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 (UNTFSSE) 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 policymakers, preparing and disseminating publications, and engaging in collaborative projects involving the UNTFSSE members and observers. Among the Task Force achievements was the launch of the SSE Knowledge Hub for the SDGs, 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.
“This Task Force brings together different expertise, experiences and perspectives. Since 2013, it has been growing considerably. Its work has been enriched by new UN agencies and civil society organization networks joining along the way. We are excited about what has been achieved, what still needs to be done and how we can make it happen together. The world is facing major challenges in the form of a huge social deficit and climate change. We need to focus on how we can increase the impact of the social and solidarity economy in tackling these challenges whilst promoting it as viable alternative to achieving and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We need to ensure that a people-centred approach will drive our economies. We have to work on the creation of enabling environments – at all levels – to let SSE ecosystems flourish as part of plural economies and more inclusive and sustainable societies. We need to reach out to – through education systems – the new generations who are the ones who can push for a change and head towards a better future”.
Victor van Vuuren, current Chair of UNTFSSE and Director of Enterprises Department at ILO
“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 Chair of UNTFSSE and UNRISD Deputy Director