Member States, international organizations and civil society organizations call for international recognition of the Social and Solidarity Economy’s contribution to the attainment of Agenda 2030

News | 23 February 2023
The multi-stakeholder meeting on “How can the international recognition of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through social and inclusive innovation?” took place on December 13th, 2022 as a hybrid meeting in New York and online streamed through UN Web TV. Held in English, French and Spanish, the meeting brought together policymakers and SSE organizations and stakeholders to share experiences and foster exchanges around the role of the SSE in contributing to the SDGs. The meeting was co-organized by the Governments of Chile, France, Senegal, Spain and the UN Interagency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE).

The co-organizers received a large number of requests to participate in the event, which included interventions from 10 Member States and 30 representatives of international organizations, civil society and private sector organizations, SSE networks and stakeholders from all regions of the world acknowledging the growing recognition of SSE a tool to achieve inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery and development and their support in advancing the UNGA Resolution.

The event was moderated by Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief of UNCTAD New York, Office of the Secretary General and Vice-Chair of the UNTFSSE.

The multi-stakeholder meeting started with a keynote speech and opening remarks and was followed by two-panel discussions and a concluding ceremony.

Keynote speech and opening remarks

In her key-note speech, Ms. Marlène Schiappa, French Minister of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy and the Voluntary Sector mentioned that all over the world, the SSE represents the promise of a more sustainable and inclusive local development, of the creation and promotion of decent work for all, and of a response to the global challenges the world is facing today.

It's always an honor to put my voice in the long wake of women and men committed to a lasting peace between genders, between peoples, and for a prosperous humanity. The social and solidarity economy strives to preserve the human link before profit, in particular through the reinvestment of profits, through the care given to equality between women and men, through the social responsibility of companies, through democratic and participatory governance” and that “in the same way that we have witnessed a feminist transition which runs through society, there is also a transition in the way to entrepreneur and consume”, she added.

The SSE means acting responsibly and with an awareness of one's place in the world: for society, for the planet, for consumers and for employees” and “its resilience is extraordinary and shows how virtuous these models are. Today, SSE entities represent 10% of French GDP and 14% of jobs. SSE in France is 1 out of 2 bottles of wine sold, 3 out of 5 vehicles insured, and half of the country's day care centers”. She evoked the important role of the Pact for Impact Alliance and invited participants to join the process leading to the approval of a UN General Assembly Resolution. Minister Schiappa’s intervention is available here.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Augustin Santos Maraver, Permanent Representative of Spain recalled that growing momentum garnered this year through the Resolution concerning decent work and the SSE adopted at the 110th International Labour Conference in June; the ECOSOC/HLPF side-event on the “Role of SSE in achieving the SDGs” organized in July; and the core group meeting in September convened by the Spanish Mission to explore possibilities of a UNGA SSE resolution. Moreover, the Ambassador referred to many examples showing the positive developmental impacts of SSE around the world, as well-documented in the recently published “UNTFSSE Position Paper: Advancing the 2030 Agenda through the Social and Solidarity Economy”.

In her opening remarks, H.E. Mrs. Aminata Ly Diop, Deputy Permanent Representative of Senegal, mentioned we need to put in place innovative models for development through the Social and Solidarity Economy, which is at the heart of the institutional system in Senegal. Mrs. Diop invited all participants to join GSEF2023 international event from 1 to 5 May 2023 in Dakar. Ms. Diop’s intervention is available here.

Panel 1

The first roundtable discussion, the “Setting the scene: What is the SSE and why does it matter at the UN?,” highlighted what the SSE is and why it should be mainstreamed at the UN and its member States. The panel was moderated by H.E. Mrs. Paula Narváez Ojeda, Permanent Representative of Chile, who recalled the long tradition and history of SSE and popular economy in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The different representatives of international organizations and SSE umbrella organizations started by framing the concept of SSE, based on the recently agreed international and tripartite definition (ILC Resolution/2022), as “encompassing enterprises, organizations and other entities that are engaged in economic, social and environmental activities to serve the collective and/or general interest. These entities are further defined by the following principles: voluntary cooperation and mutual aid; primacy of people and social purpose over capital; transition from informal to formal sectors of the economy; and democratic self-governance, accountability and transparency. According to national context, they can include cooperatives, associations, mutual societies, foundations, social enterprises, self-help groups and other entities aligned to these principles”.

Moreover, the speakers emphasized the role that governments, social partners and SSE umbrella organizations can play to promote SSE and the importance of a UN resolution on SSE and sustainable development, since it will put the SSE at the core of the debate withing the UN system. The speakers recognized that a UN Resolution will encourage the development of an environment favorable to the SSE, which notably includes issues of access to financing, access to skills, education, support for SSE businesses and greater visibility. It will also encourage joint projects between groups of SSE entities from different countries.

The panelists were as follows:

  • Ms. Aude Saldana, Founder member of the International Coalition on Social and Solidarity Economy (ICSSE) and Secretary General of Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF). Ms. Saldana’s intervention is available here.
  • Mr. Yvon Poirier, Special Advisor at the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS). Mr. Poirier’s intervention is available here.
  • Ms. Beate Andrees, Special Representative to the UN and Director, Office for the United Nations, International Labour Organization (ILO). The intervention of Ms. Andrees is available here.
The panel was enriched by an interactive dialogue where the following interventions of Member States and CSOs expressed support for a UN resolution on SSE for sustainable development:
  • H.E. Ms. Maria del Carmen Squeff, Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations in New York.
  • H.E. Ms. Urša Ponikvar, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations in New York.
  • H.E. Ms. Laura Pizarro, Minister Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations in New York.
  • Ms. Antonella Noya, Head of the Social Economy and Innovation Unit at the Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Ms. Noya’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Federico Parra, Regional Coordinator of Waste Pickers Latin America at Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). Mr. Parra’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Frédéric Bailly, Member of the Management Board in charge of Real Estate and International Relations at the Groupe SOS. Mr. Bailly’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Young Kim, Representative of the Association of Korean Local Governments for Social Economy and Solidarity (SSEGOV). Mr. Kim’s remarks are available here.
Panel 2

The second roundtable on “The role of SSE in achieving the SDGs through social and inclusive innovation,” focused on how the SSE helps accelerate achieving the SDGs via its transformative, localizing, and cross-cutting features.

The session was moderated by H.E. Mr. Enkhbold Vorshilov, Permanent Representative of Mongolia, who recalled the importance of building upon the history of co-operativism, as backbone of the SSE, and of creating synergies with the UN Resolution A/RES/74/119 on Cooperatives in social development.

The different representatives discussed the substantial role played by cooperatives, which advance the achievement of the SDGs by providing 120 million jobs, or 10-20$ of total global employment. Cooperatives are practical means in the Social Solidarity Economy to actively push the 2030 Agenda by reducing inequalities and enabling wealth redistribution. It was mentioned that as global trade, investments, and business activity are powerful drivers of economic transformation and social change, market-based solutions can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Panellists highlighted opportunities for the private sector to partner and collaborate with actors in the social economy and emphasized social entrepreneurs are the core of the social solidarity economy, allowing people to identify challenges and define their own solutions that are sustainable, evidence-based and cost effective. Participants agreed the SSE resolution will fill the underlying need for a legal framework to support social entrepreneurs.

The panelists were as follows:

  • Mr. Iñigo Albizuri Landazabal, President of the International Organization of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA), and Director of Institutional Relations at Mondragon Corporation in Spain. Mr. Albizuri’s intervention is available here.
  • Ms. Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer, USA, World Economic Forum (WEF). Ms. Nayyar,’s intervention is available here.
  • Ms. Rana Dajani, Board member of Catalyst2030, Professor at the Hashemite University and Visiting Professor at MIT and Founder We Love Reading. Ms. Dajani’s intervention is available here.
The panel was followed by an interactive debate, where several Members States and CSOs took the floor and expressed support for a UN resolution on SSE for sustainable development, as follows:

  • H.E. Mr. Omar Kadiri, Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations in New York.
  • H.E. Ms. Claudia Mansfeld LaRue, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Dominican Republic to the United Nations in New York.
  • H.E. Mr. Dicky Pamungkas, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations in New York.
  • Mr. Gianluca Salvatori, Secretary General of European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (EURICSE). Mr. Salvatori’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Michael A. Peck, Board Member at the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN). Mr. Peck’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Matthias Savignac, President of the Mutuelle Générale de l'Education Nationale (MGEN) in France. Mr. Savignac’s remarks are available here.
  • Ms. Beatrice Alain, Director General of the Chantier de l'Economie Sociale in Quebec/Canada.
  • Mr. Gianluca Pastorelli, Executive President at Diesis Network. Mr. Pastorelli’s remarks are available here.
Concluding remarks and the way forward

The event was concluded with a final round of interventions from the floor and concluding remarks by MS. Marlène Schiappa, French Minister of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy and the Voluntary Sector.

The following CSOs and international organizations provided remarks:
  • Mr. Juan Antonio Pedreno, President of Social Economy Europe (SEE). Mr. Pedreno’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Emery Jacquillat, President of Camif and Communauté des entreprises à mission in France. Mr. Jacquillat’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Felipe Correa, Officer, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC). Mr. Correa’s remarks are available here.
  • Ms. Isabelle Hoyaux, Founder of ScaleChanger in France. Ms. Hoyaux’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Fabrice Adelphe Balou, CEO & Co-founder of ABEWE in Ivory Coast. Mr. Balou’s remarks are available here.
  • Ms. Lichia Saner-Yiu, Founder of Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND). Ms. Saner-Yiu’s remarks are available here.
  • Mr. Marc Picard, General Director at the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins in Quebec/Canada.
  • Mr. Madani Koumare, President of the Réseau Africain d'ESS/RIPESS Afrique.
  • Mr. Stephane Tisserand, Head of Public Affairs at Mutuelle assurance des instituteurs de France (MAIF). Mr. Tisserand’s remarks are available here.
Ms. Schiappa concluded by explaining the event was a turning point towards the adoption of the resolution in 2023, which would foster universal promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy. She emphasized the statements she heard today highlighted the astonishing diversity of the SSE, and that civil society and private sector are one step ahead of governments in most countries. She recalled that SSE “is not the economy of hands out but the economy of handshakes”.

The recording of the event is available on the UN Web TV in English, French and Spanish.

The current Member States in support of such Resolution are: Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Malaysia, Mongolia, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain.

The concept note of the event is available here.