Multiple global crises and heightened concerns about the social and environmental consequences of market- and corporate-led development have reignited interest in "alternative" production, finance and consumption. Increasing attention is focusing on social and solidarity economy (SSE), a term that is gaining traction in many regions and forums around the world.
On 6–8 May 2013, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) convened a conference on the Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, co-hosted with the International Labour Office (ILO). The main objectives of the conference were to:
- assess critically the role of SSE in inclusive and sustainable development;
- raise the visibility of debates about SSE within the United Nations system and beyond; and
- contribute to thinking in international policy circles about a post-2015 development agenda, by bringing key findings and recommendations on SSE from researchers around the world to the attention of policy makers.
"Collective control over surplus in the solidarity economy creates a basis for reducing the sharp inequalities that characterize capitalist society."
—Blanca Lemus and David Barkin, Universidad Autónoma, Mexico
"A strong social economy is critical to sustainable economic development and to the creation of employment opportunities, along with productive, profitable and sustainable enterprises and a viable public sector."
—Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO
"The solidarity and social economy has really become a worldwide movement."
—Paul Singer, National Secretary of Solidarity Economy, Brazil
"The power of social and solidarity economy is that it pulls together these seemingly disparate and separate practices and tries to articulate…an alternative economic system."
—Emily Kawano, Center for Popular Economics and RIPESS