Social and Solidarity Economy

Recent global economic and political instability has served to underline the shortcomings of our current development system and further confirm the necessity for an alternate or complementary development paradigm. The social and solidarity economy (SSE) is a viable solution to re-balancing economic, social and environmental objectives.

Social and Solidarity Economy

SSE refers to enterprises and organizations (cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations and social enterprises) which produce goods, services and knowledge that meet the needs of the community they serve, through the pursuit of specific social and environmental objectives and the fostering of solidarity.

United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE)

The UNTFSSE was established to raise the visibility of the SSE in international knowledge and policy circles as it holds considerable promise for addressing the economic, social and environmental issues faced by today’s world. The SSE is an important approach for the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Thus, the UNTFSSE works to support the SSE as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), acting as a hub for inter-agency coordination and knowledge sharing on how to replicate, scale up and build an enabling environment for SSE. The UNTFSSE also serves as a conduit for civil society voices to interface with policy making. Currently chaired by the ILO, the Task Force has 19 UN Agencies and the OECD as members and 10 civil society organizations as observers.

The ILO Social and Solidarity Economy Academy (SSE Academy)

The SSE Academy is an interregional training opportunity gathering practitioners and policymakers from all around the world, to share their experiences, best practices and challenges from their work in the SSE. The training seeks to provide a better understanding of the concept of SSE, discuss the relevance of SSE as a development alternative and its relation to the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, and further build and strengthen networks of SSE practitioners. The first SSE Academy took place in Turin (Italy) in 2010. Since then, eleven SSE Academies have taken place in Montreal (Canada), Agadir (Morocco), Campinas (Brazil), Johannesburg (South Africa), Puebla (Mexico), San José (Costa Rica), Seoul (South Korea) and Luxembourg city (Luxembourg), Turin (Italy), and Madrid (Spain). The 12th edition of the Academy is being planned for the second half of 2020 in Tunisia.

The Collective Brain

The Collective Brain is a virtual multilingual interactive space which aims to enrich the ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy and to facilitate exchanges and cooperation beyond the face-to-face interactions during the academy. Its main purpose is to allow current, former and future participants and other key players in the field of SSE to remain engaged, cooperate and deepen their knowledge through an online platform in spite of geographical distances and language barriers. A forum is available to all users. Various documents and publications on the SSE are available, along with the SSE Academy Collections. News is also shared on the platform.

Current Projects

The ILO’s Cooperatives Unit is technically backstopping three country-level projects on cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy.
In addition, the Cooperatives Unit is undertaking multi-country research initiatives to enhance the role of SSE given the magnitude of the changes affecting the world of work, and the challenges posed by social finance.


Country case studies on public policies for Social and Solidarity Economy are available in the ‘further information’ section below, for the following countries: Europe, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Philippines South Africa and the Republic of Korea. Many other publications on past SSE Academies and related topics are also available here.

Past Events