ILO COOP/SSE sends a message to the MedUp Project Peer Review Meeting in Tunis

The message from ILO COOP/SSE Manager focused on the role of the ILO in the development of cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE) and how they can contribute to the promotion of gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

News | 17 December 2019
From 2 to 4 December, the first macro-level peer review meeting of the MedUp Project took place in Tunis, Tunisia. MedUp is a four-year project (2018-2022) co-funded by the European Commission to promote an enabling environment for the development of social entrepreneurship in six Southern Mediterranean partner countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Tunisia) as a driver for inclusive growth and job creation.

Organized by the Diesis Network, an EU network specialized in supporting social economy enterprises development, and Oxfam Italia, the meeting aimed to identify common issues and share good practices among policy makers and other social economy stakeholders from the EU and the MENA countries. It brought together over 40 participants including from governments, UN agencies, academics, and other civil society organizations. During the three-day event, participants shared and discussed two specific cases: the European Commission Task Force on Social Economy and Social Enterprises; and the Scottish Social Enterprise Strategy.

A video message from ILO COOP Unit Manager was presented at the first panel on the role of international institutions in the promotion of the social economy. Ms Esim reminded the participants that “as early as 1920 the ILO had a specialized unit focusing on cooperatives and social and solidarity economy organizations which continues to this day”, and that “the concept of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) has been privileged within the UN system in recent years, as exemplified in the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Social and Solidarity Economy”. She reflected on the role of social and solidarity economy in promoting gender equality particularly in the MENA region and concluded that “SSE enterprises in general and cooperatives in particular are well-suited to advancing women’s economic participation and gender equality in the world of work in the region and around the world.”