The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) aims to raise the visibility of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) within the UN system and beyond. The members and observers of the Task Force have committed to undertake collaborative activities to:
- enhance the recognition of the role of SSE enterprises and organizations in sustainable development;
- promote knowledge of SSE and consolidate SSE networks;
- support the establishment of an enabling institutional and policy environment for SSE;
- ensure coordination of international efforts, and create and strengthen partnerships.
The work of the Task Force takes the form of joint initiatives among members: producing reports and briefs, organizing events related to SSE in connection with relevant UN processes and conferences, and creating partnerships and dialogues with governmental and civil society entities.
The creation of the Task Force responded to a growing concern within the UN system that efforts to rethink development in the wake of multiple global crises and in the context of the post-2015 development agenda paid insufficient attention to SSE.
The founding meeting of the UNTFSSE took place on 30 September 2013 in Geneva. The meeting was convened by ILO, UNDP, UN-NGLS and UNRISD, and attended by 14 agencies. By the time of the third meeting in February 2014, the task force had 18 members and 3 observers, including the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social and Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) and the Mont-Blanc Meetings (MBM). The number of members and observers is still growing.
The Task Force is a concrete outcome of the UNRISD Conference on “Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy”, held in May 2013, which was co-organized with the ILO and UN-NGLS. At the conference, researchers, policy makers and civil society actors examined ways in which SSE can contribute to inclusive, rights-based and sustainable development.
In 2018, the UNTFSSE launched a Call for Papers under the topic “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?”. The Call for Papers aimed to identify and mobilize research from different regions and territories which, by critically examining the role of SSE, can contribute to the Task Force’s efforts to scale up and promote SSE as means of implementation of the SDGs. The Call for Papers led to an International Conference held in Geneva in June 2019 and the launch of the SSE Knowledge Hub for the SDGs.
The Task Force has a rotating secretariat. UNRISD hosted the secretariat for the first year of existence of the Task Force. The ILO housed it for its second year. The secretariat was then hosted by the FAO. Currently, ILO is acting as the Task Force’s secretariat. UNTFSSE decisions are taken on a consensual basis during meetings held every two months. Organizations with observer status are invited to participate actively in the Task Force discussions and debates.