United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)





The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous research institute within the UN system that undertakes multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.



UNRISD launched its first large inquiry on strategy, advocacy, policy and practice related to social and solidarity economy (SSE) in 2012. Through research and partnerships with individual scholars, research organizations, SSE networks, other UN agencies and governments, this project sought to:

1) understand the conditions and contexts that enable social and solidarity economy (SSE) to expand, as well as the contradictions and constraints; and

2) assess the implications of such processes and interactions with external actors and institutions for realizing the potential of SSE as a distinctive approach to development.

A key project activity was the international conference on the Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy held in Geneva on 6-8 May 2013. Around 300 participants from 35 countries representing academia, UN organizations, SSE practitioners, NGOs and civil society actors attended. The conference was organized in collaboration with the ILO and UN-NGLS. The establishment of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE was an outcome of this conference.

As of 2019, UNRISD is still heavily involved in research on SSE. It is the implementing agency of the UNTFSSE’s SSE Knowledge Hub for the SDGs. This project includes:

Work related to the Knowledge Hub has received funding from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Social Economy and Economic Solidarity of Luxembourg and the Government of the Republic of Korea (represented by Statistics Korea).


UNRISD is also conducting research projects on:

  1. Social and Solidarity Economy, Urban Communities and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups. The project is conducted in collaboration with the University of Geneva and is funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS).
  2. Promoting SSE through Public Policies: Guidelines for Local Governments. This project is funded by the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF).
  3. Sustainable Development Performance Indicators. Among other activities, this project incorporates the contributions of SSEOs in defining comparable, effective and modern indicators for sustainability reporting. It is funded by the Center for Entrepreneurship Studies, Republic of Korea.


Other recent UNRISD research projects on SSE include:

  1. Feminist Analysis of Social and Solidarity Economy Practices: Views from Latin America and India. The project was conducted in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva and was funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS).
  2. Social and Solidarity Economy for the SDGs: Spotlight on the Social Economy in Seoul. The research project was funded by Global Social Economic Forum (GSEF) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government.







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