Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF)




Global Social Economy Forum, or GSEF, is an international association of local governments and civil society networks engaged in the promotion of the social economy as a mean to achieve an inclusive and sustainable local development. GSEF promotes various forms of social economy, including social enterprises, cooperatives, foundations, mutual and self-help groups that put people over profit. GSEF believes that systemic changes start first at the local level based on the partnership between civil society, and the public and private sectors. Thus, the GSEF is co-chaired by both local government (represented by the mayor of the chair city) and a representative of civil society networks.

As of October 2019, GSEF brings together 64 cities and social economy networks coming from 34 countries around the world. The chair city is Seoul, and co-chair city is Mexico City. The City of Bamako, Montreal, and Bilbao are serving as continental vice chair cities.


Main activities

In between the biannual forum on social economy, which has grown to become one of the biggest international social economy gatherings in the world, GSEF operates in 5 key areas:

  1. Capacity Building & Training
  2. Knowledge Exchange
  3. Research and Publication
  4. Networking
  5. International Advocacy

Since the GSEF network is established to promote social and solidarity economy as the strategy of achieving sustainable and inclusive world, the network has the following vision and objectives:


GSEF serves as a global solidarity network and aims for the multi-dimensional development of the economy with social and environmental purposes. Through the collaboration between social economy organizations and local governments, the GSEF pursues the creation of quality jobs, fair growth, progress of grassroots democracy, and sustainable development.


  1. The GSEF promotes both personal and material exchanges and sharing among the main global activists of social economy
  2. The GSEF supports local government and non-government agencies to create a stable social economy network through the public-private-community partnership
  3. The GSEF promotes various joint projects to spread the social economy on a global scale
  4. The GSEF acknowledges the responsibility to support developing countries that experience poverty and serious underdevelopment


Bi-annual forums

GSEF organises biannual international forums with its member cities across the continents. It is one of the most prestigious international gatherings on social economy, bringing together all stakeholders from international organisations, local/central governments and civil society networks. GSEF Forums serve as a platform for mutual learning, agenda setting, and knowledge exchange.

  • GSEF 2013‘New Discovery of Collaboration’ (5-7 Nov 2013, Seoul, Korea) 
  • GSEF 2014 (Inaugural meeting): ‘Solidarity for Change’ (17-19 Nov 2014, Seoul, Korea) 
  • GSEF 2016: ‘Local Governments and Social Economy Stakeholders – Allies for the intelligent and sustainable development of cities’ (7-9 Sept 2016, Montreal, Canada) 
  • GSEF 2018: ‘Social Economy and Cities – Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development’ (1-3 Oct 2018, Bilbao, Spain)
  • GSEF 2020: theme to be announced by the end of 2019




For more information:

To contact us:

Address: Rm. #2, Fl. 13th, Seoul Global Center, Jong-ro 38-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 03188, Republic of Korea

Tel: +82 (0) 2 6953 7044, Fax: +82 70 4010 5551