Social and Solidarity Economy and the Sustainable Development Goals

Rural cooperative gathering women from Kesavarayampatti village (Madras), © Copyright ILO

What is the Social and Solidarity Economy?

The social and solidarity economy encompasses enterprises, organizations and other entities that are engaged in economic, social and environmental activities to serve the collective and/or general interest, which are based on the principles of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid, democratic and/or participatory governance, autonomy and independence and the primacy of people and social purpose over capital in the distribution and use of surpluses and/or profits, as well as assets, that social and solidarity economy entities aspire to long-term viability and sustainability and to the transition from the informal to the formal economy and operate in all sectors of the economy, that they put into practice a set of values which are 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 and that, according to national circumstances, the social and solidarity economy includes cooperatives, associations, mutual societies, foundations, social enterprises, self-help groups and other entities operating in accordance with the values and principles of the social and solidarity economy. – International Labour Organization, Resolution concerning decent work and the social and solidarity economy, adopted in June 2022.

In its Resolution 77/281 of 18 April 2023, entitled “Promoting the social and solidarity economy for sustainable development”, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) acknowledged that the social and solidarity economy (SSE) can contribute to the achievement and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly in terms of employment and decent work, the provision of social services, such as those related to health and care, education and skills training, environmental protection, including through the promotion of sustainable economic practices, the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, access to affordable finance and local economic development, the strengthening of the productive capacities of people in vulnerable situations, the promotion of social dialogue, labour rights and social protection, as well as inclusive and sustainable growth, the forging of partnerships and networks at the local, national, regional and international levels and the promotion of participatory governance and policymaking and all human rights.

The UNGA recognized that the SSE can play a key role in eliminating poverty and catalysing social transformation, thus helping to achieve the objective of leaving no one behind and to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, while ensuring social inclusion. The UNGA acknowledged the work of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE), particularly for its efforts in developing the SSE as a tool to achieve the SDGs.

 

Updates related to SSE and the SDGs:
July 17, 2023

UNTFSSE launches open online course to raise awareness of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and how it can help to achieve the SDGs

Following the historic adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development” (A/RES/77/281) on 18 April 2023, the UNTFSSE has launched an open online course that will allow UN Member States and intergovernmental bodies, United Nations entities, regional governments and organizations, policymakers, academia and think tanks, development banks, civil society (NGOs, foundations, voluntary groups, etc.), the private sector and media to get acquainted with basic concepts and practices of the […]
April 19, 2023

Historic moment for the SSE: At its 66th plenary meeting, the UN General Assembly adopts the resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development”

At its 66th plenary meeting on April 18, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development” (A/RES/77/281). The resolution provides an official definition for the Social and Solidarity Economy and acknowledges that it can contribute to the achievement and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals.     Recognizing the role of the Social and Solidarity Economy in promoting democracy and social justice, the resolution also: 1. Encourages Member States to […]
September 26, 2022

UNTFSSE Position Paper: Advancing the 2030 Agenda through the Social and Solidarity Economy

The second position paper of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy revisits the role of Social and Solidarity Economy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and calls for a stronger enabling environment and policy framework for SSE.     The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) has published its first Position Paper in 2014 to emphasize the need to pay more attention to Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the process of drafting the 2030 […]
January 25, 2021

Social and Solidarity Economy highlighted as an alternative model of growth in the UN Secretary General’s Report on “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”

The report was released for the upcoming Fifty-ninth session of the Commission for Social Development on the topic. In the report (available in English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese), the Secretary General addresses the need for a socially just transition towards a more inclusive, equitable, resilient and sustainable development. He provides an analysis of policies to be adopted and actions to be taken toward that end. The report highlights the role of digital technologies in promoting […]
August 6, 2020

Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy?

The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by all United Nations member states in 2015, provides a framework for tracking progress of specific development goals, and of more holistic and integrated patterns of development. The emphasis within the 2030 Agenda on national goals and targets, however, leaves open the question of how the SDGs will be implemented at the local level and grounded in local realities. In this context, policy makers are paying increasing attention to […]
August 5, 2020

Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The international development community recognizes the need to rethink development. Business-as-usual has not prevented the recent financial and food crises, climate change, persistent poverty and rising inequality. In the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we need to consider Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as an important pathway to transforming the world for the better. The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) was established to raise the visibility of the SSE in international knowledge and policy circles. We believe that SSE […]
September 8, 2014

UNTFSSE Position Paper – Social and Solidarity Economy and the Challenge of Sustainable Development

How can SSE best address some of the key challenges of the 21st century? What can it do for decent work, women’s well-being, greening the economy and transforming finance? This position paper has been prepared by members and observers of the TFSSE. It argues the post-2015 development agenda has paid insufficient attention to the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. SSE refers to the production of goods and services by a broad range of organizations and […]