ILO holds three kick-off briefing sessions for the project on Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy in Asia

The three country briefing sessions for Mongolia, Cambodia, and Thailand were held to introduce the Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy in Asia project to the ILO Constituents and social and solidarity economy (SSE) partners. The participants included representatives from governments, employers’, and workers’ organizations, SSE institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.

News | 29 November 2022
The project on Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy in Asia is being implemented in five countries in Asia (Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam). It aims to inform and create policy dialogue on the contributions of the SSE to decent work and sustainable development among policymakers, workers’ and employers’ organizations and development practitioners. The project outputs and outcomes are aligned with the Resolution concerning decent work and the social and solidarity economy adopted at the 110th International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 2022. The project deliverables will also be contributing to the implementation of the ILO’s office-wide strategy and action plan on decent work and the social and solidarity economy, endorsed by the 346th session of the ILO Governing Body in November 2022.

The project has established national advisory committees in all countries of the project. These committees will guide the national consultants in undertaking the mapping studies and in validating the findings. The mapping studies will serve to develop national definitions of the SSE that are based on and adapted from the international tripartite definition adopted at the 110th ILC. The national case studies will also identify capacity gaps based on the national priorities. Follow up policy dialogue sessions will be held to ensure that the study findings are disseminated nationally.

In Mongolia, the hybrid meeting was held on November 23, 2022, in Ulaanbaatar, bringing together government representatives (Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry), Mongolian Employers’ Federation (MONEF), Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU) and ILO Ulaanbaatar Office and ILO’s Cooperatives, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit. The participants noted that this study should be inclusive in its case selection across regions and include sectors such as construction and artisanal and small-scale mining.

In Cambodia, the meeting was held on November 25, 2022, in Phnom Penh, bringing together ILO tripartite constituents (Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, representative of trade union), other relevant ministries and departments, SSE supporting institutions and social entrepreneurs. The participants agreed that this report can be a first step to better understand the SSE landscape in the country and could elaborate a national definition of the social and solidarity economy. Participants stressed gender equality should be mainstreamed in the report. They also stressed community-based organizations of small-scale farmers should be included among the areas of focus. Many challenges were cited, including the NGOs that have transformed into private companies due to lack of funds to sustain their operations, limited policy coordination, and inadequacies of the legal and policy frameworks, that do not adequately suit the needs of the SSE entities in the country.

In Thailand, the meeting was held on November 29, 2022, in Bangkok, as part of the Thailand Decent Work Country Programme 2019-22’s Final Review and Formulation of the Thailand Decent Work Country Programme 2023-26 Meeting. Participants noted that while the term “social and solidarity economy” is relatively new in Thailand, it is closely aligned with the philosophy of sufficiency economy. Self-sufficiency and mutualism are fundamental to the Thai culture, as means toward strengthening communities, and enhancing economic prosperity.

The participants noted that there is a vibrant landscape of grassroots initiatives, such as cooperatives, community enterprises, savings and credit groups, and social enterprises registered under the Social Enterprise Promotion Act of 2019. The participants mentioned that it was important to arrive at a definition that is tailored and contextualized for Thailand. They also noted the need to ensure synergies with projects such as Japan International Labour Foundation’s initiative on Supporting Grassroots Activities through the International Employer’s and Worker’s Network (SGRA).

The ILO will hold project briefing sessions in Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam in the next months, and the national consultants will report the outcomes of the national advisory committee and present the national work plan at the second regional advisory committee meeting in January next year.

The ILO project on Strengthening the Social and Solidarity Economy in Asia is being implemented from 2019 to 2022 and funded by the Ministry of Employment and Labour, Republic of Korea.