International Conference of Labour Statisticians discusses statistics of cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy (SSE)

The progress on testing of the Guidelines concerning Statistics of Cooperatives and the roadmap on developing guidelines for statistics of the SSE were presented and discussed on October 16, 2023 during the 21st International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

Actualité | 18 octobre 2023
The 21st International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS), held from 11th to 20th of October, 2023, included two sessions on statistics of cooperatives and statistics of the SSE on the morning of 16th of October.

Mr. David Hunter, statistician and an ex-ILO official, presented an update on the progress of the ILO initiative on the applicability and implementation of the Guidelines concerning Statistics of Cooperatives in five countries, namely Costa Rica, Italy, Republic of Korea, Tanzania, and Türkiye. Based on the country case studies, he noted that the guidelines have proven their relevance for different country contexts and approaches. His presentation, based on the synthesis document he prepared for the conference, highlighted the invisibility of cooperatives in most official statistics.

Mr Hunter highlighted relevant next steps for the initiative including: deepening national action plans and establishing a working group to develop methods to measure the economic and social contributions of cooperatives. Mr. Hunter noted an ILO manual on statistics of cooperatives would be developed in modular form and presented at the 22nd ICLS in 2028.

After Mr Hunter’s presentation, Member states including Korea, Brazil, Uruguay and South Africa took the floor, followed by the Employers’ and Workers’ groups. They all indicated their overall support for the work of the Office on statistics of cooperatives and shared their recommendations including further engagement of national statistics offices.

As observers, representatives from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and Women in Informal Economy: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), highlighted the importance of this work for their organizations, noting their support and their readiness to collaborate.

In the following session, Prof Marie Bouchard, Associate professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) presented the Roadmap towards guidelines concerning statistics of the SSE. She pointed to the inconsistencies between existing international frameworks and the need for harmonized and standardized statistics on the SSE. Prof. Bouchard introduced the development of the issue in the last two years including: the ILO’s Office report, the 110th ILC resolution and the UNGA resolution on promoting the SSE for sustainable development in 2023.

Prof Bouchard pointed out to the need for operationalizing the definition of the SSE in statistics, as noted in the ILO’s Strategy and action plan on decent work and the SSE (2023-29). In her conclusions, she proposed a technical working group to start working on statistics of the SSE and guidelines on statistics of the SSE to be presented at the 22nd ICLS in 2028.

The Employers’ and Workers’ groups welcomed the presentation on the proposed roadmap and gave their strong support to the proposed follow up actions. Representatives from Member States including Korea, Canada, Sweden, and Brazil also expressed their support for the work of the Office on this portfolio. In their recommendations. As observers, the ICA and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) also indicate the relevance of the work on statistics of the SSE for their institutions.

Speaking about the follow up activities, Ms. Simel Esim, Head of ILO’s Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit and Co-Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE), noted that the technical working group on statistics of the SSE would be brought together under the auspices of the UNTFSSE.