematic award for a Just Transition recognized an organization from Mozambique, Justiça Ambiental (JA!), which, collaborates with Friends of the Earth International and Africa. JA! was honored for its outstanding work in Mozambique, other African countries, and globally. They have been instrumental in advocating for a socially Just Transition, bridging the gap between local communities and the international level in holding oil and gas multinational companies, polluting the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique, accountable. In the face of global crises, JA! exemplifies how a small group of friends can make a significant impact in advancing a Just Transition away from fossil fuels.
Mauro Pinto, Executive Director of JA!, reflected on their fight against powerful multinational companies and the importance of community resistance.
"Our fight is a constant struggle against multinational companies, having immense and brutal power. Fighting with our community to resist injustices creates powerful human bonds and solutions."
The Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Margot Wallström, celebrating her outstanding political career and activism in promoting gender equality and inclusive policies. Wallström serves as a role model of integrity and commitment while standing up for values that advocate political, societal, and systemic change.
SOLIDAR Secretary General, Mikael Leyi, closing up the ceremony reminded us all of the importance of ensuring a Global Just Transition:
“We don’t live on an island. Every food we import affects a forest, a lake, a river. What kind of leader do we want to be in the transition? We must be defenders and advocates of the principles of solidarity and justice."
The event was an occasion for winners to come to Brussels, where partners and the progressive family came together to celebrate organizations and individuals committed to the values of social justice and systemic change. It emphasized the need for Europe to lead the transition towards carbon neutrality and away from fossil fuels, toward a more sustainable future for all, underpinned by common values of human security, human rights, and social justice.
This award inspires hope and reaffirms the commitment to creating a world where people take precedence over profit, where justice, energy, food, education, health, and more are recognized as universal rights. It underscores the importance of reclaiming our common goods and rights while building a progressive community united in shared struggles.
Anabela Lemos, Head of Justiça Ambiental, captured the sentiment eloquently,
"This prize gives us hope and confirmation that we are on the right path for a different world. We need a different system that puts people above profit, that gives us all the rights of justice, energy, food, education, health and more. We need to reclaim our common goods and rights. We need to continue to build this progressive community together. Our struggles are common."