SSE Included in the Revised Zero Draft New Urban Agenda


In the latest Zero Draft New Urban Agenda, 18 June 2016, SSE is now included in paragraph 31.

SSE was brought to the attention of the office of Habitat III, due to a letter sent to the office urging that SSE must be included in the New Urban Agenda. Below is the full letter in detail.


We, Social and Solidahabitat IIIrity Economy networks, Intercontinental Network for the promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS), Mont-Blanc Meetings/International Forum of Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs (RMB/FIDESS) and International Association of Investors in the Social Economy (INAISE), the World Fund for Development of Cities (FMDV), Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) and Habitat International Coalition (HIC), are deeply convinced that Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) must be a key component of the New Urban Agenda.


We believe that growing movement of SSE both in developing countries and developed countries share the vision of the New Urban Agenda and have proved that they effectively contribute to transformative changes of our cities and urban economies by providing equal and equitable employment to the most vulnerable sections of urban populations, sharing resources and improving the participatory democracy of cities through collective and people-centered decision-making processes that the New Urban Agenda seek to implement. SSE has proved its commitment to “leave no one behind” by achieving sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all whenever it is effectively implemented through multi-stakeholder partnerships and participatory governance. SSE should therefore be considered as a strategic urban policy of the Implementation plan for the New Urban Agenda to achieve an effective implementation of Urban Paradigm Shift.




1/ SSE is a way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to which the New Urban Agenda refers“By creating an action-oriented roadmap for implementation, the New Urban Agenda will drive the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”-.


Concerning SDG 11-Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable-. The SSE approach is based on a triple bottom line approach: economic, social and environmental. All activity in our societies is interrelated. This approach can simultaneously resolve issues of economic activities that provide both services and products, thus creating jobs and decent income. It also tackles social issues, as SSE is both rights-based and inclusive of all local inhabitants, irrespective of their origins. One of the main externalities is therefore the creation of social cohesion and solidarity at territorial level. SSE activities generally have a much lower environmental footprint since the activities are territorial.
In the case of short and direct chain local solidarity-based procurement and agroecological food systems (such as Community Supported Agriculture) this also contributes substantially to SDG 2: End hunger. Moreover, SSE also contributes to the implementation of SDG 12-Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by relocalising much of the economy, inventing and implementing low-carbon, sustainable solutions in terms of production and consumption. Both are important factors in the mitigation of climate change; SSE therefore substantially also contributes to SDG 13-Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.


Indeed, as exposed by the United Nations Taskforce on Social and Solidarity Economy (TFSSE), comprised of 19 UN Agencies and 5 Observers, in its Position Paper on SSE and the Challenge of Sustainable Development published in July 2014, SSE represents a significant potential for human settlements: iv) Sustainable cities and human settlements / Social enterprises and community-based organizations possess features with considerable potential for helping build sustainable cities. They can promote social and environmental goals through, for example, proximity services (including healthcare, education and training), promoting local culture, urban and peri-urban agriculture, community renewal, fair trade, access to affordable accommodation, renewable energy, waste management and recycling, low-carbon forms of production and consumption, and broader livelihood security. Their rootedness in local knowledge and their internal democratic structure offer some means of achieving integrated forms of socially and politically sustainable urban development.


Furthermore, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy has just released a position paper Realizing the 2030 Agenda through Social and Solidarity Economy. The paper clearly identifies how SSE acts locally and can have a positive impact: “As most SSE initiatives are rooted in the local economy, SSE can play a major role supporting an inclusive and sustainable local development. In the framework of localizing SDG implementation, SSE has the potential to complement a broader Local Economic Development (LED) approach by matching and enabling linkages between unmet needs for employment, income, goods and services and the sustainable use and valorization of local assets and resources, including those associated to the livelihoods’ endowment of disadvantaged and marginalized groups”. Pursuing the same path as the 2014 paper, the approach is reaffirmed: The UN Task Force strongly believes that SSE should be recognized as an important means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.


2/ SSE has been included and recognized in the New Urban Agenda process.
The declarations of the consultative meetings in preparation of HABITAT III –Montréal, Mexico and Barcelona- include SSE as an approach of great importance to meet many of the challenges facing urban areas. The Barcelona declaration proposes to “promote the mainstreaming of social and solidarity economy in all sectors as an inclusive, viable human-rights based economic alternative and key lever for the future of cities”. HABITAT lll, as a United Nations process, is human rights-based and focused. SSE is fully inclusive and implements human rights, especially the economic, social and cultural rights that are indivisible. It is therefore important to recognise it fully as a natural part of the Hlll process.


The Global Taskforce recommendations on the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda issued during the Local Authorities Hearings, New York, May 2016, adopted the following recommendation: “6. Recognize Social and Solidarity Economy and Finance (SSEF): historically, the social and solidarity economy and finance constitute a source of resilience to the recurrent systemic crises; they are conducive to partnerships that will bring about transformational changes in urban development patterns. The creation of enabling environments (especially in terms of regulations and knowledge sharing) should be included in the New Urban Agenda.”


3/ The valuable contribution of SSE activities has been recognized by local governments who have adopted policies and programs to promote SSE.
Everywhere on the planet, partnerships between Local Authorities and local actors have been developed in recent years, with increasingly prominent networks around the world all making significant contributions, such as the European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy (REVES), the Network of Local Authorities for solidarity economy (RTES) Network of Municipalities for the Social Economy in Catalonia. 40 municipalities in Brazil also have specific legislation that includes SSE. Montreal has a partnership with social economy organisations to support the sector. Seoul has set up multidimensional support system by proposing legal, financial, institutional and technical assistance including creating an intermediary support networks and institutions to build stakeholders’ capacities and ensure better access both to private and public markets, as well as the creation of six Social Economy Special Zones to create an eco-system to foster social economy. Quezon City in the Philippines has a department for cooperative development. It is indeed at local level that the many issues of the New Urban Agenda should and must be addressed, so the role of Local Authorities is indeed crucial to the process.


Considering that HABITAT lll, as United Nations process, is human rights-based and focused. Considering that SSE is fully inclusive and echoes and implements human rights, especially the economic, social and cultural rights that are indivisible, it is therefore important to recognise it fully as a natural part of the HABITAT III process.
Considering that SSE «relocalises» the economy, thus creating sustainable solutions in terms of production and consumption (SDG 12) that are an important factor in the mitigation of climate change (SDG 13) and ending hunger (SDG 2).
Considering that partnerships on macro, meso and micro levels with the SSE support production and participatory governance of cities in all areas (social and economic integration, housing, education, health, sports, energy, common spaces, etc.).
Considering we believe in a plural economy where SSE, private sector and public sector get along and collaborate with each other. Considering that SSE manages services of general interest that meet the needs of local residents placing the community above profit.
Considering that SSE activities and practices in the following fields already exist in many urban areas and have great potential for meeting the challenges of urban areas:


– Food. Local food production and distribution, urban gardening, integrated territorial food systems and local food policy councils
– Community management of Commons such as water
– Community health management
– Housing – Cooperative housing, Community Land Trusts…
– Popular education
– Services – Day care of children, care for the elderly
– Culture – Theater and arts groups, cultural organisations, festivals
– Alternative and ethical finance and local currencies
– Alternative media and press – community radio, alternative press …
– Sustainable local job creation
– Renewable energies
– Citizens participatory engagement in local governance
– Local solidarity-based public procurement
Considering that SSE generates employment rooted in territories and thus enables sustainable local development, domestic resource mobilization and many other positive externalities.
Considering that SSE is enabling for all three transformation commitments in the New Urban Agenda: leave no one behind and fight against poverty; urban prosperity and opportunities for all; and ecological and resilient cities and human settlements (Par.19),

We propose the following addition to the New Urban Agenda:

At the end of paragraph 22
Stressing that spatial organization, patterns and design of urban space together with development policies can promote or hinder social cohesion, equity, and inclusion, as well as the reduction of poverty and hunger. The New Urban Agenda promotes people-centred urban development and the realization of human rights of all, facilitating living together, combating discrimination in all its forms, and empowering all individuals and communities, while enabling their full and meaningful participation. Social and Solidarity Economy has an important potential for a people-centered urban development.


At the end of paragraph 47
We commit to developing vibrant, inclusive and sustainable urban economies, building on local resources and competitive advantages, including modern infrastructure and cultural heritage, with increased levels of productive employment and decent work. In this regard, support to innovative and sustainable solutions will be provided in order to trigger the potential for a high degree of connectivity and consequent intense economic and social interaction between a larger and diverse range of people, skills, business and market opportunities, all of which contribute to the positive externalities that cities can create, maximizing economies of agglomeration. Scaling up existing Social and Solidarity Economy activities and practices has the potential to meet these challenges, in particular in creating decent jobs, social innovation and mobilising citizens to build local solutions to local problems.
At the end of paragraph 68

The New Urban Agenda aims to achieve ecologically sustainable cities and human settlements, strengthening resilience in urban areas with varying characteristics and locations, while changing the root causes of prevailing perception of cities as a significant source of negative ecological impacts to a source of solutions to sustainability issues. The Agenda reiterates the ecological and social function of land and promotes a change in the consumption and production patterns, ensuring that they will not exceed the ecosystem’s regenerative capacity. Social and Solidarity Economy activities already represent approximately 8-10% of GDP in cities, and are at the heart of ecologically sustainable activities such as territorial food systems based on small-scale agroecological food production, local production of goods and services, renewable energies, recycling and reuse.
Contact persons:

Anne-France Piteau

Yvon Poirier


habitat III letter

Task Force represented at the first European Forum on SSE

efsse_test3On January 28 the UN Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) represented by Marie-Adélaïde Matheï participated in the first European Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy to present United Nations’ work on SSE.

Hosted by the European Parliament the conference was the fruit of an initiative led and organized by the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) to turn their long time support for the SSE into one of its main strategic focuses for the current legislature of the European Parliament (2014-2019). Titled “Transforming the Economic and Cultural Paradigms” the conference brought together more than 250 participants from 14 countries in Europe, Latin America and North America in an attempt to promote an exchange of experiences among the different actors highlighting the problems faced by the sector, as well as its potential in tackling the effects of the economic crisis.

For more information, please click here:

“Boosting Social Enterprises in Europe” – Conference of the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU

presidence-enThe Luxembourg Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy held on 3-4 December a conference on “Boosting Social Enterprises in Europe“. During its presidency of the Council of the European Union, Luxembourg has promoted social economy at the European level in the context of inclusive growth, quality job creation and social cohesion.

The conference lead to the adoption of a declaration by the Governments of France, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain towards a comprehensive ecosystem for social economy enterprises.

For more information, please visit:




7th Mont Blanc Meeting – Final declaration of the International Forum of the Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs

20151127_155635The 7th Mont-Blanc Meetings – International Forum of the Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs that was held in Chamonix, France from November 26th to November 28th, and was a great success. The different sessions were a true space for exchange of ideas and concrete proposals. On the last day fo the forum a final declaration, an outcome of the contributions of the participants, was discussed and adopted.
The declaration is available in French, English and Spanish.
For more information visit the Mont Blanc Meetings webpage on the forum.

Global Social Economy Forum 2016 – Call for proposals

logo_gsef2016_enPerhaps you already know that the City of Montreal and the Chantier de l’économie sociale co-organize the next Global Social Economy Forum -GSEF2016, to be held 7-9 September 2016 and which will focus on the collaboration between local governments and the social and solidarity economy (SSE) organizations for the development of cities.

GSEF is pleased to announce  that the call for proposals for the Forum is now open! Until January 3rd, 2016, we will receive submissions of initiatives to be presented at the GSEF2016. The Forum will showcase existing projects, from all continents, who will represent the best practices of collaboration between public authorities and social economy organizations for the development of cities. Projects by other types of organizations (citizen’s initiatives, private and hybrid enterprises, universities …) in collaboration with the SSE and/or local governments. In this sense, if you are you aware of innovative initiatives that have had an impact on the development of your city, please invite these actors to submit them to GSEF2016!

6th ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy (Puebla, Mexico)

Photo SSE Academy PueblaSince the 2008 financial crisis, economic development has been reconsidered and innovative approaches are becoming increasingly relevant internationally. The ‘Social and Solidarity Economy’ (SSE) is a chief player among these approaches. Because SSE organizations pursue both economic and social objectives, they play a major role in creating and securing decent employment and income. ILO’s efforts on the SSE have been of various natures, from technical activities (advice on policy and law, access to finance, organizational development, capacity building, international networking, etc.) to establishing international partnerships and politically influencing high level Government decision making, in different settings (informal and formal economy, rural and urban communities, a variety of economic sectors and sub-sectors) or working with people from all backgrounds in global networks. Among these efforts, the ‘ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy’ emerged as a hub and catalyser of innovative initiatives to support the SSE and enhance the ILO’s endeavour on promoting Decent Work for all.

Informal meeting members of the Leading Group and Task Force members and observers during the International Forum of the SSE Entrepreneurs

IMG_1299From 26 to 28 November the 7th International Forum of the Social and Solidarity Ecomomy Entrepreneurs, organized by Les Rencontres du Mont-Blanc, took place in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. Many participants of a diverse group of organization participated in these three days of righ exchanges, debates reflections and of sharing. Connections were fostered throughout the Forum, especially through the Project Place.

Strong Task Force representation at High Level event of the Leading Group on SSE

This Monday, Paul Ladd, incoming DirecCQBZROUWUAAxmQm.png largetor of UNRISD and current Director of the UNDP Team on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, along with Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director General of ILO, Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief of UNCTAD in NY and Sharon Brennen-Halyock, Director of FAO in NY, represented the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE at the high-level panel of the Leading Group on social and solidarity economy at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Observers of the Task Force, including RIPESS and ICA were also participating.