The ILO and the UNTFSSE participated in GSEF2021

The leadership and staff of ILO contributed to a number of sessions at GSEF2021.

Actualité | 26 octobre 2021
The fifth Edition of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) was held in Mexico City from October 4 to 8, 2021. Focusing on “Local Governments and Social Economy: co-creation of paths for a green and inclusive economy”, GSEF2021 engaged representatives from national and local governments, private, civil society and international organizations, academia, researchers and experts, in dialogue and action for the development of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE).

Opening session

On the first day of the forum, the Director of Enterprises Department of the ILO and the chair of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE) Mr Vic van Vuuren addressed at the opening ceremony of this important global forum on SSE.

He noted that the existing problems - growing inequality, lack of decent jobs, climate change issues - existed even before the pandemic. They now require concerted action by all countries through inclusive and sustainable public policies. The promotion of a new paradigm of production and consumption that assigns a prominent role SSE units becomes not only necessary but also urgent. Global alliances such as GSEF are playing a crucial role in raising awareness, informing and encouraging the attention of policy makers, and strengthening the awareness of SSE actors about the potential of what is being done at the grassroots level. Mr van Vuuren congratulated GSEF and the Local Organizing Committee for organizing this global forum and wished them success.

The video of the session is available here.

Session on Education and SSE

On the second day of the forum, a session on “Learning for social innovation and transformation” took place.

The session was moderated by Valentina Verze, Technical officer at the ILO Cooperatives Unit and coordinator of the Technical Secretariat at the UNTFSSE. In opening the session Ms Verze noted that a number of governments and organizations are calling for the promotion of a new paradigm of production and consumption, of sustainable and inclusive development and people-and-planet centred future of work. She added that there is a need of more economic units that pursue social objectives, practising forms of democratic governance and encouraging stakeholder participation, paying attention to community and environmental needs. Ms Verze noted that education is key for creating awareness and knowledge around this kind of economy.

The speakers participating in the session were asked the following question: “What are the main actions and strategies that different actors can put in place in different countries in order to advance SSE principles and values in schools, social innovation entrepreneurship programs, vocational trainings, informal learning paths?”
  • Ms. Davorka Vidovic, Assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb in Croatia, spoke about the action research as a participatory and community-based model for learning for social innovation.
  • Ms. Hyung-Mi Kim, Associate professor at the Department of Social Economy of the Sangji University in the Republic of Korea, presented the case of the Program on Leading Universities for Social and Solidarity Economy Education in the Republic of Korea.
  • Ms. Mariabel Dutari, Director of Operations at Social Enterprise International and Ms. Jen Wall, Researcher & Trainer at Social enterprises international, shared the work of their organization and presented the case of the School Programme for Ethical Enterprise Education (SPEED) in the United Kingdom and few other countries.
  • Ms. Sun Kyung Han is Founder and CEO of Cdot, a social innovation catalyst organization in the Republic of Korea, presented the idea of “Transition Campus for a sustainable future” offering a new learning approach to social innovation
  • Ms. Sofía Muñoz Fernández, Sociologist working in education projects at RedEFES (Network for education and ethical and social finance) in Spain, spoke about the Ethical Finance Education as a Tool for Transformative Economies for a Green and Inclusive Future.
The session concluded with questions and answers.

More information on the session is available here.

Plenary session on SSE and ecological transformation

The third plenary session on the third day of GSEF, focusing on SSE contributions to ecological transformation was chaired by ILO COOP Manager Simel Esim. The six speakers in the session shared regional, national and local experiences from the perspective of policy makers, practitioners and activists in SSE units and support institutions on how SSE can co-create solutions to global challenges.

Ms Esim posed two rounds of questions to the speakers, on:
  • How can we design environmental impact strategies that take into account human rights in situations of violation? How does the SSE contribute to a real solution for the preservation of natural ecosystems?
  • What should be the actions or strategies of individuals, governments, groups, societies, and countries, to achieve a better and more inclusive world? What key actions should be promoted at the local level?
The speakers all agreed that there was a paradigm shift where there is growing commitment to putting people and planet in the center of economic policy decisions. They converged on the importance of values and principles such as participation, collective and coordinated action, public private partnerships and new measurement criteria, which prioritize impact of actions on citizens and the environment.

They noted that SSE units provided examples of new models, but they need to be supported by local governments, national and international organizations to be able to become financially viable social and economic entities.

More information on the session is available here.

Session on the importance of alliances

On the third day of the forum, the session on “Develop territorial and international alliances to promote the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as a people-centred and planet-sensitive economy” took place. It was co-organized by the UNTFSSE and the Intercontinental network for the promotion of social solidarity economy (RIPESS) and reflected on different key aspects characterizing SSE as key actor in the pursuit of Agenda 2030 and a better recovery. The panel discussion focused on the importance of alliances and partnerships at different levels - local, national, regional and international- to strengthen SSE ecosystems and promote SSE’s role in the achievement of the SDGs, in order to promote a people-centred and planet-sensitive economy.

The session, moderated by Mr. Juli Hernandez, project manager and advocacy officer at RIPESS, started with the opening remarks from Mr. Vic Van Vuuren, Chair of the UNTFSSE and Director of the Enterprises Department at ILO and Ms. Laurence KWARK, Secretary General of GSEF.

The roundtable, moderated by Mr. Roberto Di Meglio, a senior specialist at the ILO, focused on the potential of SSE to achieve the SDGs and importance of alliances and partnerships at different levels:
  • Ms. Béatrice Alain, Executive Director of Chantier de l'économie sociale in Québec and Co-chair of TIESS spoke about the local level focusing especially on the importance of a multi-stakeholder partnerships enabling SSE ecosystems and social innovation. She mentioned the experience of Quebec;
  • Mr. Juan Manuel Louvier, Director General of INAES in Mexico, spoke about the importance of national partnerships for creation of decent work and attainment of the SDGs;
  • Mr. Victor Meseguer, Director of Social Economy Europe, focused his intervention on regional partnerships in advancing the SSE action plan at EU level;
  • Mr. Arnaud BOULANGER, Senior Officer of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance and representative of Pact for Impact Alliance, introduced the importance of building international partnerships and alliances.
The roundtable was followed by the closing remarks of Mr. Yvon Poirier, RIPESS and Representative of RIPESS LAC, who spoke about the regionalization process of the UNTFSSE.

The session concluded with Q&A session.

The video of the session is available here.

Session on statistics on SSE

On the fourth day of GSEF, the ILO initiative on the implementation of the guidelines concerning statistics of cooperatives was introduced to the global research community on social and solidarity economy. Mr. Dong Il Choi from ILO’s Cooperatives Unit participated in the session on ‘Statistics on SSE: Where are we? And Where are we headed?’ He presented the road to the guidelines on statistics concerning cooperatives and their contents. He also elaborated on the ILO initiative concerning the testing of the guidelines.

He noted the steps around testing the guidelines in five countries (South Korea, Italy, Turkey, Tanzania, Costa Rica). He pointed out the need to raise awareness on the guidelines among key stakeholders. He reflected on the potential challenges around the initiative. In Korea data should be gathered from nine separate ministries and agencies. Each ministry/agency needs to agree on sharing data in a harmonized manner, although currently there is no legal ground to ensure that.

After the presentations, two rounds of questions were posed by the chair Mr. Ilcheong Yi (UNRISD) on:
  • What is the biggest challenge for SSE statistics?
  • How is the situation around SSE in each (speaker’s) country?
All participants agreed raising awareness on the importance of SSE both in the public and the political leadership is the main key for SSE statistics, and Mr. Choi added setting up a uniform definition of SSE could be a first stepping stone and introduced the upcoming general discussion on the SSE and a human-centred future of work that will take place at the International Labour Conference of June 2022.

More information on the session is available here.

Closing session

On the fifth and last day of the Forum, the ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy Ms. Martha E. Newton delivered a video message at the closing session. Ms. Newton thanked the Forum and the Local Organizing Committee in Mexico for inviting the ILO to participate in this event. She expressed that the ILO considers the role of GSEF, a global network with a presence on five continents, to be important. She noted that the objectives of the Forum are relevant to the ILO's Decent Work Agenda, including the identification of solutions and alternatives on how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and overcoming the social and economic crises around the global pandemic through the SSE. She emphasized that the impact of the crisis on labour markets has had devastating consequences for everyone. She called for recovery policies that put people at the center, as reflected in the 2030 Agenda and the ILO's Global Call to Action for a Human-Centered Recovery. She reaffirmed the ILO’s commitment in supporting the SSE in contributing to decent work. She mentioned that the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work explicitly states the SSE as a major source of economic growth and job creation. The pointed out that the ILO will hold a general discussion on "Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) for a human-centered future of work" at its 2022 International Labour Conference (ILC). She congratulated GSEF and the local organizing committee on the successful completion of GESF 2021. She concluded by voicing her wish that the outcomes from the Forum would contribute to the general discussion at the ILO during the June 2022 session of the ILC and to the next ILO Academy on SSE from November 15 to 26 this year in Lisbon.

The video of the session is available here.

The full program of the event is available here.