On 6-8 May, UNRISD held a major international conference on Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, co-hosted with the ILO and in partnership with UN–NGLS, Hivos, the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation and the Ville de Genève. The conference was a great success in terms of both participation and outcomes.
The opening session included political and academic figures. Paul Singer (National Secretary of Solidarity Economy in Brazil), Guy Ryder
(Director-General of the ILO) and Sarah Cook (Director of UNRISD) opened the Conference to a full house in the ILO’s Governing Body room. José-Luis Coraggio from the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento gave the keynote address. (See the agenda
for more information on the sessions.)
Some 300 people attended the conference, representing a rich mixture of academics, UN policy makers, practitioners and civil society organizations. They made good use of the opportunity the conference presented to exchange views and knowledge taken from their different perspectives in the presentations, Poster Session for PhD students and Practitioners’ Forum.
Concrete results of these exchanges are already beginning to materialize.
- Participants in the UNRISD conference, where the need to establish intergovernmental forums on SSE was discussed, have been directly involved in building the connection between the intergovernmental ASEAN Leadership Forum (ALF) and RIPESS, the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy. In practical terms, the ALF will be taking place in conjunction with the 5th International Meeting of RIPESS in Manila, Philippines in October 2013. This will bring members of ASEAN governments into direct contact with SSE representatives and practitioners.
- An initiative is under way to establish an Interagency Task Force on SSE within the United Nations. The ILO is taking the lead in bringing relevant UN agencies together for regular exchanges on their programming and policy making in the field of SSE. It will focus UN efforts related to SSE and raise the profile of the social and solidarity economy in the UN system.
Social and solidarity economy has arguably been under the intergovernmental radar, but through initiatives like the UNRISD conference this situation is changing. The first steps have been taken—the challenge now is to use the momentum generated and carry the process forward.