The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has announced its institutional membership in the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE). This collaboration, marks an important initial step towards implementation of the recently adopted United Nations General Assembly resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development” (A/77/281) at the regional level.
As noted in the UN GA Resolution, the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) encompasses entities that are geared towards serving the collective and/or general interest. These entities embody a set of values, intrinsic to their functioning and consistent with care for people and planet, equality and fairness, interdependence, self-governance, transparency and accountability, and the attainment of decent work and livelihoods. Amidst growing crises in the Arab region, the SSE remains a pathway towards empowering local resilience and facilitating the provision of critical services to vulnerable communities, most often left behind.
UNESCWA’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Mounir Tabet, underlined that joining the UNTFSSE aligns with UNESCWA’s commitment to fostering socio-economic development in the region. He noted that the regional commission looks forward to actively contributing to the task force’s initiatives and leveraging our collective efforts towards sustainable and inclusive growth.
Mr Oussama Safa, Chief of the Social Justice Section in UN ESCWA’s Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development Cluster noted that the regional commission has recognized in the last decade the role of SSE as a tool for ensuring that the principles of social justice are mainstreamed into people-centered and inclusive social policies and institutional mechanisms for equitable and inclusive development. The SSE has the potential to respond to many of the region’s multi-faceted challenges and promote the socio-economic integration of vulnerable groups. He added that UNESCWA’s participation in this task force is a reiteration of its commitment to advancing social justice in and through the SSE.
Ms Simel Esim, Co-Chair of UNTFSSE and Head of Cooperatives Unit at the ILO’s ENTERPRISES Department, noted that the engagement of UN ESCWA will help further the local anchoring of the SSE in building communities and fostering diversity in the region. She added that the Task Force members and observers welcome the regional commission among their midst and look forward to working together in activating the potential role that SSE entities can play in crisis prevention and crisis recovery, social cohesion, peace, and resilience.
Ms Chantal Line Carpentier, Co-Chair of the UNTFSSE and Head of Trade, Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development at UNCTAD Division on International Trade and Commodities also highlighted that this collaboration is an opportunity to harness UNESCWA’s expertise and networks in the region towards creating a conducive environment for policies and institutions of the SSE. She added that UNESCWA will in fact be the first UN agency to join the UNTFSSE since the adoption of the UNGA resolution.
The UNTFSSE’s primary objectives are to enhance the visibility of SSE entities, promote knowledge exchange, establish enabling institutional frameworks, and bolster international cooperation, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.