Roundup of the conference “Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy”

On 6-8 May 2013, UNRISD held a major international conference on Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy. The event aimed to raise the visibility of SSE within the UN system and beyond, and to contribute in debates about a post-2015 development agenda. The event was co-hosted with the ILO and in partnership with Hivos, the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and the Ville de Genève. UN-NGLS organized a special session on alternative finance and complementary currencies. The conference was a great success in terms of both participation and outcomes.

For a roundup of the conference, see this special edition of the UNRISD eBulletin. All conference materials, including papers, presentations and podcasts, can be downloaded here. UNRISD has also published an Event Brief, which summarizes the issues discussed. You can find more info on UNRISD research project on SSE here.



The opening session included political and academic figures. Paul Singer (National Secretary of Solidarity Economy in Brazil), Guy Ryder (Director-General of the ILO) and Sarah Cook (Director of UNRISD) opened the Conference to a full house in the ILO’s Governing Body room. José-Luis Coraggio from the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento gave the keynote address.

Some 300 people attended the conference, representing a rich mixture of academics, UN policy makers, practitioners and civil society organizations. They made good use of the opportunity the conference presented to exchange views and knowledge taken from their different perspectives in the presentations, Poster Session for PhD students and Practitioners’ Forum.

Concrete results of these exchanges are already beginning to materialize. An initiative is under way to establish an Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE within the United Nations. The ILO, UNRISD, NGLS and UNRISD are taking the lead in bringing relevant UN agencies together for regular exchanges on their programming and policy making in the field of SSE. It will focus UN efforts related to SSE and raise the profile of the social and solidarity economy in the UN system.

Social and solidarity economy has arguably been under the intergovernmental radar, but through initiatives like the UNRISD conference this situation is changing. The first steps have been taken—the challenge now is to use the momentum generated and carry the process forward.


Adapted from news items originally posted on UNRISD website.