Localizing the SDGs through Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable and Resilient Societies—An Official Side Event of the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), member of the UNTFSSE is organizing this side event to the 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York.

  • Date: 17 July 2018
  • Time: 10.00-12.00
  • Location: Church Center of the United Nations (2nd Floor), 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
  • Donor(s): Global Social Economy Forum
  • Counterpart(s): UN-DESA Department for Inclusive Social Development, Global Social Economy Forum
  • This event is open to the public.


As an integrated and balanced approach to development, social and solidarity economy (SSE) has the potential to function as an intelligent means of localizing the 2030 Agenda.

At this side event, speakers will discuss new research evidence and local government experience of SSE, and the enabling conditions—such as institutional arrangements, political forces and economic possibilities—which are needed for it to succeed in diverse contexts.
In keeping with the mandate of the HPLF to provide guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the panellists at this event will share knowledge and experience on how SE is contributing to realizing the 2030 Agenda’s vision of transformation, and achieving the goals and targets at the local level, in particular in cities.
For the programme and more details, click here.

Call for Proposals – Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?

The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) is launching a Call for Papers to assess the contribution of SSE to inclusive and sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on local contexts. Organized by UNRISD, in its role as coordinator of the Task Force’s recently established Knowledge Hub, the Call for Papers aims to identify and mobilize research from different regions and territories that critically examines the role of SSE as a means of implementation for the SDGs.

Authors of the selected papers will be invited to present their work at a conference at the United Nations in Geneva, planned for April 2019. Selected submissions will also gain visibility through publication as working papers and think pieces. As publications under the banner of the Task Force’s Knowledge Hub, the pieces selected will have international impact and will contribute to UN efforts to scale up and promote SSE as means of implementation of the SDGs.

Access the full Call for Papers here

Research Themes and Questions

The Call invites researchers and practitioners to submit proposals for papers related to two main issue areas:

i. SSE as a means of implementation for the SDGs. Of interest are the ways in which SSE actors and institutions can facilitate the implementation of goals and targets associated with the SDGs, particularly in local settings. What works and why? What is the comparative advantage of SSE in relation to other forms of economy, in terms of minimizing trade-offs between different dimensions of development and promoting a more integrated approach? What actors and institutions are key for creating an enabling environment for SDG implementation through SSE? What is the scope for replicating positive initiatives in other local settings?

ii. Measuring SSE, its scale and impact. In a context where systematic data on SSE are still scarce, where definitions and indicators vary, and where statistics often fail to capture the diversity of SSE actors and impacts, the Call aims to identify robust methodologies and innovative solutions for measuring SSE and its impacts.

The submission process for the Call for Papers is open from 1 June until midnight CEST on 2 August 2018. To participate, please read the full Call for Papers and then follow the instructions.

Remembering Jens Nilsson & Paul Singer

The UNTFSSE wishes to honour the lives of two colleagues, Jens Nilsson and Paul Singer, who regrettably passed away in March and April, respectively. They both in their own way contributed to the Social and Solidarity Economy as we know it. They each leave behind a legacy for those presently working in the field and for future generation of SSE leaders. Our thoughts are with their loved ones and all those who knew them.


Jens Nilsson (1948-2018)

By Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee in representation of the Spanish Business Confederation of the Social Economy


It is with immense sadness that we learned of the early passing of Jens Nilsson, chair of the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup, on 13th March at the age of 69.  Jens has been a driving force in the promotion of Social Economy across Europe and will be greatly missed.

A convinced social democrat, before becoming a politician, Jens worked as an ombudsman and communicator. Prior to becoming a Member of the European Parliament in 2009, he was Mayor of the city of Östersund 1994-2010, from where he initiated the European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy (REVES), of which he was its first President during 1997-2001. He was also a member of the EU’s Committee of the Regions (1999-2010) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (2007-2010). In all these capacities Jens cooperated with different UN agencies and tirelessly worked to bring the local, national and international governance levels together.

The UN family would like to honor Jens by recognizing and remembering his strong commitment to the promotion of the social and solidarity economy model as a driver for inclusive growth and social justice.

His passing leaves a great emptiness for his family and for all who knew and appreciated working with him. Yet his ideas and vision will stay alive.


Paul Singer (1932-2018)

By Peter Utting, International Coordinator at the Center for Social Economy (Centro para la Economía Social) based in Managua, Nicaragua, and Senior Research Associate with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).


It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Paul Singer, former head of Brazil’s National Secretariat for Solidarity Economy (SENAES), on 16 April 2018.  Paul both supported and inspired the work of UNRISD and the ILO in this field. In 2013 he opened the international conference we co-organized on the Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), out of which emerged the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE.

His ideas and work were informed by his academic background as an economist, sociologist, university professor and researcher; his political activism as a founder and member the Workers’ Party; and his policy making experience as Municipal Secretary of Planning of São Paulo.

He skillfully brought together theory and practice to craft a comprehensive strategy for social change in Brazil that positioned SSE as a central player.  The potential of SSE, he believed, resides in the way it connects different dimensions of development:

“Social and solidarity economy refer to collective practices of sustainable development that contribute to building a more just and egalitarian world(…) by linking economy to society, local to global, labour to investment, and production, consumption and the environment.” (Paul Singer, Secretary for Solidarity Economy, Ministry of Labour and Employment, in PARDEV Newsletter No. 30, June 2012.

This strategy recognized that an effective enabling environment for SSE must go beyond a narrow range of financial and fiscal incentives. He emphasized the importance of strengthening the capacities of SSE enterprises through technology and skills development. To this end he involved the universities in the programmes of SENAES, notably through the promotion of over 100 incubators.  Under Paul’s tenure as National Secretary, solidarity economy became a key element in the poverty eradication programme, Brasil Sem Miséria. State institutions supported solidarity organizations and enterprises through their procurement policies and initiatives to create and strengthen cooperatives. And crucially, he knew that effective policy making required the active participation of SSE actors and social movements, as well as participatory governance structures that spanned national, regional and local levels.

In later life, Paul increasingly engaged with intellectuals, activists and policy makers in other countries that were promoting SSE. He was convinced that the strengthening of SSE in his country was part and parcel of a global movement for change – a movement that today draws heavily on the concept of solidarity economy that he developed and the experience of Brazil where he played such a pivotal role.

For more on Paul’s ideas and professional and political life we invite you to read an interview published in 2016 in Global Dialogue, the magazine of the International Sociological Association.