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The international development community recognizes the need to rethink development. Business-as-usual has not prevented the recent financial and food crises, climate change, persistent poverty and rising inequality. In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need to consider Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as an important pathway to transforming the world for the better.

The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (TFSSE) was established to raise the visibility of the SSE in international knowledge and policy circles. We believe that SSE holds considerable promise for addressing the economic, social and environmental integrated approaches of sustainable development.

The UNTFSSE brings together UN agencies and other inter-governmental organizations, as well as umbrella associations of SSE networks as members and observers. Task Force activities include organizing events at UN and other international conferences, dialoguing with policy makers, preparing and disseminating publications through the newly created Knowledge Hub, and engaging in collaborative projects involving the UNTFSSE members and observers. The most recent achievement was the launch of the Knowledge Hub, a platform that gathers research on the potential of the SSE for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forward by the 2030 Agenda.

“Social and Solidarity Economy encompasses organizations and enterprises that: 1) have explicit economic and social (and often environmental) objectives; 2) involve varying degrees and forms of cooperative, associative and solidarity relations between workers, producers and consumers; 3) practice workplace democracy and self-management. SSE includes traditional forms of cooperatives and mutual associations, as well as women’s self-help groups, community forestry groups, social provisioning organizations or ‘proximity services’, fair trade organizations, associations of informal sector workers, social enterprises, and community currency and alternative finance schemes”.

Peter Utting, former UNRISD Deputy Director