ILO shares its work on SSE at GSEF 2018

ILO participated in the 4th edition of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) in Bilbao, Spain from 1-3 October 2018 to share its work on cooperatives and other SSE enterprises to promote quality job creation.

News | 04 October 2018
Mayors' Podium
GSEF is an international association that facilitates co-operation among local governments, social and solidarity economy (SSE) organizations and other civil society stakeholders to promote development objectives associated with SSE. GSEF was launched in 2013 as a biennial event following its first edition in Seoul. The Seoul declaration emphasized the importance of SSE in creating jobs and restoring human dignity especially for those socially marginalized and disadvantaged populations, and the need for public-private-community partnerships in developing SSE and its networks.

The 4th edition of GSEF was organized by the Bilbao Metropolitan Government in partnership with Laboral Kutxa, a Basque credit union; Mondragon Corporation , a Basque worker cooperatives’ federation; and the Basque Government, under the theme “Social economy and cities: Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development”. It brought together 1,700 people, including public administration representatives, mayors, international organizations and SSE researchers and practitioners from 84 countries.

ILO contributed to the Forum with a speaker at the second plenary session on the role of SSE in addressing emerging challenges in cities. ILO officials also organized a workshop on SSE and the future of work where the experiences from an ILO project on SSE in Tunisia was shared.

Simel Esim, Head, Cooperatives Unit, speaking at the second plenary
In the plenary session, ILO’s Cooperatives Unit Manager Ms Simel Esim highlighted the role of public private partnerships between urban informal economy workers and their SSE enterprises and organizations. Referring to the experiences of waste pickers’ SSE enterprises and organizations she noted the different ways they were integrated into the municipal solid waste management systems by local governments across countries such as India, Brazil and Colombia. She also brought up the experiences of provision of care through cooperatives and other SSE enterprises and organization, noting the need for caution against use of SSE entities as disguised privatization of public services and flexibilization of labour especially in times of austerity measures (The video from the plenary is available here).

Mr Karim Toumi, Senior National Coordinator of the ILO project on the Promotion of Organizations and Mechanisms of SSE (PROMESS) in Tunisia
At the workshop on the future of work moderated by Mr Roberto di Meglio, Senior Specialist on SSE at the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit, Mr Karim Toumi, Senior National Coordinator of the ILO project on the Promotion of Organizations and Mechanisms of SSE (PROMESS) in Tunisia presented the lessons learned from the project in developing a public policy framework on SSE using a social dialogue platform and addressing youth employment challenges through SSE enterprises (The presentation is available here).

ILO officials also participated in other sessions and a study tour to Mondragon. They conducted a number of side meetings including with representatives from the EU, UNRISD, CIRIEC Spain, as well as SSE researchers and practitioners from Canada, Spain, France, Turkey, and Colombia among others.

GSEF2018 ended with declarations on gender equality and youth as well as an overall declaration for this edition of the forum. GSEF2020 will take place in Mexico City.