Message for the New Year 2024 from International Coordinator, Oksana Abboud

By StreetNet Media
December 21, 2023
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Dear Sisters and Brothers, colleagues, partners and allies of StreetNet Family around the world!

Here we are again – at the end of one more year! A year, full of events and activities for all of us, a year which has already become a part of our institutional history and a great story of triumph that we wrote together and in solidarity! 

2023 is also an exceptionally great year for StreetNet, as we have conducted a successful 7th StreetNet International Congress in May 2023 which was a very remarkable and essential milestone for the organization to maintain our democratic functioning as global alliance of street and market vendors – essential workers for all economies of our countries.

We should be very proud of developing and adopting progressive Resolutions during the 7th Congress as well as raising and discussing concerns that affect our lives in a rapidly changing world which brought to all of us new challenges and conflicts. This all demonstrates a growing capacity and maturity of our Affiliates to be aware of current and upcoming challenges and how in the best way to embrace them with prepared response and coping mechanisms.

Important to highlight another outcome of the 7th Congress – the election of a strong team of StreetNet leaders, composing a StreetNet International Council, who are committed to a common struggle for the prosperity of street vendors globally, their access to workers’ rights and a smooth formalization process. 

We are also gradually growing in different areas of StreetNet workers’ education programs and continue strengthening all our Affiliates with amplifying their voice and advocacy campaigns at different operational levels: from adopting our strategies to current realities in order to better respond to the members’ needs, to identifying priority areas and common grounds not only among StreetNet constituency but also among all labour movement organizations, promoting international solidarity and unity among ALL WORKERS!

At the same time, we also faced many challenges, directly or indirectly, caused by the ongoing brutal war in Ukraine, the escalation of the Israel-Palestine war and many other conflicts and political unrest areas in African and Latin American countries. We condemn any form of violence and harassment that results in harming the most innocent civilians, including children and women, elderly people who become the first targets during the wars and any humanitarian catastrophe.

StreetNet will be always moved by its core values, promoting international solidarity and unity, social justice, peace, equality and integrity.     

In June 2023, StreetNet delegation of five representatives, participated in the 111th Session of the ILO Conference and attended the working Tripartite Committees on Labour Protection and Just Transition. The work and contribution of StreetNet in the ILO Conference discussions were critical as we, street vendors, who work in public spaces are especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change. We face a double penalty: on one end, we are excluded from social protection measures and on the other, we are left out of collective dialogues and decision-making processes, even though street vendors make significant contributions to the environment and to the economy, including to the circular economy.

Empowering women and youth, building programs and capacity on social solidarity economy, sustainability, negotiations skills and organizing, building and increasing worker’s consciousness and general knowledge on global aspects of labour, history legal literacy and political issues will be our main focus areas for the next year to move towards a new institutional level of StreetNet development.

We commenced our working relationship with different labour institutes at national and global levels to strengthen the popular education aspects and its value among different stakeholders.

Our membership is also growing not only among particular affiliates but also we are progressing in the geographical extension. Thus, in 2023, we have received application forms from four street vendors organizations, expressing their willingness to join StreetNet family and provide solidarity and support.

We also contracted some new team members who already positively impacted the team work and offered their great contribution for implementation of our strategic goals and programs. 

We definitely continue to pursue our goals in strengthening our members’ voice, visibility, representation and legitimacy for influencing the policy directly affecting their lives and livelihood.  

Once again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all our members, leaders, partners and donors and of course, to StreetNet International Council and Team members for their commitment and hard work, support and contribution in implementation of our global agenda for recognition, dignity, respect, social protection and a just transition process including the formalization of informal economy. 

Let’s not lose our hope to achieve our dreams!

Nothing for Us without Us!   

Enjoy the holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Oksana Abboud, StreetNet International Coordinator 

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