The ILO and the UNTFSSE participated in the Global Social and Solidarity Economy Forum in Senegal

ILO staff from Senegal, Tunisia and Switzerland contributed to a number of sessions at the Forum, that took place in Dakar between May 1 - 6, sharing highlights of their work on the social and solidarity economy

News | 25 May 2023
The sixth edition of the Global Social and Economy Forum (GSEF) was held in Senegal Dakar from 1-6 May 2023. Focusing on “Transitioning from Informal Economies to Collective and Sustainable Economies for our Territories”, the event brough together representatives from national and local governments, civil society stakeholders, researchers, practitioners, and international organizations.

On the first day of the forum, after an opening ceremony under the chairmanship of Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, a session on “The development of the economy social and solidarity, a tool and a strategy to achieve social protection for all” took place. It was co-organized by the ILO, We social movements (WSM), INSP!R, and RIPESS. Moderated by Mr. Santiago Fisher, WSM, the session provided participants with a better knowledge and understanding of the link between the SSE and the achievement of universal social protection, with the aim of promoting these initiatives that contribute to the achievement of universal social protection for all. The list of speakers included Mr. Dramane Batchabi, Senior Social Protection Specialist in ILO Dakar who presented different ways SSE units are being mobilized towards universal social protection with practical examples from different ILO projects. It was followed by interventions from members of INSP!R and RIPESS in Africa and Latin America.

On the second day of the forum, a session on ILO’s tools and approaches on the Social and Solidarity Economy was held. The session was moderated by Mr. Guy Tchami, Cooperative Policy and Research Specialist at the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit (COOP) in Geneva. In opening the session, Mr. Tchami presented ILO COOP’s strategy and services. Then, in the first part of the session, Ms Linda Deelen, Manager of the Enterprise, Microfinance and Local Development Programme (EMLD) of the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, presented a Global awareness-raising package on the Social and Solidarity Economy. She indicated that it would be used as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format and explained its content and target audience by taking the audience through a few modules.

After question and answer, the second part of the session focused on concrete illustrations of the use of ILO tools and approaches. Two ILO development cooperation projects were presented by Mr. Aziz Dieng, coordinator of the project for the promotion of formal and innovative entrepreneurship in Senegal and Gambia (PROMEFI), and Mr Youssef Fennira, Chief Technical Advisor of the JEUN’ESS project in Tunisia. Mr Aziz presented the rich experience of the organization of members of the association of waste collectors “BOKK DIOM” in Senegal around establishing a cooperative enterprise to better defend their interests and improve their incomes and working conditions. He highlighted the challenges faced throughout the process and the importance of strategic partnerships with, among others, local authorities and WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing), and ongoing work around access to social protection as well as the market. His presentation was followed by the intervention of Mr. Youssef Fennira who after briefly explaining its content introduced Mr Lotfi Ben Aïssa, university lecturer, to provide a general and brief background of the Tunisian context around the formulation and adoption of the SSE law. Mr. Fennira continued with a comprehensive overview of the JEUN’ESS project including its objectives, target groups, modus operandi through its different funding windows, and its first preliminary achievements. Both presentations insisted on the importance of reflecting the need to achieve sustainability in project strategy, and the relevance of adopting a value chain approach for better market access of SSE entities. The session concluded with another round of questions and answers.

On the third and last day of the Forum, Mr. Tchami represented the ILO at a plenary session on “SSE strategies of International Organizations and Experts”. Other speakers included:
  • Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier as Chair of the UN Task force on SSE (UNTFSSE)
  • Ms. Antonella Noya, Head of Social Economy and Innovation Unit, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Ms. Sifa Chiyoge, Regional Director for Africa, International Co-operative Alliance
  • Mr. Alain Coheur, member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council
The session was moderated by Mr. Thierry Jeantet, Honorary President of SSE International Forum, and Mr Denis Stokkink, Think Tank pour la Solidarity. All speakers were asked to highlight “Recent strategies of their organizations to foster new SSE public policies and enabling environment with a focus on concrete actions promoting the transformation from informal economies to collective economies”. Mr. Tchami informed the audience of the adoption of the seven year Office-Wide Strategy and Action Plan on Decent Work and the Social and Solidarity Economy (2023-29) by ILO’s 346th Governing Body session in follow up to the adoption of ILO’s Resolution on the SSSE in June 2022. He emphasized its main objectives and priority thematic areas.