The UNTFSSE event “Why does SSE matter for the Agenda 2030 and the recovery post COVID-19?” was held on 21st Oct

The United Nations Inter-agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) organized a virtual event on “Why does SSE matter for the Agenda 2030 and the recovery post COVID-19?” on 21 October 2020, in the framework of GSEF Global Virtual Forum.

More than 300 participants participated in the virtual event. Held in English and Spanish, the event was organized by ILO in its current role of Chair and Secretariat of the UNTFSSE.

Ms. Laurence Kwark, Secretary General at GSEF opened the event reflecting on the importance of promoting national and international recognition and global visibility of SSE as a key strategy to localize SDGs. She added that it is important to create spaces that facilitate discussions on strategies and visions to build a global SSE movement together as a path for transformation to face “Great Challenges, with Greater Solidarity”.

The session was moderated by Mr. Vic van Vuuren, Chair of UNTFSSE and Director of Enterprises Department at ILO. The moderator gave an overview on the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work and emphasized why and how a better recovery should focus on tackling the pre-existing factors that worsen the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of including SSE in devising reconstruction measures. Moreover, he introduced the work of the UNTFSSE in raising visibility on SSE and creating partnerships at the global level. His presentation is available here.

The presentations reflected on strategies to promote and mainstream SSE into the national and global agendas, considering that SSE is often not sufficiently recognized by national and international decision makers. They highlighted the ongoing joint action plan 2020-2022 of the UNTFSSE and its priority objectives, identified jointly by the members and observers of the task force.

Mr. Raymond Landveld, Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD and Mr. Yvon Poirier, Special Advisor on Advocacy and Governance at RIPESS highlighted that the conclusion at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Summit in September 2020 was that we were not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Heads of State and Government endorsed the “Decade of Action and delivery of the SDGs” launched by UN Secretary General. The existing problems signify business opportunities, which can be taken by entrepreneurs, MSMEs and SSE institutions. As a people-centred and environmentally sensitive economic model, SSE has enormous potential to help accelerate and localize the achievement of the SDGs across all goals. There is a need for policy guidance through the intergovernmental processes and increased support from member states. Intergovernmental outcomes, such as UNGA resolutions, can help Member states to share experiences among each other on SSE, leading to increased benefits to their societies and economies. In this regard, SSE institutions can be an excellent vehicle to help in the implementation of the UN SG socio-economic response to COVID-19. Furthermore, a UN resolution on SSE would fill a significant gap left in the 2030 Agenda, since the role of SSE has not been sufficiently recognized.

Mr. Jürgen Schwettmann, international consultant and ex officio at the ILO and Ms. Elisa Torrenegra, Co-President of the SSE International Forum, underlined the urgency to have development cooperation programs unlocking – especially in developing economies – the potential of SSE institutions in playing a transformative role in achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and being a powerful tool to mitigate the impact of crises. In particular, the UNTFSSE designed the joint project “SSE-for-SDGs”, which aims to raise awareness about, and enhance the visibility of, the SSE within the UN system and beyond especially in its contributions to SDGs. Moreover, it focuses on supporting a conducive environment for SSE and the formulation of national SSE policies and laws, and strengthening the capacity of SSE support institutions in three pilot countries. The Taskforce is committed to initiating concrete SSE projects and supporting SSE structures at the local level in and contribute significantly to the “Delivering as One” approach of the United Nations by generating programme outcomes through multi-agency arrangements. The presentation on the SSE-for-SDGs project is available here.

Mr. Ilcheong Yi, Senior Research Coordinator at UNRISD and Ms. Barbara Sak, Managing Director at CIRIEC International reflected on the importance of promoting systematic processing, synthesizing and analysing of contents related to SSE for the SDGs, along with the production of knowledge on the topic. Through the Knowledge Hub for SDGs, a joint project of the UNTFSSE, it has been possible to create a global platform of SSE knowledge and experience with a focus on the SSE for the SDGs and to invest in the communication and network among policymakers, practitioners and scholars. In the future, it will be crucial to keep strengthening the network and partnership with SSE players within and outside UN system and securing financial stability for long-term plans for research and communication in this area. The presentation on the Knowledge Hub is available here.

The panel was followed by a question and answer session during which participants engaged with the presenters in an active discussion.