The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) is launching a Call for Papers to assess the contribution of SSE to inclusive and sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on local contexts. Organized by UNRISD, in its role as coordinator of the Task Force’s recently established Knowledge Hub, the Call for Papers aims to identify and mobilize research from different regions and territories that critically examines the role of SSE as a means of implementation for the SDGs.
Authors of the selected papers will be invited to present their work at a conference at the United Nations in Geneva, planned for April 2019. Selected submissions will also gain visibility through publication as working papers and think pieces. As publications under the banner of the Task Force’s Knowledge Hub, the pieces selected will have international impact and will contribute to UN efforts to scale up and promote SSE as means of implementation of the SDGs.
Access the full Call for Papers here
Research Themes and Questions
The Call invites researchers and practitioners to submit proposals for papers related to two main issue areas:
i. SSE as a means of implementation for the SDGs. Of interest are the ways in which SSE actors and institutions can facilitate the implementation of goals and targets associated with the SDGs, particularly in local settings. What works and why? What is the comparative advantage of SSE in relation to other forms of economy, in terms of minimizing trade-offs between different dimensions of development and promoting a more integrated approach? What actors and institutions are key for creating an enabling environment for SDG implementation through SSE? What is the scope for replicating positive initiatives in other local settings?
ii. Measuring SSE, its scale and impact. In a context where systematic data on SSE are still scarce, where definitions and indicators vary, and where statistics often fail to capture the diversity of SSE actors and impacts, the Call aims to identify robust methodologies and innovative solutions for measuring SSE and its impacts.
The UNTFSSE wishes to honour the lives of two colleagues, Jens Nilsson and Paul Singer, who regrettably passed away in March and April, respectively. They both in their own way contributed to the Social and Solidarity Economy as we know it. They each leave behind a legacy for those presently working in the field and for future generation of SSE leaders. Our thoughts are with their loved ones and all those who knew them.
Jens Nilsson (1948-2018)
By Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee in representation of the Spanish Business Confederation of the Social Economy
It is with immense sadness that we learned of the early passing of Jens Nilsson, chair of the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup, on 13th March at the age of 69. Jens has been a driving force in the promotion of Social Economy across Europe and will be greatly missed.
A convinced social democrat, before becoming a politician, Jens worked as an ombudsman and communicator. Prior to becoming a Member of the European Parliament in 2009, he was Mayor of the city of Östersund 1994-2010, from where he initiated the European Network of Cities and Regions for the Social Economy (REVES), of which he was its first President during 1997-2001. He was also a member of the EU’s Committee of the Regions (1999-2010) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (2007-2010). In all these capacities Jens cooperated with different UN agencies and tirelessly worked to bring the local, national and international governance levels together.
The UN family would like to honor Jens by recognizing and remembering his strong commitment to the promotion of the social and solidarity economy model as a driver for inclusive growth and social justice.
His passing leaves a great emptiness for his family and for all who knew and appreciated working with him. Yet his ideas and vision will stay alive.
Paul Singer (1932-2018)
By Peter Utting, International Coordinator at the Center for Social Economy (Centro para la Economía Social) based in Managua, Nicaragua, and Senior Research Associate with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Paul Singer, former head of Brazil’s National Secretariat for Solidarity Economy (SENAES), on 16 April 2018. Paul both supported and inspired the work of UNRISD and the ILO in this field. In 2013 he opened the international conference we co-organized on the Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE), out of which emerged the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE.
His ideas and work were informed by his academic background as an economist, sociologist, university professor and researcher; his political activism as a founder and member the Workers’ Party; and his policy making experience as Municipal Secretary of Planning of São Paulo.
He skillfully brought together theory and practice to craft a comprehensive strategy for social change in Brazil that positioned SSE as a central player. The potential of SSE, he believed, resides in the way it connects different dimensions of development:
“Social and solidarity economy refer to collective practices of sustainable development that contribute to building a more just and egalitarian world(…) by linking economy to society, local to global, labour to investment, and production, consumption and the environment.” (Paul Singer, Secretary for Solidarity Economy, Ministry of Labour and Employment, in PARDEV Newsletter No. 30, June 2012.
This strategy recognized that an effective enabling environment for SSE must go beyond a narrow range of financial and fiscal incentives. He emphasized the importance of strengthening the capacities of SSE enterprises through technology and skills development. To this end he involved the universities in the programmes of SENAES, notably through the promotion of over 100 incubators. Under Paul’s tenure as National Secretary, solidarity economy became a key element in the poverty eradication programme, Brasil Sem Miséria. State institutions supported solidarity organizations and enterprises through their procurement policies and initiatives to create and strengthen cooperatives. And crucially, he knew that effective policy making required the active participation of SSE actors and social movements, as well as participatory governance structures that spanned national, regional and local levels.
In later life, Paul increasingly engaged with intellectuals, activists and policy makers in other countries that were promoting SSE. He was convinced that the strengthening of SSE in his country was part and parcel of a global movement for change – a movement that today draws heavily on the concept of solidarity economy that he developed and the experience of Brazil where he played such a pivotal role.
For more on Paul’s ideas and professional and political life we invite you to read an interview published in 2016 in Global Dialogue, the magazine of the International Sociological Association.
Because more than 2,000 participants from every continent will be converging in Québec’s metropolis for to discuss and work on the central theme of the Global Social Economy Forum -GSEF2016: collaboration between local governments and the social and solidarity economy actors for the development of cities.
September 7-9, 2016
Palais des Congrès de Montréal
Across the world, the social and solidarity economy (SSE) generates important economic, social, cultural, and environmental impact, and, more importantly, social innovations that help address the challenges of city administrations and their communities. Whether it is to meet essential needs such as housing and food security, ensure an adequate quality of life to residents through local services, cultural activities, and other recreational services, or contribute to social cohesion, SSE initiatives create decent employment and support the development of more equitable and sustainable cities.
Recognizing this, the aim of the GSEF2016 is to facilitate collaboration among public administrators and SSE actors by presenting best practices, whether they be processes, tools, or innovative results emerging from co-constructed public policies. These best practices will be presented mainly by SSE and local government actors, though innovative citizen initiatives and private sector projects developed with the SSE will also be brought to the fore.
3 DAYS / OVER 30 WORKSHOPS / SITE VISITS AND HUNDREDS OF MEETING OPPORTUNITIES TO:
- Share your best practices and learn about others in the social and solidarity economy taking place around the planet in collaboration with local governments
- Identify opportunities and issues regarding coordinated action between yourlocal governments and SSE stakeholders
- Promote coordinated international actions to foster the development of the SSE in your area.
- Social and solidarity economy organizations and networks
- Local governments: elected officials and civil servants
- Academics: researchers and students
- Private sector representatives
- Civil society stakeholders
THE GSEF IN BRIEF
The Global Social Economy Forum -GSEF2016 is the third edition of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), a large international gathering that was initiated by the City of Seoul in 2013, in collaboration with its local social economy partners. The 2014 edition, held once again in the South Korean capital, culminated in the founding of the GSEF as a permanent international association uniting local governments and civil society stakeholders that recognize the social and solidarity economy (SSE) as a key factor in local economic development.
Preliminary programme: http://www.gsef2016.org/program/program-2/?lang=en
To sign up for the GSEF newsletter: http://www.gsef2016.org/?lang=en
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 Solidarity 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.
On 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: http://efsse.org/
The 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: http://www.eu2015lu.eu/en/agenda/2015/12/03-04-conf-economie-sociale/index.html